It seems like this year keeps throwing us curve balls, and this holiday season is proving to be no different. With the rise in COVID-19 cases, and the addition of cold and flu season, I’m going into December with one eye open and fingers crossed!
Each year, my family chooses a “big ticket” event during the holiday season. In the past we have done things like Grapevine’s North Pole Express, Prestonwood’s Gift of Christmas show, the Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days of Christmas, Dallas Zoo Lights, and the Gaylord ICE Exhibit, to name a few. Some of these events are still happening and doing a great job of making it a safe, socially distant event. However, I thought this year would be a great chance to take a break from the big Dallas Christmas events and get creative with some COVID-friendly Christmas ideas and activities.
COVID-Friendly Christmas Events & Ideas
Make a Book Come to Life
Schedule a “Story Book Day” and make it a big deal! Each kid could pick their favorite book to “bring to life”. You can use this idea with any Christmas/holiday book you have! The Gingerbread Pirates and Gingerbread Friends are a couple of my son’s favorites. In The Gingerbread Pirates, a little boy and his mom make gingerbread pirate cookies. My son has always BEGGED to make our own gingerbread pirate cookies, and I’ve always deflected, thinking it was too complicated and time consuming. (And The Gingerbread Friends book even has a recipe for the cookies inside!) While decorating for Christmas last weekend, my son asked again to make the cookies…and I figured there was no time like the present! We truly had the best time doing something so simple and it totally made his weekend
Make The Nutcracker come to life by putting on your own play or make a “sleigh” out of your couch and deliver presents like Santa Claus. Act out your own “Nativity” and let your kids each be a member of the Christmas Story (they’ll fight over being the wise men) and gather stuffed animals to complete the barn scene. Another family favorite is Where Do Diggers Celebrate Christmas. Have your child find how many construction vehicles they have in the book!
I struggle with creativity, so by using a story/book as my “guide”, all I had to do was bring it to life with the gift of my time (and of course a few props).
Rent a Venue for a Private Party
Now is the perfect time to support small local businesses like Playstreet Museum, Safari Run, Cheeky Monkeys, Heritage Farmstead Museum, etc. Have your “quaranteam” split the cost and it’ll still be less than you’d spend on a big ticket event! You can bring your own decorations, set up a hot cocoa bar, or maybe even have Santa stop by for a visit! (Apparently, that jolly ole fella has been leaving his “laundry” at Hobby Lobby, hint hint…)
Another great idea is to rent a movie theatre for a private showing! I’ve had some friends do this and they said it was so fun to have the theater to themselves. Several local ones are offering this, but for example, at Cinemark, prices start at just $175 for a private viewing! Again, splitting the cost with a few other families would make this an affordable and memorable event.
Host a Progressive Dinner/Party with Friends
Our youth group used to do these and they were so fun! The premise is that you go to several different houses as you “progress” through dinner. You could start the “appetizer” at one house (when I say appetizer for kids, I mean popcorn or goldfish), then “main course” at another house (again, kid stuff, like pizza), then dessert at another house. This way, you can share responsibility of “hosting” a party and the kids could see each others’ homes/neighborhoods all decorated for Christmas. You could even add an activity to each stop, like an ornament swap, book exchange, cookie decorating, etc. The kids would get a total kick out of this!
Even though this holiday season won’t look like we planned for many reasons, there are still so many ways to make it special! I will say this about COVID: It’s made us think outside the box and get creative on ways to entertain and celebrate! In the end, our children will probably look back on this time and remember all the silly and random things we did to be “together” even when we had to stay (six feet) apart.