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A New Holiday Season Challenges Americans to Celebrate Safely

How are the holidays looking different in 2020?

By Pam JannesPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

For many people, the first couple weeks of December have been filled with little reminders that this holiday season is so different from others. Our calendars, usually jam-packed with holiday parties, are now disappointingly empty. Day-long trips to the mall to buy gifts for family have been exchanged for online browsing. And on a darker note, many of us have lost family and friends to COVID-19 with whom we would spend the early December weeks excitedly chatting about holiday reunions.

Still, for many people, the question of whether holiday celebrations themselves will feel equally empty exists. Despite how people behaved around Thanksgiving, celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and other December holidays brings in a new question: what exactly will this COVID-19 holiday look like?

Holiday tree retailer Treetopia recently published a new survey about how Americans are changing their holiday plans this year.

First, the survey asked respondents about their plans to travel or stay put during the holiday season. A surprising 55% of respondents said that they were planning on seeing extended family and friends in person this year to some extent. This is despite the fact that the CDC has repeatedly warned that staying socially distanced during the holidays is the best way to ensure that people stay safe and healthy until they are able to become vaccinated.

Despite the fact that so many people still plan to see their family during the holiday, people are still taking precautions to keep their loved ones safe. According to the survey, for those that are traveling, the majority of people will be driving in cars to see their loved ones (43%). Those traveling through state lines by car are supposed to self-quarantine before or after making their journeys according to state guidelines.

What do those long periods of self-quarantine mean for those still trying to celebrate the season? Luckily, the survey’s insights also pointed out some fun and safe socially-distanced holiday activities.

According to the survey, the holiday tradition which most people plan to keep up this year, regardless of COVID-19-related changes, is cooking family recipes. 57.5% of respondents plan on getting into the kitchen this season. This uptick in cooking is being met by an increasingly wide variety of holiday-themed meal kits, including kits that send customers entire holiday cookie baking and decorating kits so that they don’t even have to visit the grocery store to celebrate the holidays.

Another tradition which the survey reports will be especially popular this holiday season is decorating the home with holiday decorations. The excitement of decorating isn’t being kept inside the home however. Apparently, outdoor Christmas decoration sales have gone up this year, as people put up lights that can safely spread contactless cheer around entire neighborhoods.

Finally, the survey asked people what they will miss the most this holiday season. The top answer was not being able to see friends and family (33% of respondents). People also reported that they will miss traveling, not being able to attend parades or local events, and not being able to attend holiday gatherings for the holiday season. Fortunately, after an entire year of embracing virtual life, there are so many different ideas for fun ways to come together online that families longing for the holidays can turn to. Some popular ideas include ordering cocktail kits for friends to make and enjoy together online, coordinating virtual Secret Santa and even attending virtual masses or holiday services online.

From all this, it’s clear that although this holiday season will be different, there is nothing preventing us from having fun and staying safe. Given that so many traditions can be observed at a safe distance and that so many new activities have been developed, there is plenty for celebrating Americans to do safely. You can view the full results of the survey here, but be sure to consider your own personal health and safety needs when planning for the holiday season.

Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season and a new year where connection is possible!


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