Holiday Fun for the Socially Distanced

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for anyone who’s used to getting together with family and friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across America, many are choosing not to travel or to celebrate only with a handful of close contacts.

But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

The most obvious way to celebrate is to fire up the phone, tablet or computer and have a videoconference with your loved ones. Yes, it can be disconcerting to keep your eyes on the screen for hours on end, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Add a #festive virtual background to your call, Good Housekeeping suggests, to keep the #holiday spirit alive. An added bonus? You can speak from a pretend winter wonderland, a professionally decorated drawing room or the set of your favorite Hallmark movie.

You can still engage in traditional holiday pastimes such as baking cookies, taking a drive to see the holiday light displays or sending letters to Santa without getting into too many strangers’ airspace, Postable says.

Another activity is to send the holiday cards you might not have had time to send last year. Even though this blog is going live with only 10 days until Christmas, nobody is going to complain if your greeting arrives a day or two late or send a New Year’s card instead.

Consider sending one of your cards to a local #veteran you know (or find one at a nearby chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association or other organization). They are getting older and will need to stay isolated to protect their health this year, and a card might brighten their season.

If you find yourself beset with holiday #clutter after all of the virtual celebrations are over, consider bagging and boxing your unused and unwanted stuff and contacting ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. It will be resold to new households, and the proceeds will benefit veterans programs.

The Organizing Blog wishes you and yours a safe, happy, healthy and clutter-free holiday season!

Celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving

If you find yourself stuck at home for Thanksgiving this year, consider doing your usual holiday activites remotely. You can share family recipes and prepare dishes together with far-flung friends and relatives via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype, says a story in the Dallas Morning News, or host a virtual Happy Hour over the weekend. During the pandemic, it is safer to stay home and limit interpersonal contact — and skipping big gatherings this year will likely help things return to normal by this time next year. Happy Thanksgiving from ClothingDonations.org!

Holiday Travel During the Pandemic

The CDC says holiday travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you get on a flight, consider whether or not you may have been exposed in the last 14 days, if you or someone you’ll be visiting is in a high-risk category, and if area you’ll be visiting is seeing an uptick in cases. It’s a bad idea to travel with people outside your COVID “pod” — those you live with. If you do have to travel, check the travel restrictions at your destination and always observe rigorous social distancing protocols.

Cooking a Scaled-Back Thanksgiving Feast

If you’re cooking a feast for a small group (or just yourself) this year due to COVID-19, a turkey breast is a good way to get traditional flavors on your plate, says Simply Whisked. But there’s nothing saying that you can’t feast on pork chops or Cornish hens instead. Many people — especially vegetarians — may be looking forward to sides such as green bean casserole and mashed potatoes just as much as the main course. So pick a couple of favorites to make, along with a tasty dessert. And remember to give thanks!

Keep Your Thanksgiving Small

Thanksgiving is this week, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people observe the holiday at home with proper social distancing. If you are hosting, the CDC says to keep the gathering small (five people or fewer) and dine outdoors or open the windows to allow fresh air into your space. You could also ask guests to bring their own food and drink, but if you are sharing potluck plates, allow just one person to serve and try using single-use plastic dinnerware to keep the virus from circulating.