How to Handle Being (Stuck at) Home for the Holidays

By: Hileman Group  | 12/03/2020

As we collectively break the world record for the longest ongoing bout of cabin fever, the holidays are arriving and bringing a little sparkle and shine into our homes. And there’s no perfect year to break some traditions and shake up your usual holiday routines than 2020, when every other routine has gone out the window.

We asked our team some holiday-inspired questions to get a read on what they love watching, eating and doing around this time of year, COVID-19 impacted or not. Maybe it’ll inspire you to watch a new holiday movie, try a different treat or start a novel holiday tradition.

When it comes to holiday viewing, what do you watch?

“Hallmark and Lifetime movies, all the way! The cheesier, the better for me.” – Brittany Hokes

If you’ve never watched a Hallmark or Lifetime holiday movie, you’re truly missing out. Take a strong career woman, a serendipitous moment with a soft-spoken man, place it all in a snowy mountain town and add in a decorating montage for some of the easiest feel-good watching on the face of the earth. If you’re not in a good mood after one of these, try watching the next one with your coziest PJs on and a glass of wine or something. Thaw that heart out.

“Sporting events are always on in our house but during the holidays, every year we have several favorites – some for the adults & some for the kids. ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Home Alone 2,’ ‘Christmas Vacation,’ ‘Love, Actually,’ ‘Elf,’ ‘The Holiday,’ ‘The Polar Express,’ ‘The Grinch,’ ‘Christmas Chronicles’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’” – Annie Timby

Okay, maybe you’ve tried the cheesy movies with the PJs and the wine and the Hallmark movies still aren’t your thing. Annie’s list of the classics hits every type of holiday viewing you could want — comedy, love, family, even the near-murder of a couple burglars (the director’s cut of “Love, Actually” is a wild ride). Or turn on a game. It’s viewing everyone can probably agree on, even if cabin fever has frayed your household’s nerves.

What’s your most favorite or unique holiday tradition?

“My family makes holiday candy (buckeyes, chocolate-covered pretzels, cookies, etc.) together. It is a lot of fun to do and, of course, very tasty to do taste-testing.” – Tom Hileman

If you’re the designated baker in the family, this is the perfect year to get the whole family involved. Or, if you’re usually the taste tester, hop in on the process early and flex your palate—you could suggest add-ins like roasted nuts, peppermint bark, marshmallows and more. And if you’re not from Ohio, buckeyes might not be in your holiday treat repertoire. They’re pretty foolproof to make and definitely worth the calories, so set time aside to try them out.

“Each year, we buy the boys a Christmas ornament that represents a big event in their lives that year. Maybe a personal accomplishment (first year of high school) or a big family trip. Then, when putting the tree up each year, we put those on the tree last and reminisce about why we picked that ornament.” – Brett Colasanti

If your tree looks a little bare, there’s no better way to fill it up than by starting a tradition like Brett’s. And even if the branches point down instead of out, well, the more ornaments, the merrier. This year, you can extend the idea to friends and faraway family as well. Send a meaningful ornament with a card recalling a favorite memory (or a funny one, or an embarrassing one—embarrassing for them of course, not you).

“Every year when the first snow sticks to the ground we watch ‘White Christmas.’ Even though we are all in different places we watch it when it snows in our unique places. We pretty much know the whole movie by heart at this point!” – Kate Penrod

No matter where your family is this holiday season, a tradition like Kate’s can keep you all connected. You can use a feature like Teleparty to watch a Netflix holiday movie together in real-time, even if one of you is poolside in Florida or by the fireplace in Maine. You may have to set aside some odd times depending on your family’s time zones, but who doesn’t want to watch a holiday classic at eight in the morning?

What's one thing you're glad isn't happening this year thanks to COVID-19?

“That is a tossup for me. It is between not having to travel with three kids under 5 and not having to go ice skating. I think I would lean more towards ice skating… it is the worst.” – Kyle Chandler

Believe it or not, there are silver linings to being stuck at home this year. Whether you get a break from traveling with young ones or get to skip out on bumps and bruises from ice skating, you can replace the time with creative and fun activities at home. Make some new decorations with the kids, or clear furniture from your hardwood floor so you can slip and skate around in fuzzy socks. You may still get the bumps and bruises, but at least you’ll be warm.

“Black Friday shopping.” – Angela Ruggeri

Seriously though, does anyone actually enjoy crowded shopping? We were all lying to ourselves about liking Black Friday shopping before COVID-19, right? Regardless, you won’t have to fend off reaching hands or keep a watch over your cart this year. Many retailers will have sales online stretching from Black Friday through Cyber Monday — but take Saturday to shop local. Small Business Saturday is especially important this year as many local retailers are taking a hit due to the pandemic, so if you can, shop small (and be safe if you shop small in person).

The best way to celebrate the holidays at home is…

“With matching pajamas, a warm mug of hot chocolate, the yule log fire burning on the TV, Christmas music in the faint background and a nice breakfast casserole.” – AJ Fisher

You’d be surprised what matching pajamas does for the mind — you’ll feel as put together as putting on jeans does nowadays, except your only responsibility is to relax and enjoy all the holidays have to offer. If you truly want to live out AJ’s ideal holiday vision for yourself, flip through these virtual yule logs, try your hand at a breakfast casserole and make a mug of cocoa with delicious add-ins (AJ’s favorite is peppermint sticks).

“With family!” – Jen Straniero

At the end of the day, family makes the homebound holidays feel merry and bright. Whether you spend them in person or have to join in from far away, connecting with your loved ones over holiday movies, food and fun will feel all the more special this year — savor the celebration, no matter what form it takes.

Be a part of our celebration

For the holidays this year, the safety and good health of our loved ones and communities is certainly the priority. That’s why we’re giving you a way to help communities in need in without leaving your WFH desk—really. Share a photo of your work-from-home setup with the hashtag #WFHolidays to donate five dollars to Cleveland, Nashville and Dallas Food Banks, and we’ll match that donation up to 500 dollars in total contributions for each site. Whether you’ve gone all out with garland around your WFH setup or just want to show off your favorite seasonal sweater, there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than giving to those in need.



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