Gathering for the Holidays – In a Time of Non-Gathering

** Please follow current state recommendations when gathering this holiday season. **

2020 has been, frankly, an extremely challenging year. 12 months ago, no one wore a mask, elbow bumps weren’t a thing, and social distancing wasn’t even in our vocabulary. We couldn’t imagine that our lives were going to change like this, but we can all say that our connection with those that we love is more valuable than ever. As we enter the holiday season, how do we connect with family and friends, even as we remain in our separate bubbles?

Here’s a run down of ideas for togetherness during this unsafe time: 

If you’re getting together:

Gather outdoors, even as the weather becomes more volatile.

Spaces like garages, outdoor tents, and fire pits can be made cozy with lap blankets, while keeping guests more spaced apart. Plus, it’s a great excuse to enjoy hot cider, hot cocoa, or even hot toddies around the bonfire with your loved ones!

Make sure your guests feel safe in your space. 

Provide extra masks, if needed, and hand sanitizer at commonly used spaces, such as the bar or coffee table. Another precaution to consider is to have a single person serving shared dishes to avoid touching the same surfaces.

Consider your travel possibilities. 

If at all possible, drive to your destination. This reduces unnecessary interactions with other people. Make an itinerary, and perhaps a picnic basket, so that you’re able to best protect yourself and your family.

If you’re staying safe at home:

Meet, but in separate homes. 

Zoom fatigue is most definitely a thing – but it’s worth mustering through to connect with faraway family. Make it a holiday season festival of gatherings – maybe Grandma can walk everyone through a family recipe with a Thanksgiving virtual cooking demo, or you can challenge separate households to a caroling competition, or open Secret Santa gifts virtually.  

Letter-writing campaign 

Between the sourdough bread starter fad and a rise in canning projects, 2020 has shown us that old school can be best. Instead of sending out cards this year, perhaps switch to stationary and send out heart-felt letters to the important people in your life. A handwritten letter can change someone’s day, week or even their entire season – and you might be able to develop a deeper connection, while remaining physically apart. 

Check in on neighbors. 

The holidays can be difficult, and having to spend them apart from those you love makes it even more so. Spread joy to your community – whether it’s a mason jar full of homemade applesauce, or even just a quick check in. 

However you’re safely gathering, myself and the entire team at Taste the Local Difference wish you a joyous and safe season of togetherness! 

Claire Butler is a Communications Coordinator with Taste the Local Difference, and also spends her weekdays as a student at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute

Another way to Gather within your household is to join in for our free virtual screening of the film, Gather, Sunday, 11/22 at 6pm. Register Here!