Celebrating the Winter Holidays in 2020

Published on December 17, 2020

In the final part of our three-part “Holidays in 2020” series, we will explore how we can safely celebrate the winter holidays during the COVID19 pandemic. Winter holidays are (in this author’s humble opinion) the ULTIMATE holiday of holidays, usually we would be gathering with family, chosen family, and friends to exchange food, gifts, and generally enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, 2020 had other plans. This guide will help give you peace of mind as we navigate through the rest of December and into the New Year.

Again, the following information are guidelines we’ve cultivated via the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and others. This guide ABSOLUTELY should not supersede guidelines and mandates set by your local, county, or state officials. Always check the restrictions in your area.

Celebrate the holidays safely and remember that the safest way to celebrate is with the people in your household.

This is probably going to be the toughest time for many people, especially for folx that have elderly parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Which is why now more than ever, clear communication is important to help create a space of understanding and decrease the chance of any hurt feelings or resentment. Here’s what you can do to have the “holiday COVID talk” with family.

  • Be Clear: Say “no” to anything that could increase risk for you or the people you care about. Set these boundaries and try to have everyone in the conversation understand that it’s nothing personal against them but it’s just something we need to have thoughtful consideration about this year. Make sure they know that you’re not just doing what’s best for you and those in your household, but you’re doing what’s best for the folx you care about outside your household as well.


  • Offer Alternatives: Ask if there’s another way to connect! Acknowledge you want to see them and find a different way to experience the holidays together. With today’s technology there are plenty of alternatives to face to face holiday cheer (a lot of which are free!), meet with your loved ones virtually through:
    • Facetime
    • Facebook Video Chat
    • Zoom
    • Google Hangouts
    • Discord
    • Skype

Most cellphones can also do three-way calling, or even start a group text with the folx you would be celebrating with! Share photos and videos with one another. There are many ways we can all stay connected and keep the holiday cheer!


  • Drop off holiday meals for older loved ones and those with medical conditions, so they can stay home. You can even plan a fly-by holiday greeting where your loved ones can still see you from a safe distance as you drive-by! It is like you are giving your elder family members the most loving holiday parade just for them.


  • Be Honest: Remind people that you care about them and need to take precautions this year for everyone’s health. Honesty is always the best policy and being open and communicative with your family members that, may insist, that everything and everyone is okay to gather this holiday will help make sure everyone is on the same page. Let them know that you appreciate them and only want to make sure that everyone can remain healthy! (this can also be a great time to offer and plan out the alternatives listed above).


Remember, our family (chosen or biological) and friends are important to us. Even though 2020 has been a rough year, mentally, physically, and emotionally, it doesn’t mean we can’t find innovative ways to find some resemblance of normalcy this Holiday season. We also need to remember that there are a few things that we shouldn’t be doing during these sensitive times, like:

  • Don’t plan celebrations with multiple households.
  • Make someone feel guilty for not wanting to gather in person.
  • Ridicule someone for wanting to take precautions.
  • Feel pressured to take risks you’re not comfortable with.
  • Forget to be compassionate, even when turning down an invitation.

We hope you found this guide helpful! Remember to stay safe and if you are in crisis, need someone to talk to, or are in need for access to resources in your area, please call or text the California Youth Crisis Line at 800-843-5200 we’re open 24/7 even during the major Holidays.

From everyone at the California Coalition for Youth, have a Happy Holidays!

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