What a year! As we roll into the final month of 2020, so many things look and feel different. It can be a bit depressing when we miss out on the activities we loved to do each year. It can be upsetting when traditions have to be left out or altered. It can also make us so cooped up, staying home so much more.

Instead, we’ll have to embrace other things this month. 5 things you can still do with the family include:

Driving to see Christmas lights

Not just one time, but how about making this a once a week activity now through the new year? Find a new town, area, or neighborhood to drive to each week at night. Bring along the hot cocoa and cookies, crank the Christmas music, and enjoy the scenery. I read this year may be bigger than ever for holiday lights since more people are staying home and want to make it extra festive. There are also many Holiday Light Drive-Thru “shows” that do cost money, but are worth it to choose one week, especially if you have younger children who are in awe of the settings.

Go overboard on your own decorating

We WILL be home a lot more. Why not decorate more than you usually do? Add a second tree (if possible) if you usually have one. Break out all the boxes and have kids help choose items for their own bedrooms. Face it, that is often their classroom now, so why not make it festive too? String extra lights around indoor windows and doorways. Maybe add lights and holiday decor to the backyard, not just front. Young children love train sets around trees and any animated or lighted figures. You can really go wild and make your home extra glowy this season; why not?

Write cards

While the photo cards that are so popular nowadays are lovely, there’s nothing as personal as handwriting cards. Grandparents in particular will love this! Print out a picture or two to add to the card and write a family update or funny story of something that happened recently. Having the kids write it is even better. Add old friends and anyone you know who lives alone or doesn’t have local family. Also consider writing cards to local nursing home residents and mail or drop them there.

Shop for the holidays

What, you’re thinking Amazon? No, I’m thinking a car ride to the outlets, thrift shops, or any local stores. Don’t forget small businesses that are local! This year, more than ever, they need our support to stay in business. While it’s so easy to hit the “check out” button online, it’s actually more of an experience to remember when you get out and shop together. Stores are still open, as of this writing, so in-person browsing can be a fun day out together. Christmas music is playing, stores are decorated and it is an experience and great way to get out of the house.

Of course, if this doesn’t make you comfortable or you have no intent on being in the public area, by all means, shop online! Do try to remember the small retailers, the local shops, and local work-at-home moms and dads who have a direct sales or craft business. These purchases will have a bigger impact on the economy and the owners than you know.

Family fun projects and game days

The more you do together, the more fun you’ll all have! Some to consider include:

  • Make gingerbread houses (make it a contest too if you’d like)
  • Family holiday puzzle. Set one out on a table for everyone to work on together.
  • Make crafts like birdfeeders and snowflake paper chains. A homemade birdfeed can be a great little gift for a neighbor too.
  • Cookie baking afternoons are fun for everyone! Stock up on supplies and try some new recipes each week.
  • Game nights are always fun. You can even do them over Zoom with relatives who are out of town!

This season may be a challenge in many ways, but keeping it busy and making it warm and fun for the family will get us through it with laughter and love. You’ll make great memories also!