Now that the abnormal holiday season has arrived, many of us have hunkered down into our cozy abodes, even more so, than we were before. As riveting as binge watching Christmas movies can be, the looming effects of the pandemic are hard to ignore. In an era where group gatherings are frowned upon, cheer can be very few and far between every holiday interaction. So before it’s all said and done, we hoped to provide you with 11 things to do while travel is shut down.
Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Holiday Options.
Although it is a disheartening thing to miss out on annual events around town and family traditions, not all businesses have completely closed up shop in 2020. Sure, restrictions and mask mandates can be seen as a bummer, but it doesn’t have to steal your holiday cheer. If you’re not rattled by the Coronavirus, then it might be worth it to see what types of accommodations have been made for health and safety.
You can’t just assume everything is closed or that it couldn’t be another memorable experience. While every city is different, we were surprised to see a number of haunted houses open for Halloween. Even food banks found a way to serve this past Thanksgiving. Needless to say, if you’re looking for anything to do this holiday season, you’re bound to find something that’ll help you find joy.
Nothing Short of Joy Is Always Found in Giving.
At the end of the day, the worst thing you can do is sulk in the misery of the past few months. Even if you’ve lost a tenured job, or a loved one for that matter, you can always find a way to improve yourself or bless someone else. Somebody out there understands your pain. Being informed and proactive, instead of simply disappointed, can spread the hope many are missing this Christmas.
Finding Something to do During Shutdowns After the New Year is Important.
Since March of this year, millions of people have found themselves in hopeless situations that have unexpectedly taken them hostage. It’s not fair but there’s only one way up. If they can continue to claw forward despite their circumstances, they won’t fall victim to the levels of uncertainty right now.
While the entirety of 2020 has been quite overwhelming, it would be good for many of us to stop and smell the roses for once – even if the ground is covered in snow. There’s no need to let the year fizzle like the past 8 months have. With that being said, here are 11 ways to enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down.
1. Reinvent Your Annual Vacation.
One of the biggest excuses for a “lame time” this holiday season has been the cancellation of vacation plans. We get it – escaping your permanent habitat is why you purchased the trip in the first place. But it doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make the most of it. If your family travels to the beach every year, then try to reinvent some of the elements of your vacation at home. The sounds of waves crashing on your speakers can be soothing in itself.”
While it may seem cheesy to create a beach or cabin theme in your house, it doesn’t have to be a princess party for 12 six year old girls. You could use couch cushions to create ski slopes or have sand delivered to your backyard if you wanted to. Rock climbing walls, trampolines and water hoses have been known to also result in historically epic moments as well.
Either way, doing anything is better than nothing. Some of the simple vacation moments can be easy to recreate on your own. If there are certain activities that usually take place (dinner dates, game nights, etc..) it’s not hard to continue the tradition. Ask yourselves what the best part of your trips are and try to remember them in a new way while you have the time to do so together.
2. A Surprise Family Reunion At Grandma’s!
Involving your grandparents is probably one of the best ways to enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down. Many of us can’t remember the last time most of our relatives were home during the holidays. Some states aren’t even allowing gatherings with family. So, it’s more reason to round everyone up for a virtual Christmas at grandmas.
You can send baked goods or have everyone prepare similar recipes to see how everything turns out. With all of the technology available today, nearly anyone can stream an even straight from their living room and invite people to join them. Helping grandma set something up like this may not only make her year, but help everyone stay connected once 2021 gets underway.
3. Explore the Outdoors This Year.
Although this might be more appealing to those in our neck of the woods (in Arizona), getting outside is one of the best things you can do right now. Developing an unenjoyable routine or unproductive habits can be difficult to break over time. Many of you probably aren’t interested in backpacking or canoeing this winter. But scheduling regular walks, bike rides or even car expeditions can be all of the breath of fresh air you really need.
For those of you with more of an adventurous spirit, there are tons of ways to explore the outdoors right now without many limitations. While it might be difficult to find camping spots during the pandemic, there are a number of ways to find peace in the outdoors and enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down. Even a backyard campout in the middle of winter with a heater from Amazon can be a lot of fun.
4. Get Going On Your Next Vacation.
The thought of broken plans can be maddening. But you don’t have to wallow in it. In fact, one of the best things you can do when grounded is improve your knowledge of destination cities or locations that intrigue you. Better understanding local transportation options or learning from the experiences can really help you improve yours. If you’re bummed about a cancelled trip to Paris, then revisit the itinerary to make the next trip even better! Sometimes you might even change your mind altogether.
Virtually gathering with friends or family members to plan a future trip is also another way to enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down. After enduring a restricted lifestyle for nearly a year, most of us can say we’re due for a vacation – or two. While it may be difficult for everyone to afford something like this, a group escape is easily feasible. In fact, you could probably find a large cabin or beach house a few months out for a great deal right now.
