Personal Finance

Employee Roundup: Ways to Creatively and Safely Celebrate the Holidays this Year

2020 has been an unprecedented and challenging year for many of us. I had my first child this year and it’s difficult coming to terms that her first Christmas just won’t be the big event we’d all love it to be. But one thing I do believe is it’s an opportunity to create a new kind of memory, one that will stand out from all the other years and hopefully make the best of it.

Last year, I was too pregnant to travel which meant it was just my husband and me at home. He didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas (which is what my family celebrates) and while he enjoys the spirit of the holiday and the family gatherings, the gift-giving and traditions just don’t mean as much to him. To find a way to make it fun and a little different, and take the pressure off him a bit, we went to a superstore near our house. With $40 in hand and a declared 40 minute time allotment, we separated and set out to “fill each other’s stockings.” It was absolutely ridiculous and I got an unreasonable amount of $0.50 pies, but it made us laugh and made the day special. And it didn’t break the bank!

It gave me a moment to reflect, the things that make the holidays, the holidays, aren’t just the gifts, but the memories we make. Considering this year many people find themselves in a similar position, I thought it would be fun to ask around our team to think about how they “made the best of it” when they couldn’t have their usual get-togethers or how they’re planning to this year.

Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for how to celebrate the holidays safely this year while saving a few bucks along the way! Here are some of our favorites:

Holiday Care Packages 

“When I went away to college, I started getting boxes from my aunt. Big boxes. Without fail, the week before any holiday, a large, heavy box, secured with approximately 100ft of packing tape lands on my doorstep, filled with streamers, noisemakers, tinsel, tissue paper, socks, novelty pint glasses, t-shirts, Christmas socks, dog treats, you name it, and change – so much change – hidden throughout. Usually, the card indicates how many dollars in nickels, dimes, and quarters I should have after a thorough search of every item in the box, with instructions to buy seasonally appropriate booze with my findings. It’s ridiculous and usually messy, but makes me laugh and feel the holiday love, even if I’m 3,000 miles away.”  — Brigit C.

Ugly Christmas Sweater  Socks

“For the past three or four years, I have bought several pairs of outrageous socks, wrapped each of them up, and then had my family members randomly choose one on Christmas morning. There are usually at least two pairs of really bad socks, so the fun is in finding out who will get them (pro tip: I typically will sneak an extra surprise gift in one of the pairs). We weren’t able to all get together last year, so I kept the tradition alive by asking each of my family members to deliver their best compliments to me, determining who got what socks based on how much I liked each compliment and then mailing the socks to everyone in advance of Christmas. We then all got on FaceTime Christmas morning and opened the socks together. It’s become a fun tradition and especially in a year where budgets might be a bit tighter, it’s light on the bank account.” — Ryan K.

Virtual Gathering

“Last year, our family couldn’t all get together, so we bought all of our siblings and parents Facebook Portals so that we could all virtually hangout! It actually turned out to be so fun, and really felt like we were still all together.” — Tom R.

(Almost) Same Place, Same Time

“This year, we’ve been talking about trying to get everyone in the family to do the same thing, at the same time! For now, we’re planning to go on a short walk by the water or at the beach (at our respective locations), snapping a picture, and sharing these memories in the family group chat.” — Brian M.

Annual Gaming Party

“A few of my closest friends are keeping our tradition of having a gaming party! We’re all planning to log on to our video game networks and play games together for the day. Even if we’re not together in-person, it’s so fun to chat with your friends in-game. We’ve actually been doing this for close to 20 years now.” — Matt L.

Despite the un-traditional holiday season this year, there are still so many ways to spread the holiday spirit. Remember, the holidays aren’t just about the gifts you give or the money you spend, but the memories you make.

How are you celebrating the holidays this year? Comment below!

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