Whatever and however you usually celebrate, this holiday season is bound to be different than usual. We’re all doing our part to keep our loved ones and vulnerable populations safe from the pandemic. Unfortunately, that means foregoing many of the traditions we’d normally enjoy at this time of year.

The good news? This is a great opportunity to start some new traditions. Here are some fun and safe ideas that will help you keep the holiday cheer going strong.

Raise your voice. Grab your household, bundle up and go caroling around your neighbourhood. If singing isn’t your jam, you can bring along some easy-to-play instruments like bells, shakers and maracas to keep the rhythm going.

If weather or social distancing are keeping you from safely going outside, you can also host an at-home caroling session. Gather your family, set up your phone and start a Facebook or Instagram live video while you sing along to your favourite songs.

Secret Santa. Bust out your craft ideas or baking skills and make some small treats that you can drop off on the doorsteps of your friends and family. Leave the gift, ring the bell and hide as you watch them find it.

Have a fort night. No, not the game. A fort night. Grab some chairs, blankets and pillows and build a fort. Camp out with your loved ones and a smorgasbord of your favourite treats and watch some holiday movies together—you can even host a long-distance movie night with friends and family by using extensions like Teleparty.

Story time. There are lots of great holiday stories. Set up a virtual meeting and have grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends read the kids a story.  

Put a stamp on it. Santa isn’t the only one who likes getting letters. Go traditional and send out some greeting cards. Make your own cards if you’re feeling crafty—it’s a great activity for the kids.

Take a virtual trip. Want to explore the canals of Venice or the markets of Marrakesh safely? Gather your family around the computer and visit your must-see destinations on Google Earth or Google Maps. You can also visit museums around the world with Google Arts and Culture—the British Museum currently has an online exhibit on Harry Potter: A History of Magic.

Volunteer safely. Consider becoming a phone or pen pal to those in isolation, such as senior citizens or new Canadians. You can submit a hopeful message with The Joy4All Project, write uplifting letters with AgeCare Pen Pals or talk to isolated seniors on the phone with the Sage Seniors Association. For other opportunities, check out Volunteer Connector, and always make sure you’re following health and safety guidelines for COVID-19.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, we urge you to follow the Government of Alberta restrictions and guidelines. Only by abiding by these new measures can we protect our families, friends, colleagues and fellow community members.

At the same time, we encourage you to stay connected to your loved ones as much as possible. Send a text, write a letter, connect on the phone or get everyone together virtually for a video chat. If ever there was time to reach out and stay in touch, this is it. Now more than ever we need to take care of each other.

Do you have ideas on how to celebrate the holiday season safely this year? Share them in the comments or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

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