Use the uncertainty to your advantage even if one party has to carry a little of the weight. Planning a trip together not only provides the quality interactions we’ve missed out on but it allows us to sustain relationships during potential hardship.
5. Virtually Watch Events Or Create Your Own.
When you can’t be with loved ones during the holidays, some of the little things can be dejecting. If you’re used to grandchildren running through the house during the Macy’s day parade or college football bowl games, then it can be difficult to keep them on the television. It’s easy to feel forgotten when drastic change occurs to all.
If you’re alone this holiday season, then why not invite someone to virtually tune in with you? Whether you’re discussing the event on the phone, chat or video conference, the company can be comforting. Although it may be daunting to ask, they could have a similar desire. It may even lead to further discussions that strengthen bonds.
If you’ve always been big on parades and disappointed by local cancellations, then create your own parade. In Arizona, a number of neighborhoods get together to decorate their cars, ATVs and buggies during Christmas. Some even have neighborhood light themes and shows. Participating in grassroots stuff like this can really help you enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down.
6. Choreograph a Holiday Giving Event.
Like we mentioned before, one of the best ways to find contentment this time of year is through giving. Even if you don’t have much to give this year, giving time or an ear can do wonders for someone’s life. We all know of a time in our lives when we wish we had a helping hand. Gathering the family or getting friends together to brainstorm is a good way to come up with a good cause. When everyone has a role and works together, everyone is giving equally – no matter what you have to your name.
7. Bake Something For the Neighbors.
Giving doesn’t always have to involve the needy or some sort of charity. Sometimes, it provides us with an opportunity to develop new relationships or simply spread kindness. Making some holiday goodies for people in your neighborhood can be a good way to shine some light in a home that may have gotten a little gloomy the past few months.
Since everyone tends to approach COVID in a different manner, it would be good to drop off a menu before baking to see who is interested. The last thing you want to do is cause someone to believe you’ve contaminated their home. Websites like NextDoor also provide neighbors with unique ways to communicate with one another. You never know, you might start a neighborhood trend.
8. Find a Hobby or Develop a New Skill.
The bustle of the holiday season is something that many Americans enjoy. But for some, it’s not all that great. When you think about it, the tranquility of this year’s Christmas was probably a breath of fresh air in itself to some. But escaping the chaos of life isn’t always a good thing. So if you’ve found yourself getting sluggish, then it might be a good idea to learn something new.
In a time where it’s easy to complain and moan about circumstance, opportunities await all of us. We can either succumb to the news, social media or our favorite TV series, or we can come out of lockdowns improved. You could learn a new language, pass a technical course, read a few books or even start your own business by setting aside some time every day.
9. Save Your Vacation Days.
If you’re somewhat stranded this holiday season while travel is shut down, then your options can be rather limited. In places where American citizens aren’t even allowed to be with family members, staying busy is crucial. Some have decided to hunker down and make as much money as they can while they’re opportunities are limited – taking control of their own destiny if you will.
It may be tempting to take time off and entertain yourself freely to pass the time, but could you afford to save your vacation days? While working may not seem appealing, will entertaining yourself be fulfilling? If your employer allows you to roll over vacation days (because of travel restrictions) then why not wait until your options are abundant? You could even take on a second job and start saving for a real escape in the future.
10. Implement Household Saving Plans.
Speaking of savings plans, lockdowns have given households a tremendous opportunity to reorganize their lives or even get things in order. Whether it be responsibilities or even relationships, many environments have improved due to close proximity. Although this has also had an adverse effect on some homes, the holidays can be a good time to start rebuilding bridges.
Creating united goals, like saving for a family trip, is a good way to strengthen the household while you wait for the economy to reopen. The extra time that couples have together could even be spent discussing spending habits and developing budgets that help them improve their quality of life. Those with teenagers could even spend quality time explaining things like this to prepare their kids for life on their own.
11. Spend Quality Time With People.
No matter how 2020 has treated you personally, it’s important that you don’t give up hope or your ability to supply it. While it may be difficult to find a way to enjoy the holidays while travel is shut down and you’re alone, millions of people know how you feel. In today’s world of interconnectivity, it’s not very hard to find quality conversations.
If you’ve grown distant with family or past relationships, use the time you have to reconnect and rekindle things. Waiting for the dark cloud of COVID to pass while staring at a screen in isolation isn’t going to provide much relief. No matter how devastating this year may have been for you, we all have something to be thankful for.
The Bummer of Timesharing During 2020 & Beyond.
Those of you that own a timeshare are more than likely experiencing a little remorse this holiday season. Although the idea of canceling your obligations can be nerve wrecking, we want you to know we’re here to listen. At VOC, we don’t believe in aggressive tactics that pressure vacation owners to act now. If you’re worried about the future of your interval, we’d be more than happy to discuss your options over a free consultation.