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How to Keep Holiday Traditions Alive During Covid-19

Relaxing by the fire

Holiday Traditions are very important to me. Are they to you? I like to go to parties and have fun during the holidays but more important to me than the parties are the time-honored holiday traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

These traditions are intended to be shared with family and friends as we gather together to celebrate. I’m missing the gathering together.

I recognize that I am not alone feeling this way. How could I be when we are all experiencing the pandemic together.

If you follow my blog, you know that I am a glass half-full kind of person. I am always looking for the bright side to a situation. With that in mind, I have come up with some ways to keep those holiday traditions alive for me while being covid safe. Maybe one or more of these ideas will help you, too.

6 ways to keep some holiday traditions alive this year

Go to a Botanical Garden

No matter where you live there is bound to be a botanical garden not too far from you or at least an outdoor park.

In Atlanta, the Atlanta Botanical Garden does a fabulous display during the holidays called Garden Nights, Holiday Lights. People buy tickets to wander the gardens at night and gaze at the beautiful holiday lights.

If the botanical garden near you doesn’t do this, plan an outing during the day with your family to be in nature and admire the gardens. Gardens are beautiful, even in winter, as something is always happening in the garden.

Decorate a tree

I decorate a Christmas tree inside my house and have in the past decorated trees outside with my children and their friends. Decorating trees outside is lots of fun!

Do you have a yard? Decorate an outside tree with pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. The children will love creating these decorations and the birds will be happy too. You can even string popcorn together as a garland for the birds.

You can get together with another family. Wear masks, stay physically distant, and enjoy some fun time outside.

If you can’t do this together, maybe each family can decorate their own tree and then share the photos on Facetime.

Have a snowman building contest

Is there snow on the ground where you live? One of your holiday traditions might be to build snowmen together. Why not have a contest? Get everyone outside and bundled-up in their snow gear. You can decorate the snowmen with carrots, sticks, scarves and anything else you can think of.

Do you have room for an outdoor firepit? If you do, get it going and then serve hot chocolate out by the firepit.  Click here for a great hot chocolate recipe for a crowd.

Read holiday stories

I love to read to children and have lots of holiday story books which I hope to read to my granddaughter. Since I can’t be there to read them in person one way to keep this holiday tradition alive is to read to them using the Portal. You could use Zoom, Skype or any other online platform.

Sing carols

Singing Christmas carols in church is another one of my favorite holiday traditions. My plan, and maybe you want to do this too, is to sing-along to my favorite Christmas carols at home. I will be doing this all season long. 

Bake Cookies

I bake cookies all the time but there are certain cookies that I only bake during the holidays. I will be continuing that holiday tradition this year. In the past, I have given cookies out to people as a party favor at my Christmas party. Since there won’t be a party this year, my plan is to deliver cookies to the people who I usually invite to my party.


When I was teaching school, one of my favorite things to do over the holidays was to relax and just hang out with friends. We’d sit and talk for hours and hours about everything and nothing. I don’t live near these friends anymore, but it has occurred to me that using technology we can still hang out.

Think about your favorite holiday traditions and decide which ones you can modify due to our current circumstances. Naturally, there will be some that may have to wait in the wings until next year but there will be some, like decorating trees, baking cookies, reading stories, singing carols, and relaxing that we can still engage in just differently.  Please reach out to me if you’d like some organizing support or help figuring this out.


  • Seana Turner says:

    It really is about rethinking the entire season. Perhaps we will focus more on the real reason for Christmas this year. Still sad, though, to not be able to gather with family and celebrate the many fun & festive activities typically associated with the holiday. I think singing carols is a great idea. I’m hoping to do that this year, something we never seem to have time for in the more “normal” years.

  • Diane- I love all the wonderful traditions you described and your suggestions for reimagining them due to the pandemic. One silver lining of the health crisis is to force us to get creative with how we live life. It also gives us opportunities to reflect on the people, traditions, and activities we’re most grateful for. Because when we can’t be with our loved ones as we used to do or engage in the activities, we always did, we become more appreciative. I see it everywhere. While some feel sad for what can’t be, they are also inventive and focused on what is meaningful and possible. Thank you for reminding us of the many ways we can keep our favorite holiday traditions alive.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Recognizing the silver lining is a key component to experiencing the holidays in a new way.

  • I love all these ideas! Thanks for sharing. I am taking a few for our family gathering.

    We have scheduled our botanical garden visit for next week. It’s a wonderful time to be outside and enjoy the cool weather and Christmas lights. We do not go every year, so it just happened that we all wanted to go this year to enjoy the holiday season. =)

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Oh Sabrina, that’s fabulous! I’m happy that you are all going to be getting together. Enjoy!

  • Melanie says:

    This is a great year to focus more on the intention behind the Christmas season and less on parties and gifts. You have so many beautiful suggestions. Thank you for sharing!

  • Julie Bestry says:

    Christmas isn’t my holiday, but I’ve usually enjoyed the sparkly lights and the joy of it all, celebrating with my friends and especially their tiny children. Between almost every darn tiny human having grown up and COVID, I’ve been feeling a little Grinch-y lately, but your post has lifted my spirits. I never would have thought of the “pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed” approach!

  • This is such a wonderful post about traditions. Traditions are so important and they don’t have to be lost or forgotten during difficult times.
    Your ideas are lovely. When you mentioned visiting a Botanical Garden, I couldn’t help but think of the Bronx Bronx Botanical Garden, which is very well-known and spectacular.
    One of my favorite family traditions, at this time of year, is gathering with my family, including all the children and meeting in New York City for Chinese food and the opening of a new movie. We would always vote ahead of time on which movie to see. Of course the one with the most votes, won. Then, off to my sister’s for dessert and exchanging holiday gifts.
    This year won’t be as fun or as festive. Still, we can have Chinese food and watch a good movie on Netflix.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you, Ronni! We usually do something similar on Christmas night. We usually decide which first run movie to see as a family, go on Christmas night, and then come home for leftover turkey sandwiches. Not this year, of course. This year we will be watching something on HBO or Netflix.

  • Julie Stobbe says:

    I love all the suggestions. I would love to have a snowman building contest. Thanks for that idea.

  • The holidays will be different this year for me, since one of my sons will not be coming home to visit. I guess that’s happening everywhere. We plan on just a quiet holiday. I’m doing LOTS of baking and am looking forward to some relaxing days and reading a couple of books.

  • Cathy Borg says:

    Keeping positive healthy traditions that build community and happiness are perhaps even more important than usual. Thank you for the thoughtful post.