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Family decorating surgical face masks for the holidays.

Safe and Festive Family Celebrations

This is the time of year where under normal circumstances, family gatherings are anticipated with great excitement. For us, we not only have the holidays, but we have our daughter’s 13th birthday to celebrate. COVID certainly altered my party planning. Our excitement began to look and feel like riding an anxiety train.

We decided to get off that train! Despite the circumstances of a party pooper pandemic, we realized we could still create memories for our family and keep us safe.

While the way everyone decides to celebrate the holidays, this year may look different than it has in the past, we find the heart behind it remains the same.

Here are a few creative ways we came up with to celebrate safely during the holidays and beyond:

  • Instead of an ugly sweater party, host a virtual “ugly mask” decorating contest.
  • Start a drive-by car parade. Call friends and family and ask them to decorate their cars and form a parade. Let an isolated loved one know you will be driving by their home. Have the lucky recipient stand outside as their loved ones drive by and send them some socially distanced love. Be sure to take pictures.
  • Organize a DIY paint night. Gather art materials from a local craft store. We have found free step-by-step tutorials online. Have a few friends join in virtually and paint together.
  • If the weather permits, host an outdoor movie night. Ask everyone to bring their own chairs and snacks. Space families at least 6 feet apart. Make sure to stay within your state’s COVID-19 guidelines, which restrict the number of people who can gather socially.
  • Find a local drive-in movie theater.
  • Many cities have maps of homes with holiday lights. Map out a driving route. Load the family in the car in holiday pajamas, swing by your local coffee shop drive-thru for treats, turn on festive music, and enjoy the journey.

Visit to find out what safe activities continue to happen in your area. We’d love to hear what you did or are doing to keep your family safe and still have fun celebrating.

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden

Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 17 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs with the Department of Education. Both enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for over a decade. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy teen. The Walden's have a passion for working with children and married couples.