As the Holidays approach we find ourselves remembering all the celebrations of the past. Some family traditions that have been passed down through generations simply cannot be done safely this year. We need to look at 2020 as the year of new traditions, and new ways to celebrate. 

The CDC has started by putting together a resource page, COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations. Here you will find a lot of good information about ways to celebrate safely. But we want to hear from you. What are you planning to do this year? What new traditions are you making? Email us at so we can share your great ideas!

National Institutes of Health (NIH) have put together the Planning Your Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic Blog.

Additional links with Celebration ideas:
Together We Carol – Let’s All Sing Out Loud and Clear from Our Front Yards for All to Hear – December 19, at 6pm
You and your neighbors are invited to join us to stay safely connected in joy and community at this special time of the year when we need it the most. Click here to read more . . .

Worship Times 20 Creative Ways to Celebrate Advent in 2020

A person living with Alzheimer’s may feel a special sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes he or she has experienced. At the same time, caregivers may feel overwhelmed by maintaining traditions while providing care and adhering to safety precautions. Go to The Holidays and Alzheimer’s During COVID-19 for more information.

CDC COVID-19 Spread Risk Levels:

◊ Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
◊ More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
◊ Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
◊ Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.


Holiday Ideas

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The Turkey
For Thanksgiving my husband cooks multiple turkey’s every year. It started out with one in the oven and the other in the smoker. People loved the smoker turkey so much we now have two turkeys in the smoker! This year he smoked the turkey’s a few days before the holiday and put together a takeout order for each family member. Our daughter played delivery girl for the local deliveries, and everyone was masked up. She texted when she arrived, opened the back of the car, they came out and got their food and some put new things in, then sent her on her way to the next stop. My other daughter saved some of her Hello Fresh shipment boxes. We recycled them to ship to the family who aren’t local. Then on Thanksgiving day we all met up virtually and ate our meal together. The plus side? We were actually able to celebrate with people who wouldn’t have been able to attend in person regardless. This worked so well we are adjusting for an even better Christmas! – Annemarie Halfpap

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We are going to have Zoom sessions. First, we will have a cocktail hour, we all get together and share a drink and some snacks with good conversation. Then we will get our dinners ready and have a Zoom conversation over dinner. We will go around the rooms asking what we are grateful for, as we have done every year in the past. Then we will take a break and have a final session over dessert, maybe play a game or some other fun activity. –  Julie Ruchniewicz

Keeping Traditions Virtually

Part I – Thanksgiving
Well, holiday plans will indeed be VERY DIFFERENT this year, but that does not mean it can’t still be festive. The reality of the holidays will change both how and who will gather for us here in the Chicagoland area. The big changes:


My local family {sister & her husband, my 98 year old mother who lives in a retirement community and my son, daughter-in-law and twin grandsons who live nearby} will all celebrate in our own homes.

Our mother’s retirement community has asked that families not bring their loved ones to their homes in anticipation of people not adhering to smart celebrations and increasing the chance for an outbreak in the community weeks later. Our Mom will get a meal prepared by my sister and delivered to her place.
We will join each other via What’s App or Zoom

For the extended Durbin Family that lives from the East to West Coast – A Thanksgiving Zoom Dessert Feast
• We will join in an evening dessert celebration with everyone sharing their recipes

• Followed by a competitive Durbin Family Scrabble game {our tech nerd nephews/nieces are in charge of designing that event}

To be continued on the next slide ⇒

Durbin Holiday Plans

Part II – Christmas

  • Gifts and treats will be sent in advance.
    Thank goodness for Wolferman’s where you can find just about any delicious bakery item or treats from various sources
  • and The Abby of Gethsemani
    The Monks make the most fabulous fudge and for anyone who loves fruitcake {one that is actually delicious} they have those too.

We will wait to see how creative we can be but will keep our gathering to 6 or less and with only those who have been in a bubble! – Nancy Durbin

It will also be our first holiday without our 34 year old niece, who we lost to Covid 19 in April. A Champagne toast is scheduled for New Year’s eve in her memory.

Durbin Holiday Plans Part II

My family always play board games when we get together (Sorry! anyone?), so we’re planning to play games online.

We’ll send Christmas gifts ahead of time and open them together over Skype on Christmas Day. – Karen MacDonald

Playing Games

What are you doing for the Holidays?
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Your Ideas