As the holidays draw near in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, small parties with a limited number of guests can feel frustrating and uninspiring. Maybe it’s time to rethink holiday parties in general. Instead of huge gatherings with loaded food tables, perhaps there are other ways to get into the holiday mood. Here are a few suggestions:
Have a “drop off” cookie bakeoff exchange with several friends or neighbors. Each participant bakes enough cookies to provide the other participants with two or three cookies wrapped in decorative holiday bags/containers. On the designated day (and time block), everyone delivers their yummy treats to a basket setup on each participant’s front porch. Provide a map of each location for participants and then schedule a Zoom session later that evening where everyone can digitally party and enjoy their basket of goodies. Alternatively, you can deliver your basket of cookies to a friend or loved one who can’t get out and about. Include a card explaining the exchange and let them know you were thinking of them this holiday season. The basket and being remembered will be much appreciated.
Holidays are also a great time to take a meal to your local fire station, police station or hospital nurses’ stations. Include a simple note thanking them for their service and wishing them well this holiday season. It is always nice to give back to those who give of themselves, to help others. While we are home with our loved ones on holidays, remember those working to ensure our safety and well-being.
A Secret Santa party is fun for a small group. You can pick a theme like ornaments, funny pairs of socks, or you can simply limit the price of the gift. Everyone gets a number, so they can choose from all the wrapped gifts when their number is called. This is a terrific option for any age group. The real fun is guessing who brought what gift.
If you are looking for an outdoor alternative, a caroling party offers holiday enchantment and allows for more effortless social distancing measures. It’s also a terrific option for children of all ages. Cider and cookies can be enjoyed on a porch or patio with little fuss or preparation. Adding a few candles set in small mason jars with decorative ribbon creates a cozy feel with the added touch of Southern charm.
Christmas dinner is planned, but what about Christmas Eve? Something fast and straightforward gives the cook a break and makes everyone happy. Why not setup a festive taco bar? Supply accoutrements of cheese, sliced olives, ground taco meat, hard and soft tortillas, beans, sliced chilies and plenty of hot salsa and queso, suitable for dipping tortilla chips and vegetables. You can also purchase holiday-themed to-go containers with all of the items pre-packaged. This keeps clean-up easy, and your guests socially distanced. It’s also a great outdoor option to host around a bonfire or gas fire pit on your back patio.
For those unexpected guests that might arrive around mealtime, an easy fix is to have precut vegetable sticks, fresh fruit and several dips on hand. Add some bread and cracker choices, assorted cheeses and sliced luncheon meats, and you have an instant meal with little preparation. A potted plant or some greenery with a few small candles makes a perfect centerpiece that is easily assembled for the table.
Happy Holidays and the best of New Year!