Guided By Values

Ideas for Reimagining Your Family's Holiday Traditions

Posted by Lauren Spirig on Nov 13, 2020 11:20:47 AM

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As we look ahead to holidays and cultural events that, in non-Covid times, may have brought together family and friends near and far, we are delighted to hear how families in our community are reimagining traditions to fit the challenges we face today. As one Peck parent astutely noted, “It’s all about building new traditions on top of the old ones.”

We invited parents, students, faculty, and staff to share their ideas for new or reimagined holiday celebrations. Enjoy, and see if any of them might work for your family this year! 

  • We are planning a virtual Turkey Day with our family across the country! We’re going to connect online and cook together, eat together, and play games. We will even do a version of the Netflix show Nailed It!, where the kids will compete to make the best-looking Thanksgiving cupcake and the adults will judge the final results!
  • Since we are not traveling, I volunteered to work at my pediatric office over the Thanksgiving weekend. I will counsel my patients and their families about reducing their risk of spreading COVID-19 and the flu to grandparents, teachers, classmates, and teammates. I will remember to be grateful to my colleagues who are truly on the front lines in the Emergency Department and ICU. 
  • This year, we will be having a smaller Thanksgiving dinner with only the six of us in our family. We are planning to gather on our patio and to connect via Zoom with the rest of the family in the US and Europe. The menu: grilled turkey!
  • Every year, we make hand turkeys and have a competition for who can decorate them the most creatively (think Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Disney themes!). We’re still doing this beloved tradition—just moving the judging to a text thread on Thanksgiving Day!
  • We are scheduling a virtual holiday Egg Nog & Craft session with extended family members whom we'd typically see while traveling over winter break.
  • We make meatballs and eggplant parm for Christmas Eve family dinner—if we can’t include grandparents in this year’s celebration for safety reasons, we will make enough for everyone and freeze for a later family meal!
  • Since we can’t be together for Hanukkah, I finally got my mother to give up her famous latke recipe, so the kids and I are going to try our hand at them!
  • Our kids’ cousins are sending advent calendars to each other (there are so many fun themed calendars out there!). We will open one door each day for 24 days in December, and share photos with our cousins of what’s inside!
  • Our extended family always has Game Day during Peck’s winter break, during which dozens of us gather for a full day of food, drinks, and board games. This year, we’re still doing it—with the HouseParty app!
  • We are doing a virtual extended family secret gift exchange using Elfster.
  • Our extended family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, so we’re planning a Zoom party with an Ugly Sweater theme—there are plenty of options for both holidays!
  • We are buying all of our holiday gifts from local restaurants and retailers to support them during these tough times.
  • We typically have a neighborhood cookie exchange, during which each house bakes a different type of cookie and drops off a small amount of them to all of the other families participating. You end up getting to try dozens of cookie varieties. For safety reasons, this year we are all exchanging recipes instead.
  • We are planning a long trip to see family next summer and make up for lost time!