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Spending the Holidays Outside

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Anyone else have a Thanksgiving meal outside this year? Or consider eating Hanukkah latkes in the rain? My family certainly did.

Needless to say, the holidays are a little bit different this year with Covid-19 still terrorizing the world. Aside from the very real fear of getting sick, possibly dying, or passing a deadly virus on to those we love, I think one of the most stressful parts of this virus is trying to figure out what’s safe and what isn’t. Or how much risk you’re willing to take, not only for yourself but for others around you.

It’s like a constant game of probability somewhere between black jack and russian roulette, but we aren’t just pulling the trigger on our own head, we’re pulling it on all the people around us too.

No wonder we’re all fucking stressed!

Guidelines and Mandates

Yes, we have guidelines and government mandates: don’t socialize with people out of your household (except outdoor worship and outdoor recreation is still allowed?), wear a mask at all times in public (unless you’re eating, but also, you probably shouldn’t do that in public much either?), and indoor retail is still OK at reduced capacity (but is also higher risk?).

So…those guidelines aren’t entirely clear. Plus, they completely depend on your local rates of infection and the people making them don’t even follow them

To their credit, having restrictions sucks (even though it’s necessary) and on an emotional level, they aren’t easy to follow in a lot of ways. However, it’s not fair to say, “don’t meet up with your loved ones this holiday season,” and then consider yourself to be above it. It’s the tragedy of the commons.

Meeting Up Outside This Holiday

So, can we meet up with one or two other households this holiday if we’re careful, spend most of the time outside, masked, and socially distanced? Maybe it depends. I’m no expert. But maybe this year is the time to really get the most out of our warmest coats. We can change our Christmas carols to I’m dreaming of a warm Christmas…

One thing’s for sure: we can still send each other pictures of our animals getting into the holiday spirit.

dog wearing santa hat

Ideas For Outdoor Holiday Activities

Having trouble thinking of what to do outside? I have a few ideas!

One caveat: I personally (still not an expert here) wouldn’t recommend having a big gathering with more than a few people or with more than one or two other households. If you can’t keep up with everyone you’re meeting, that’s where I’m personally drawing the line.

Hike or Walk Outside

walking by the water

Be outside. Get some exercise. Wear a mask. Enjoy each other’s company. A great way to spend time with each other if everyone is able.

Sit in the Back Yard or Driveway

Bring your own chair and refreshments, keep a safe distance, and wear a mask (when not eating or drinking). If hiking or walking is too much for anyone in your group, grab a seat, some blankets and jackets, and set up outside your house. Bonus points if it’s in the rain with umbrellas.

Do Crafts Outside

Have a snowperson building competition! Or each bring your own gingerbread house kit to make and decorate. Do something that allows you to keep your distance and wear a mask, but also gives you something to do.

Parking Lot/Driveway Gift Exchange

We all know the true spirit of Christmas is giving and receiving material gifts, right? Well, that can still happen! Have a car get together, deliver gifts to each person’s trunk, then stay by your own car as you watch each other open the gifts. Still keep your mask on though. (Noticing a theme here?)

Do you have any other ways to celebrate the holidays outside?

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