13 ideas for celebrating the season...lockdown style

13 ideas for celebrating the season...lockdown style

The holidays are traditionally a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy everything the season has to offer...together. But COVID has put the brakes on that idea. So how do we celebrate when we’re all being asked to stay home? We get creative and embrace technology, do more stuff outside, find workarounds - and maybe even start some new traditions

1. Enjoy the slower pace.

If December usually sees you rushing around between your parents and your in-laws, going to endless parties, cooking for a crowd or repeatedly taking “just one more trip” to the mall, it might be time to embrace a year where you can’t do any of those things. Plan some quiet days where you read, watch cheesy movies and play board games. Plan a few virtual get-togethers if you like. And get some sleep.

2. Open gifts “together.”

Drop off or mail gifts with strict instructions that they not be opened until you’re all on a Zoom call. There’s nothing like watching someone’s face light up when they open a gift that’s from you.

3. Get dinner delivered.

Don’t want to cook a big, time-intensive meal for a small group? Get someone else to do it for you! That way you’ll spend time with your family instead of in the kitchen AND you can support a locally-owned business that needs your help right now.

Kennedy Catering has gourmet meal delivery you heat yourself (with options like trout, osso bucco, vegetable Wellington, and yes, turkey), and restaurants are prepping all kinds of Christmas and Hanukkah fare to enjoy at home: here’s a helpful list of Toronto restaurants and gourmet grocers selling holiday dinners for takeout or delivery.

Person Delivering Food

4. Attend a virtual concert.

If Handel’s Messiah is your December ritual, there’s no need to pass it up this year. Just hit up Google for a long list of live and on-demand options (including sing-alongs!)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has TSO On Demand: Holiday Pops, an hour-long carol-fest you can watch anytime between December 18 and January 3. To help you get into the spirit of the giving season, they offer a “Give One, Get One” ticket, which buys a Holiday Pops ticket for a new Canadian.

And if you’re looking for some kid-endorsed entertainment, “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” a zany, funny sequel to the Wizard of Oz, is this 2020 take on Ross Petty’s annual show.

5. Do some sightseeing.

Whether it’s a look at the iconic holiday windows at The Bay on Queen Street, the Holiday Night of Lights drive-through in Vaughan, or a walk through a neighbourhood where folks have gone all-out with decorations, enjoying the lights is one holiday tradition you can hold on to this year.

Read more: Places to see holiday light displays in the GTA

Photo Credit: @blogto

6. Play games.

Whether you’re playing virtually or IRL, there’s nothing like a festive round of Cards Against Humanity to get you into the holiday spirit (you can even download a pdf to make your own cards for free!). Of course, if you need something a little more kid- and grandparent-friendly, there’s always Two Truths and a Lie over FaceTime, or classics like charades, Simon Says or Pictionary.

Another idea: send instructions for a seasonal scavenger hunt that everyone can do on their own, then come together virtually to show off their treasures. Bonus points for weirdest/funniest/most creative finds.

7. Host a talent show.

Get on a video call together (what would we do without Zoom and Google Meet?) and sing grandma’s favourite song, do a dance routine, tell jokes, show off funny pet tricks. And don’t forget to hit record: this is how memories are made!

8. Eat together - virtually.

If you all live in the same area, do a potluck where everyone drops off a designated dish to everyone else, then enjoy it all together on a video call. If you’re further apart, simply coordinate a menu (you can even send out recipes). Don’t have a lot of talkers in the group? Try prompts like Table Topics to keep the conversation going.

9. Hit the ice.

Outdoor rinks are all open right now in the City of Toronto, and they’re maintaining physical distancing rules with 25-person limits. You can sign up online for a 45-minute slot at your local skating rink, or show up to snag one of the 10 walk-in spots available each hour.

Read more: City of Toronto COVID-19 Holiday Guide

10. Have a hot-chocolate meet-up at a local park.

Fill to-go cups with your favourite sweet concoction (chocolate bombs are totally having a moment right now - try one from a local business) and get together in a park or other outdoor space to catch up.

Mittens On Hot Coco

11. Take a walk with a friend.

Experiencing Zoom fatigue? You can still get together IRL, as long as you’re outside. Bundle up for a “walk and talk” date. If you want to connect with a friend who’s further away, just bring the headset and talk on the phone while you’re walking.

12. Host a virtual cookie decorating party.

Send around a recipe for sugar cookies or gingerbread people and have everyone bake them ahead of time (or pick up some premade ones that aren’t iced). Then get together and decorate them on a video call. Funniest, most creative, most appetizing (and whatever other categories you come up with) all win a prize!

13. Find ways to give back.

Charities are needed more now than ever, but donations have dropped, especially since non-profits can no longer do fundraising events. If you want to do some good, donate to a good cause in your name or someone else’s. But money isn’t the only way to give back: you can give blood, donate to a toy drive, deliver food or shovel snow for a senior, give stockings filled with socks, hats, gloves and personal hygiene items to a homeless shelter, or donate pet food or blankets to an animal shelter.

COVID may be keeping us from spending Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve the way we usually do, but if there’s been anything positive about this pandemic, it’s that it has shown us how resilient we can be. We can totally find new and different ways to celebrate...and connect with the people we care about.

Happy holidays from all of us here at condos.ca!

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