The holiday season is approaching, which brings unique family traditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic however, things will need to be celebrated differently, only temporarily, until things can become more normal.
Many families will forego the large gatherings in favor of creative socially distant event ideas. Hosting smaller get-togethers and virtual events where family members video chat are becoming more popular.
While it’s easy to feel disappointed this holiday season, don’t be. Because below are fun and creative ideas to celebrate the holidays differently this year, whether your loved one is at home or at a senior living community.
With COVID-19 placing higher restrictions on travel and visitation, celebrating the holidays this year will require more socially distant event ideas to incorporate your senior loved one while celebrating safely. This will likely mean more one-on-one interactions or dealing with smaller groups than before.
Below are fun, safe, and engaging ways to celebrate the holidays with your loved one, while minimizing risks.
Decorate the House
While caring for your senior loved one at home, you can maintain many traditions this holiday season, thankfully. One of the greatest joys of celebrating the holidays is decorating the house.
Lifting heavy boxes and decorating can be hard work, so be sure to make it as easy as possible for your senior loved one to participate. Ask them for their decorating ideas as you make them physically come to life.
This is another timeless tradition that can remain the same. The smell of fresh cookies will trigger memories of enjoyable holidays of seasons’ past. Ask your senior loved one for their favorite recipes and bake away. They can help mix ingredients, decorate cookies, or even just provide their best tips while relaxing and enjoying the experience.
Watch Holiday Movies
Streaming services have already added holiday content. With so many streaming options out there, there’s no shortage of great holiday content to enjoy. While you’re staying inside, watch the classics again, or take in a new movie. Possibly consider something different, such as listening to a holiday podcast series.
Listen to Holiday Music
The sound of familiar music touches our hearts in a uniquely profound way. Music has the power to bring us back in time. So put on those perennial favorites that your senior loves. Freshen things up by sharing newer songs with them too. They might like to learn what your favorite holiday classics are.
Read a Holiday Book
Have you ever read A Christmas Carol? If not, perhaps now is the time. Or maybe there’s an old children’s book your loved one used to read to you. Pull out these old books and read them together again. You could also record the readings to share with other family members.
Do You Plan on Attending Family Gatherings?
Assess the risks associated with it. If your loved one is older than 80, you might wish to forego hosting a larger party and instead celebrate a more intimate dinner. This may be more comfortable for your senior loved one and allows you to focus on creating a safe and pleasant experience.
If family members live far apart, keep things remote. Consider video chatting with your distant relatives. For those who live farther away and want to travel to visit, have them drive, rather than fly, to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Throwing a Party Outside
Having good ventilation is important to remove airborne contaminants that can linger indoors. In the nice California weather, consider throwing outside celebrations this holiday season by setting up outdoor tents.
Are you considering meeting in-person? Below are suggestions on how to minimize risk while celebrating the holidays:
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19 before attending a get-together.
- Eat at separate tables. Keep family “bubbles” together.
- Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes accessible.
- Wear masks while you’re not eating.
- Avoid passing dishes around the table. Consider having designated food servers to reduce high-touch items.
Togetherness from a Safe Distance
Throwing a socially distant in-person party isn’t for everyone this year. Many families are searching for fun socially distant event ideas to celebrate the holidays virtually.
Video chatting has taken off this year. Many people use apps such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime to have large virtual family gatherings. It’s a great way to see all of your loved one’s faces and talk and laugh together safely and easily.
Virtual Celebration Activities
If your family usually watches a holiday movie every year, have all of your family members play it at the same time. Say for example Home Alone will be played by everyone at 6 p.m. Even more simply, turn on the same family holiday TV station so you can all be synchronized together.
If your family is active on Facebook or other social media, have an ugly sweater contest together or post pictures of your holiday decorations. Decorate the outside of your house so family members can drive by and see all of your creativity. Sharing pictures or taking your senior loved one for a ride to see other’s decorations is a great way to safely involve them in the fun.
Sending Thoughtful Gifts
If you are unable to see your senior loved one, send them thoughtful gifts. Consider sending candies or baked goods, handmade cards, decorations, flowers, and other gifts to show your loved one you care.
Have you ever experienced the joy of getting a letter from a pen pal? A handwritten letter is a nice touch from a loved one. You could even plan to send mail every day leading up to a holiday to spread the cheer over the season.
How the Kensington is Celebrating the Holidays
The Kensington is dedicated to following the recommendations set by the CDC and our local Department of Public Health to sustain a COVID-safe environment.
For those with loved ones living at The Kensington, we encourage visitors to schedule special one-on-one visits in our courtyard or for guests to send loved one’s thoughtful gifts.
Our life enrichment programs also provide a fun, active, safe, and socially distant calendar of events for our residents.
We provide a friendly and fun community for our residents, with many safe events scheduled for the upcoming holiday season, including movie nights and themed parties.
Are you looking to schedule a visit with your loved one, or to drop off a holiday present? Please reach out so we can safely help you connect with your loved one.
Additional Recommended Reading:
- Balancing Safety with Independence
- Aging Parents: When to be Concerned for Their Health at Home
- The Benefits of a Caregiving Support Group
- Caregiving for Elderly Parents in Times of Stress