Four people gather on screen for virtual holiday party.

Stay Safe with This Virtual Holiday Guide

The Centers for Disease Control is urging us to skip holiday travel, interact only with our household and avoid gatherings. This is no ordinary holiday season, but we can still make the most of it with these festive ideas.

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Community Content Team
Published Dec 22, 2020 in: Spending & Shopping

Read time: 4 minutes

No parties, no extended-family feast and definitely no mistletoe. It's enough to make even the cheeriest holiday lover utter "Bah! Humbug!"

Wondering how you can safely keep the holiday spirit during a pandemic? Put a new spin on your classic holiday traditions and get inspired to make some new ones with these low-cost ideas for physically distanced celebrations.

Celebrate Winter Holidays

Deliver a sweet surprise: Whip up a batch of your favorite holiday treats. Bonus points for festive toppings or designs. Surprise your friends, family or neighbors by leaving some at their door — or keep them as a treat for yourself. We won't tell.

Host a virtual holiday movie watch party: Invite your friends and family to watch your favorite holiday movie together online. Video streaming services offer various watch party options. You can watch at the same time, while still being able to see each other.

Cruise the holiday lights: Driving by holiday light displays in your neighborhood is a great way to feel the holiday cheer while staying physically distant. So, grab some hot cocoa and take a drive with members of your social bubble. If you don't have a car, bundle up and take a walk to check out some lights, but remember to wear your mask and stay at least 6 feet from others.

Get into the giving spirit: The holidays can be hard, and this year even harder. One great way to make the holiday season brighter is to give back. Gift a toy or item to a child in need through a charity such as Toys for Tots, mail a gift through USPS Operation Santa or donate to an organization, shelter or hospital in your area. If buying a new gift is out of your price range, consider donating your gently used clothing items, blankets or nonperishable foods to a shelter or nonprofit. Did you receive a gift that's just not your style? Re-gift it to someone who will love it.

Remember that material gifts aren't the only ones that count. Sometimes your time can be the most meaningful gift of all. Search online for organizations that need a volunteer to help them safely spread some holiday cheer: Seattle'sChild and United Way's Volunteer Spokane list holiday volunteering ideas tailored to 2020. With limited in-person options, Feeding America suggests fundraising as an alternative.

What about New Year's Eve?

Watch the Times Square Ball drop and fireworks: The show must go on — virtually. You can still tune in to the annual Times Square Ball drop on major TV networks, or online. If you're a fan of the fireworks display at Seattle's Space Needle, this year, in place of the usual display, you can catch a virtual light show to ring in the new year, available on KING 5 and online.

Get all dressed up — with nowhere to go: You can still be festive and make memories on New Year's Eve while staying in. Swap your sweatpants for fancy attire, decorate your living room and get out the silly 2021 hats and noisemakers. Set up a festive backdrop with decorations and photo props and snap pictures with members of your household.

Celebrate with festive food and beverages: Try your hand at a fancy cocktail recipe or make fun hors d'oeuvres and your favorite dinner. Or treat yourself while supporting small businesses by ordering take-out. Many restaurants and bars are even offering to-go cocktail-making kits for an at-home party.

Carry on traditions: You may not be able to have a glamorous night out, but you can still enjoy your New Year's traditions. Whether it's making a list of resolutions, toasting champagne or staying up to ring in the new year at midnight, you can still partake in these festivities with your immediate household, or include friends and family over a video call.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season from BECU!

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Community Content Team

BECU's community content team writes about personal finance topics like budgeting, saving and building credit to help you reach your financial health goals.