We all know this year’s holidays will look a little different. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate with your nearest and dearest! All you need to make your intimate family gathering more fun and safe this Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa is a little creativity. 

Organize a recipe swap

Can’t imagine a holiday meal without your uncle’s famous turkey and dressing or your cousin’s coconut pound cake? Organize a recipe swap so that everyone can still enjoy their favorite family dishes! Have everyone send you their best-loved holiday recipe, then send them out to the whole family. You can make it as easy as compiling them into a group email, or go all out and collect the recipes in a family cookbook using CreateMyCookbook, Heritage Cookbook, or Shutterfly. It’s a great holiday gift and a great way to ensure traditional family recipes don’t get lost to time (or your grandmother’s bad handwriting). 

Host a Holiday Happy Hour

If you’re getting together in person, whip up a batch of celebratory cocktails to keep the family entertained while they wait for the main course. But what if you’re scattered across the country — or even the globe? You can still enjoy a holiday happy hour via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Houseparty, or one of many other video chat services. Toast with whatever you have on hand, or up the ante by teaching a holiday-themed cocktail class! Pick a drink that you think will be a crowd-pleaser (preferably one that’s just as delicious without alcohol for non-drinkers), send everyone a list of ingredients a week or two ahead of time, practice your presentation, then hop online and show everyone how to mix it up. If you need drink ideas, check out our recent roundup of seasonal cocktails.

Eat a meal together – even from afar

Preparing a big holiday meal can be messy and hectic. So, we recommend that you keep your eyes on the cutting board and your meal prep offline. (Although it’s always a good idea to have the family chef on speed dial.) But when the food is ready, gather around the table with in-person and virtual friends and family alike!  

Ibotta Saver tip: Don’t forget to dress for dinner! Even a virtual holiday meal is a great excuse to get out of the loungewear you’ve been living in. Or, go in the opposite direction and ask everyone to wear their favorite holiday-themed PJs or ugly sweaters! Whatever the dress code, you’ll earn cash back when you shop for fashion at retailers like Kohls.com, Banana Republic, Gap, ModCloth, Belk, and more with the Ibotta mobile app or the Ibotta browser extension for Chrome.

Enjoy fun and festivities

There are plenty of post-dinner activities that you can do in-person or online. If your family has a favorite holiday poem or story, pick someone to read it aloud. (You can even record it for posterity.) For Thanksgiving, we love the time-honored tradition of sharing what each person is thankful for. Or, if you’re celebrating in December, each person could come prepared to share their New Year’s resolution! There are also loads of games you can play together online, from classics like BINGO and Pictionary to newcomers like Codenames and Quiplash. When you’re all gamed out, screenshare the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or a favorite holiday film. Most importantly, don’t forget to carve out time for a nap! You earned it.


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