Holiday Entertaining Tips and Trends

It’s happening! The seasonal section at most stores is swimming in holiday décor, and your holiday plans are probably coming together nicely. Over the past 20 months, we’ve all had to get pretty creative at celebrating with loved ones far and near while still staying safe and respectful of everyone’s comfort. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can connect with each other in all sorts of ways, and maybe even open our eyes to new traditions we’d like to maintain in the years to come. 

For some of us it’s been a long while since we’ve been able to enjoy the bustling holiday celebrations we remember. However, the eagerness we’re feeling to get back to our traditions might be matched with a level of anxiety about doing so safely. Remember, if you’re going to be gathering, follow all public health guidelines to ensure you’re doing as much as you can to keep everyone safe. 

Here’s some inspiration on how to gather for this year’s holiday season, with tips on keeping all your merrymaking safe, sound, and fun!

Enjoy the fresh air 

Especially if you’re in areas that don’t see extreme cold during the winter months, an outdoor gathering could be the perfect choice for your holiday celebrations this year. Let your guests know to dress warmly, then set up some heaters or a firepit (be sure to check with bylaw to know what’s allowed in your area). With a few blankets, some chairs, a slow cooker of warm drinks, and some great food, you can create a winter wonderland in your backyard where people can feel more comfortable about gathering again. Consider renting a tent where the food and drinks can sit covered, or even use your garage. You can also find fun winter games for all ages to keep people moving—and warm!

Throw a mixed-attendance mixer 

For events with both virtual and in-real-life guests, your goal should be to make sure everyone feels heard and seen, especially the people joining from afar. Lots of fun and user-friendly online games have gained popularity in the last couple of years and can make a great addition to your party. Bear in mind when setting up for a game to keep the game’s audio and the sound coming from your guests separate, so nobody’s fighting to be heard. If possible, have more than one camera set up so virtual guests can still see people’s faces up close. You can also set up your own game, like family-specific trivia for example, as a fun way for everyone to contribute and feel a part of the celebration.

Do some good in the neighbourhood 

Let your neighbours know you and your party will be coming around to collect non-perishables or warm clothing for charity. Then, gather your party, bundle up, and grab something to carry your goods. If you want to sing carols, great! If none of your party can carry a tune, maybe your neighbours will give generously to get you to stop singing. Either way, it’s a feel-good way to celebrate outdoors. Plus, you come out of it with donations to give to those in need. Win-win!

Bring in an expert, virtually

It may feel a little counterintuitive, but having a little structure to your virtual social event can help it flow, avoid awkward pauses, or accidental interrupting. Having your family prepare funny slideshows to catch each other up on their lives is a surprisingly fun option, with a little creativity on the topics (e.g. “top 10 jokes Dad told this year” or “My kids’ year in homeschool outfits”). Another great option is to enlist the help of a local baker, chef, mixologist, or other type of maker to lead you and your guests through a virtual class. Besides being a cool way to feel connected in doing something hands-on, this is also an opportunity to support a local business around the holidays!

Stagger attendance

If you’re looking to host a lot of people, like with a festive open house, you may not be able to accommodate everyone all at once. However, you can stagger your invitations so there’s a constant stream of people coming in and out without too much overlap. Set up chunks of time for people to stop in, and be sure you set aside food for each time frame! You might also find people are more willing to stop in for a bit rather than committing to a full event. 

Wherever and however you choose to celebrate this holiday, there’s no shortage of options to keep everyone feeling connected. With a little creativity, the parameters we have to contend with can be an opportunity to explore traditions you’ll grow to cherish. Happy holidaying!


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