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Social distancing Christmas – How to Keep the Christmas Spirit

Social distancing Christmas – How to Keep the Christmas Spirit

After Halloween, so many of us are wondering what Christmas 2020 is going to look like. Here are 10 fun ideas for a social distancing Christmas to keep the Christmas spirit, especially for the kids!

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Socially Distanced Holidays

Now that we’re through the most unusual Halloween in our lifetimes, Christmas is on the radar. We know it’s not exactly going to be a traditional Christmas this year (whatever your traditional is).

Christmas 2020 will have fewer gatherings, new traditions, and possibly even more Christmas festivities than any previous year.

For Halloween, normally we would carve pumpkins, and take our daughter trick-or-treating. That’s usually it. But to make up for her missing her friends and normalcy, we did a lot more Halloween activities, even if they were socially distanced.

I can already see myself going out of my way to plan extra Christmas activities this year. And I know I’m not alone. People are looking for ways to celebrate Christmas that are safe and festive.

For 100 free or practically free Christmas ideas check out this post!

Social Distancing Christmas Ideas

1. Virtual Santa Visit

With some malls entirely closed, and social distancing measures in place everywhere, I can’t see how there is any way to have a visit with Santa in person. Even outdoors, people are supposed to keep 6 feet away from others. So all the kids would be wearing masks, same with Santa, and they’d have to project their little voices so Santa could hear what is on their wish list?

That doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

But I’m all super sentimental about visiting Santa and Miss O has had a Santa visit every year since she was born (with different levels of enthusiasm for the experience lol).

A woman in my Work-from-Home Mom facebook group (you can request to join the group here) let me know about her awesome initiative of virtual Santa visits and stories with Mrs. Claus. I took a look at the site and the next day signed up a virtual Santa visit for Miss O.

Something else I love about this site is they donate a portion of each booking to one of three charities (you pick the charity when you book the Santa visit).

They book chats from November 1st to December 23rd. You can choose a video chat from Santa or a 10-minute storytime experience with Mrs. Claus (which I’m considering booking as well!)

If you’re interested in more information about Santa chats and stories with Mrs. Claus, find out more here. Prices go up the later into the holiday season you book.

2. Santa Claus Costume

I anticipate many more dads playing Santa Claus this year.

Just like the first social distancing Christmas idea, Santa costumes will let you continue the tradition of Santa pictures with your kids, albeit in a different way.

If someone in your family is going to play Santa this year, I’d suggest you snag your favorite Santa suit, as stock is sure to go down as it gets closer to December 25th.

3. Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Bring out your inner lumberjack! Put on that plaid shirt and go and cut down your own tree.

Most years we are pretty last minute with getting a Christmas tree. At around December 23rd we go to the Ikea Forest (aka Ikea parking lot) and pick out a tree that invariably looks seven times bigger after you bring it inside.

We won’t be going that this year.

Instead of visiting a busy tree lot in a parking lot of Ikea or a home hardware or grocery store, why not cut down your own Christmas tree?

To assuage my highly sensitive person feelings of guilt for cutting down a tree for such a limited time, we keep up our tree until Valentine’s Day. For realz. We just keep watering it and make sure it doesn’t dry out. I love having the Christmas tree smell in our house for longer.

To find a real Christmas tree lot or farm near you, check out this interactive map.

4. Pet Christmas Costumes

Poor cats everywhere. They have no clue what’s coming for them in this social distancing Christmas 2020.

I predict more adorable Christmas outfits for cats (like this) and dogs (like this). (I don’t feel sorry for dogs because they don’t seem to have disdain for costumes like cats do).

When my cat Bunny was alive, she would be Santa, and my other cat Mouse would be an elf (Mouse has this exact costume, Bunny’s was similar to this).

Our festive Christmas feelings need an outlet, and I think some people will channel part of that this year to their pets.

5. Social Distancing Christmas Donations Online

Many people volunteer this time of year at soup kitchens, or donate Christmas hampers to families who need them. The pandemic has put a damper on volunteering as well, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of ways to contribute to those who have less as the holiday season approaches. There is more need than ever this year, with the severe impacts of the coronavirus in this country and around the world.

Include your kids in the discussion and let them have a say in what you pick as a family.

Here are some ways you can donate online this year:

The Salvation Army


Feed the Children– This is a charity I have been donating to for years. At Christmas we always go through the catalogue and pick something. Once Miss O was 2 ½ I started including her in the decisions. She obviously couldn’t understand what we were doing really, but started to understand that not everyone has the toys she has, and would ask questions about the kids in the photos.

United Way


6. Best Christmas Movies

Watching movies with the family is a super safe social distancing Christmas activity.

Some of these Christmas movies are perfect for watching with the kids, and others are better for after the kids have gone to bed!


The Polar Express

A Charlie Brown Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Home Alone (by the way, McCauley Culkin is now 40 – Aaaaaaaaah!)

