Christmas 2020 is definitely one for the books with high social distancing requirements due to the pandemic. The holiday traditions of large family gatherings and lavish spending need to be addressed during this quarantine Christmas. I personally had to have the awkward holiday budget and COVID testing conversation with my relatives. Yes, they were both awkward, but both important to discuss with everything that’s going on. The holiday spirit is being tested and it’s up to us to keep the house sane and cheerful. So let’s pour a cup of coquito and put on some holiday jams because Christmas 2020 isn’t canceled! Here are my 9 tips to get through this quarantine Christmas.
Order and Mail Gifts Early
One of the first things we need to go over is how to modify our old holiday habits of shopping last minute. This is not the year to keep your gifts in “the cart” and forget about them. It’s super important to make a list of gifts you want to buy and start checking out as soon as possible. I know I have a habit when shopping online and leaving the items in “the cart” and forgetting about it. This habit works if you don’t really need the items, but for Christmas gifts, you don’t want to be waiting for a gift that wasn’t ordered.
When ordering gifts online, I love checking the box “it’s a gift” and writing something special as a note. This is a small hack to skip having to wrap gifts for relatives who won’t be spending the holidays with you. It might cost a few extra dollars, but it’s a nice add on that makes it a bit more special.
Set a Quarantine Christmas Budget
This is not the year to be expecting huge gifts from anyone. Consider everyone’s financial situation before setting a gift budget for the holidays. A lot of people are closing off talking about their personal finances during this time and it’s understandable, it’s a stressful time. So if you know a family member that’s been affected by the pandemic, don’t put pressure to give gifts. One tip my family does is give stocking stuffers to everyone in our family. These gifts are usually small like candles, socks, and a coffee mug. We do this so no one feels left out and it’s budget-friendly for even the tightest of budgets.
Another way my family keeps our quarantine Christmas budget low is by doing Secret Santa or White Elephant, both are awesome. We typically set a budget of about $50 per adult and try to stay under that for the kid’s gifts as well. This makes it more realistic for how much each person will spend during the holidays. When creating a spending budget for each family member make sure to consider how much it will cost in total. $50 might not sound like a lot, but if you have a large family this can add up. This is why I love Secret Santa for larger families, one gift per adult and done.
Consider Who is Coming Over
Celebrating social distant holidays means fewer large family gatherings. This can make the conversation awkward when creating a list of who can come over for quarantine Christmas. Since I have a small family in San Diego, CA we are only celebrating with my mom and sisters. We aren’t gathering with cousins or close friends this year due to the safety measures of the pandemic. I know a lot of people who are also only considering the immediate family as guests at their homes. The important thing for you to do is to make a list of who is coming over and that they feeling well. We don’t want another Thanksgiving virus spread to start 2021.
The COVID Test Conversation
OMG! This has to be the most difficult conversation to have with family members. Some feel like it’s a hoax and not that serious or others are scared and social distancing from everyone and everything. It’s important that you know which family and friends have gotten tested for COVID and if their results are negative or positive. I know a lot of people don’t want to take the vaccine or the COVID test, but I honestly think checking to see if you have it is best. If your family members are not for it and you have a family member with pre-existing conditions like my son. Then you might want to consider social distancing for a bit longer until this calms down.
Share Family Recipes Before Hand
Sharing family recipes is one of the positive parts of this quarantine Christmas. I’ve had the best conversations calling my grandmother, my aunt, and other relatives to share the family recipes that they hold near and dear. The funniest part is that most elders in my family don’t know the recipe by measurements, but by sight. So the whole conversation is held on facetime, Facebook video, or WhatsApp. The laughs and cooking disasters will be one for the books. This is a great time to record the family recipes for the next generations and create some memories. Just don’t forget about the food and accidentally burn the house down, this isn’t the year for that either. Here is my favorite holiday drink, which is Coquito.
Call to Check on Relatives
In the Latin community, you can not go to a party and not say hello to everyone and this is the same for goodbyes. So why not call, facetime, or zoom family members you would naturally spend the holidays with to check in on them. This is the time to express our love and gratitude for our loved ones and to pray over them as this pandemic continues. Now, don’t forget to contact loved ones who’ve gotten the virus, are feeling ill, or are alone for the holidays. Everyone loves a short call as a reminder that you’ve thought of them.
Get Budget-Friendly Decor
It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without some holiday decor that brings the holiday spirit alive. Some of my favorite holiday decorations are of course the tree, poinsettias, and scented candles. This year I saw a lot of great deals on poinsettias at Lowes during black Friday, at Aldi, and even Wal Mart. Flowers are always a small way to heighten the holiday vibe, especially during this plant craze year. I also love adding some scented pinecones and candles to make it smell like Christmas. These are budget-friendly ways to set the holiday mood without having to break the bank. I personally would have loved to buy a real tree this year but decided to stick to my plastic tree. Sometimes you have to work with what you got.
Have a Holiday Movies Marathon
Watching Christmas movies during this pandemic has been such a treat with the kids. Nothing is better during the cold winters than warm blankets, hot cocoa, popcorn, and chocolates while cuddling with yourself or your family. Here are some of the new movies my family has watched on Netflix and highly recommend to watch. First up is our new family favorite, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, this movie is so creative and the dance moves are epic. A few romantic Christmas movies are Holidate, The Princess Switch, and The Holiday Calendar. Now for some family classics you have to watch Elf, Home Alone, and The Grinch, my kids jumped and laughed the whole time. Now, Netflix is scheduled to up their prices, so make sure to chip on whoever is letting you barrow the account.
Embrace the Family-Friendly Traditions
Pandemic or not, we love doing all the classic family traditions during Christmas. From cooking and dancing to driving through the neighborhood to see the lights. These are all small traditions that don’t cost a lot of money outside of time. One of my favorites family traditions that I’ve started is making sugar cookies from scratch and decorating them with the kids. I recommend to look at the positives during this quarantine Christmas and start creating family traditions you like. This can be learning how to play Dominos, learn how to cook, or film a funny music video. Your limitations are all in your head, if you want to make this quarantine Christmas borning you can or you can make it fun.
This quarantine Christmas is a scary one that has affected so many people in a negative way. It’s important that we count our blessings and focus on making the best out of our situation. For me calling my grandma and aunt to get the family Coquito recipe has been a highlight. Watching movies with my kids, my mom, and my husband has been a blast. Yes, we all miss going out, but being content with being healthy is an understatement. I hope you find some peace during this season and that you come out stronger than ever.