By Madeleine Pearce
The usual signs of winter are all here-- lights, colder weather, hot cocoa, and toasted marshmallows. Between excitement for upcoming traditions and the colorful decorations lining street corners, this time of year can be exciting for the whole family. But with the pandemic still underway, the holidays have not been the same. Large festive parties have been put on hold and six feet of social distancing has replaced friendly touches. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we socialize. Even with social distancing and restrictions for different areas, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the season while staying safe. While you may not be able to attend social gatherings this year, it doesn’t mean the festivities must be stopped! With the new year’s arrival, winter has only just begun, there is still plenty of time to safely celebrate what you’re grateful for with friends and family. This winter season, there are many activities that offer the chance to have a safe and fun time with the people you care about.
Here are just a few ways to get creative and enjoy the winter season with the people closest to you while staying safe!
With school out of session for winter break and plenty of time for your kids to spare, crafts are a fun way to get everyone excited for the new year. Crafts can give your family a chance to get creative and develop new skills together, especially when the weather calls for spending time indoors and away from the cold. Working on projects will offer kids a hands-on activity to do that differs from online class and homework, yet are still pandemic safe. Crafts can be a productive use of time, especially when it’s something the whole family can do together at home while creating precious memories for years to come. Creativity fosters mental growth and can be a vital tool for self-expression at all ages. And by using items from home, you make your craft sustainable, save yourself a trip to the store, and opt-out from plastic store-packaging.
A fun craft to do this winter season with the whole family can be made with something found in your own backyard: pinecones! Lots of crafts can be made with pinecones, each unique in its shape and size. An easy way to spruce up your winter home decor is to make pinecone owls; it only takes a few simple items that you may already have. If your family lives in an area where pine cones are easily found outside, simply collecting them can also be a fun activity with your children. Along with the pinecone, you will need glue, felt, and buttons to create your owl. After collecting the pinecones, dust them off to make them easier to apply glue and felt. Turn the pinecones so that the pointed end is facing upwards. From then on, let your creativity run wild! Use whatever color felt you want, or already have, and cut out eyes, wings, and feet. To add more fun, use buttons for the eyes. Don’t have felt, no worries- you can use leaves or other outdoor findings! Once finished, don’t forget to make sure the glue dries before placing your winter owls around your house.
Looking for another easy DIY craft to leave up all winter long? Try making your own snowflakes with the family. Paper snowflakes are simple to make but it can get your family’s creativity flowing with different designs. All you need are a pair of scissors and plenty of paper to make your perfect snowflake. Simply cut the pieces of paper into circles depending on the size you would like; the bigger the circle, the bigger the snowflake. Next, fold your circle into quarters by folding it down the middle two times. If it looks like a slice of pizza after folding, you’re on the right track! Once your paper is folded, use scissors to cut patterns into the paper. When you’re satisfied with your design, carefully open up your circle to reveal your snowflake! Because it takes only minutes to construct each snowflake, you and your family can easily make as many as you would like. Each can be a unique design just like real snowflakes! If you find yourself with quite a few snowflakes, you can create your own garland. To make the winter decoration, take string and run it across the area where you want to hang your project. Next, gently take each snowflake and tape it along the string. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a creative winter decoration made with help from the whole family!
Back to Baking
Spending time in the kitchen can be a wonderful way to get the whole family together while creating something delicious. Whether you prefer cupcakes or cookies, getting into the holiday spirit is easy when the whole house smells of your favorite sweet treats. Decorating cookies is a loved winter tradition for many friends and families, often complete with sprinkles and colorful frosting. This season, take on baking with your family. Looking for something easy to make? Try baking an apple, pumpkin pie, or any flavor you might want to try. If you have more time on your hands to decorate, cupcakes make a great treat and are fun to frost with kids. And of course, cookies are a year-round dessert staple but the cold weather makes warm cookies just that much more special. There are plenty of options for cookies! Snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookies can be easy to make, while classic sugar or gingerbread cookies are incredibly easy to decorate. With colorful frosting, sprinkles, and quirky cookie cutters, baking cookies is an enjoyable experience and maybe it can become your new family bonding activity if it already isn’t. Baking can also be an educational opportunity for the kids to learn mathematical skills in measuring and adding ingredients while learning patience when waiting for the sweet treats to finish. When it comes to baking, the whole family can learn to work as a team in the kitchen!
Being stuck at home and lack of social connection can be tough, that’s where baking can offer a sense of coziness to your family and those you care about. If you’re someone who loves to share your cooking but is feeling like you can’t due to the pandemic, you can still do it safely by making dessert packages. Sweets with easy portion sizes such as cookies, cupcakes, or tarts come in handy for this task. After baking the desserts you want to share, you can take time to wrap them in festive packages. Once wrapped, you can drop them off with family and friends while keeping socially distant. This season, baking can go beyond the kitchen to help stay safe and spread joy to the people you care about. Getting the whole family involved is an easy bonus!
Plan a Movie Night
What makes a good movie? Maybe it’s full of laughs and crazy characters, or maybe it’s a heartwarming love story with a happy ending. No matter what type of movie you prefer, there’s always a movie with exactly what you’re looking for. While going to the movie theater for the latest blockbuster might be especially difficult this year, watching your favorite movies can be even better from home. This season, planning a movie night can be a fun way to get the whole family together to get into the cozy winter spirit. With plenty of family-friendly movies to choose from, movie night might be an easy way to celebrate the season while bonding over your favorite films. Before starting the movie, check to make sure your family has all the essentials prepared. Popcorn, hot chocolate, and cookies are easy and delicious snacks for a movie night; you can even make your own cookies beforehand to add another family tradition. While snacks are important for a successful movie night, comfort is also key. Create a cozy space to watch your movie with plenty pillows and blankets. Don’t forget to turn off the lights for an experience like the movie theaters!
Thanks to technology, movie nights can be an experience to enjoy with others who live in separate households. With your laptop, phone, or tablet, you can host a movie night for friends and family to all watch the movie together. A social distance movie night can be a fun way to get everyone together while still staying safe. Looking to make the night a little more festive? Make care packages for the night and drop them off or mail them to your guests beforehand. Snacks or even your DIY craft all make great additions for a movie night care package. To get extra creative, try making hot chocolate packages for everyone to enjoy while you watch the movie. All you need for a simple and festive gift are a hot chocolate packet, marshmallows, and a festive mug! With just a few easy items, a movie night with friends and family can be safe while still getting everyone into the winter spirit.
Have a happy and healthy winter season!
Even though the holidays might have looked and felt different this year, this winter season can still be cozy and exciting one with the people you care about. It’s important to have fun and stay positive through this quarantine season. The AllPeople team wishes you a happy and healthy season!
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