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Celebrating a COVID-Safe Holiday

The holidays look a lot different this year for many of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate. Whether you’re Zooming with your relatives on Christmas morning or stocking up on champagne for a living room countdown to midnight on New Years, there are plenty of ways to still be festive and get into the holiday spirit this year, and if you’re feeling strapped for ideas, we’ve got a few for you. 

See the Lights

In absence of traveling for the holidays, many throughout Colorado are compensating by making their homes as festive as they possibly can. In addition to the people who decorate like this year after year, it’s made for some truly impressive home holiday displays. Bundle the kids into the car and take a drive around your neighborhood to look at the lights. If you’d like to be truly impressed, you can even check out some of the amazing winter light displays throughout the state. The Denver Botanic Gardens has once again decked their grounds out to impress with Blossoms of Light, the annual outdoor lights display that takes you through meandering paths and amazing, colorful lights everywhere you turn. It’s outdoors, and capacity is limited this year for safety, but if you’d rather not interact with the public, you could also drive through Christmas in Color, located at WaterWorld in Denver, where you’ll find millions of synchronized light displays set to music you can play right through your car radio as you drive through the brightly lit pathways. Another amazing light display includes the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s annual Electric Safari, where you’ll find lights shaped like some of the zoo’s most exotic residents, as well as the Mile High Tree in downtown Denver. But don’t stop there—there are small towns all throughout the state that go wild for the holidays, and there’s nothing quite like seeing your hometown lit up in a whole new light this time of year.

Ice Castles

One fantastic way to see the lights in an interactive, completely unique way is to visit the Dillon Ice Castles. Each year, the Ice Castles are built using hundreds of thousands of hand-places icicles to create rooms and tunnels and slides for guests to wander through and play on. It’s a fantastic experience during the day, but the real magic happens when the sun goes down and the castles are lit from within, with an eerily beautiful glow of lights. This year, the Ice Castles are taking precautions for the pandemic by making sure to sanitize high-traffic areas, limit capacity, and creating one-way traffic flows. But the outdoor, open-air experience is relatively safe, and incredibly beautiful, so grab some tickets for you and your household if you’re looking for something that will truly wow you over the holidays.

Baking Holiday Treats

What better way to prepare for Santa’s arrival than by making him his own batch of cookies? Baking with your household can be a fun bonding experience, and if you have some supplies for decorating those cookies, it can be a great way to express creativity as well. Make some cookies—and let’s face it, probably a mess, too—this holiday season for a sweet treat and a fun time. 

holiday baking

Sledding, Tubing, and Playing Outside

In case you missed it, this is Colorado, and one thing we’ve got plenty of are hills. This time of year, they’re covered in snow, which means they’re a prime target for some epic sledding. Bundle up and get outside. Whether you go to a designated sledding hill like the Frisco Tubing Hill, High Country Tubing Park in Pagosa Springs, or Howelson Hill in Steamboat Springs, or you find your own in your neighborhood park, sledding and tubing are one of the most exhilarating ways to spend a day, no matter how old you are.

Take some time to play in the snow this holiday season, whether you’re racing down that hill or holding a snowman-building competition in your backyard. Throw a snowball at a loved one, and make snow angels and build igloos until you’re red in the face with laughter and full of new memories that will last you a lifetime.

Perfecting Your Hot Cocoa Recipe

We’ve listed a lot of outdoor activities, and this time of year, that means you’ll most likely be facing some brisk temperatures, and probably more than a little bit of snow. So when you get home and finish removing all your layers of jackets and scarves, what better way to warm up than with a hot beverage? 

Yeah, you could go for that tub of Swiss Miss at King Soopers, but if you’re feeling extra fancy, spend this holiday season creating the perfect cup of hot cocoa, whatever that means to you. Maybe you could use real chocolate, melted slowly on the stovetop in a pot of milk, or maybe you want to switch it up and use coconut milk or a non-dairy alternative with some high-quality dark chocolate for a vegan twist. You can make your own hot cocoa mix from cocoa powder and sugar to use all winter whenever you need a special treat. You could add some vanilla or peppermint extract (or peppermint schnapps!), make your own whipped cream, or add a dash of chile powder for a little extra kick. Whatever you do, make it your own, and if you live with your family or have roommates, turn it into an event. Believe us, none of you will regret it. 

And if spending time in the kitchen isn’t your thing, you could always support a local cafe by sampling their hot cocoa this holiday season! 

Curl Up for a Cozy Movie Night at Home

Okay yeah, we’re sure you’ve had a lot of these already in 2020—there are only so many things to do when you’re stuck at home for nine months, after all. But that doesn’t mean a movie night with the people in your household can’t be a special occasion. It’s all about setting that intention. Select a film, and get your living room set up for an epic night of movie-watching by creating a blanket fort, building a nest of pillows and cozy blankets, or setting up a projector screen on a wall or a hung sheet. Plan some snacks for the group, whether it’s a variety of flavored popcorn you all make together, a selection of candy, or an array of finger foods and appetizers to munch on. Gather everyone together and enjoy some time together, maybe with those Christmas lights twinkling in the background to set some mood lighting. Whatever you do, you’ll be doing it together, and that’s what counts.

Family Game Night

When shopping for your loved ones this year, consider putting some board games under the tree. Games and activities are a great way to bond with your family or roommates, and having a big family game night can be a really fun tradition around the holidays that allow you all to slow down, put down those phones, and really spend time with one another. Do you and your family love strategy games that make you think? Or are you more into party games that let you be silly and laugh together? There are board games out there that will help your kids improve their math skills, or learn more about other cultures. You could even get into some tabletop RPG games like Dungeons & Dragons, which allows everyone to create their own characters and have adventures limited only by their imaginations—and the roll of the dice, of course.

family game night

HO-HO-HOping for a Better New Year

2020 is almost over (FINALLY!), but winter is just beginning. We hope that these holiday activities will help you shake off the funk of an unbelievably long year and look ahead to the new one with hope. We all owe it to ourselves to try and enjoy the holidays, this year especially. Because the only thing you should be spreading this season is holiday spirit—not the virus.