The Muppet’s Christmas Carol


The Knight before Christmas

A Christmas Prince

The Princess Switch

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Love Actually

Holiday in the Wild

Let It Snow

The Nightmare before Christmas

The Holiday

Aaaand, not so family-friendly but for some people this is a Christmas classic – Die Hard

For a free trial of Amazon Prime so you can watch lots of Christmas movies, go here

7. Christmas Books for Kids

There are so many fantastic Christmas books for kids from traditional to silly, where to start? Let’s start with 5 More Sleeps ‘til Christmas, the new kids’ book by Jimmy Fallon. My mom is mailing this book for Miss O to open before Christmas. Libraries are completely closed in our city right now (so sad!!), so I’m extra grateful for new books to read.

Other favorite and bestseller Christmas books for children:

Babies Love Christmas: Lift-a-Flap Board Book

The Night Before Christmas Hardcover: The Classic Edition

Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Santa’s Underwear

Construction Site on Christmas Night

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Snowy Hide & Seek: A Finger Trail Lift-the-Flap Book

The Crayons’ Christmas

Never Let A Unicorn Meet A Reindeer!

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

Disney Christmas Storybook Collection

Little Red Sleigh

Santa’s Workshop: Christmas Lift-a-Flap Board Book

Polar Express 30th anniversary edition 

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad – A Little Critter Book

The Spider Who Saved Christmas

Frozen Olaf’s Night Before Christmas Book & CD

The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scratch & Sniff Story)

And if you’re embracing all the changes we’re all experiencing, you might want to check out A Very Corona Christmas: Santa Stays Home

Something else I picked up for Miss O this year involves 24 books! We do advent calendars, the typical chocolate ones. This year I got her this Disney Christmas stories advent calendar as something special. It comes with 24 full-length books. It already arrived and is stashed away in my closet and the thing is huge! Probably three times the size of a regular advent calendar. She’s going to love it and I love the idea of reading her a new Christmas book every day.

If your family is into advent calendars, you can find the Disney book calendar here.

8. Christmas Baking

This Christmas tradition will hold up in social distancing times.

Some of our favorite Christmas baking recipes are:

I also love some of the classic Christmas cookie recipes that I would help my mom make every year like chocolate crinkle cookies, Russian tea cakes, and those Hershey kisses cookies – yum!

9. Social Distancing Christmas Decorations – Griswold-Style

Just like people did with Halloween decorations this year, I bet more people will be going big this year with their Christmas decor. Think Griswold’s light displays and more blow-up lawn Santas than ever.

This stuff is kid nirvana, and while pre-kid me would have found those diplays a bit too, just too, for my tastes, with a preschooler and an epidemic, I am all in.

Sign me up Amazon for your blow up Christmas decorations, I’m a convert.

This inflatable Santa is a bestseller, but I love this inflatable Nutcracker soldier, and I know Miss O would adore this polar bear with shaking head. These inflatable penguins and snowman are cute too.

10. Start a New Active Christmas Tradition

Christmas usually involves big feasts with family. And we can still plan delicious Christmas dinners and desserts, but for most of us, they will be for much fewer people. This means less to cook, less time in the kitchen prepping, cooking, and cleaning up.

It will be easy to feel like something is missing on Christmas Day, because a lot of us will be missing extended family members. As grateful as I am for Zoom, it’s nowhere near the same as in-person visits, especially on holidays.

Why not fill this void with something positive on Christmas Day?

I knew a family that had this lovely active Christmas Day tradition. After getting up, they would open gifts, and have breakfast together. Then the whole family would go out for a couple of hours to cross country ski. I LOVE this idea! They got in some exercise and fresh air together as a family, before their big Christmas dinner.

Whatever your level of outdoorsiness, do something with your family. Walk, bike (for those of you who don’t have snow or bike in the snow!), or go for a ski. Just like how bikes were flying off the shelves this summer as people were looking for a new pandemic hobby, people that have never tried cross country skiing are picking them up.

These kids’ skis are for the littlest skiers, and they can fit right over whatever winter boots they already have. It’s great to start them young on getting comfortable with the outdoors and what better way than this sweet Christmas Day tradition.

For virtual birthday party ideas that kids will love, check out this post

⇓  Pin these social distancing Christmas ideas to save for later  ⇓

10 Social distancing Christmas ideas - Santa Claus with a mask on

What ideas do you have for a social distancing Christmas?

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Barbara at Mantel and Table

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Fabulous ideas! Thanks for gathering these all in one place. I don't have any children at home anymore, but I'd like to try a lot of these just for myself! :) So glad I found your blog from Linda and Theresa's Anything Goes Christmas Link Party. Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday 26th of November 2020

Hi Barbara! Yay, glad you like these social distancing Christmas ideas! They're not just for kids - you should totally try some for yourself. We're getting into Christmas early over here - we hung our stockings up yesterday. lol Thanks for dropping by :)


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Great ideas! While this year will probably look different for most, I hope we can still find ways to be connected with our loved ones and reason for the season. Thanks for sharing these ideas. Have a great day Suchot!


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Thank you :) I'm sure over the summer most of us never expected to be thinking about a social distancing Christmas. We're on lockdown where we live so I'm sure I'll be putting lots of these ideas to use. Have a great day too Marielle! xx

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