With Thanksgiving behind us, the last of the winter holidays are almost here. With the holiday season comes another round of restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. As experts warn people not to gather with family to celebrate, people aren’t happy. However, many are doing whatever they can to salvage the remainder of the holiday season.

How People Are Handling a Pandemic Christmas and Holiday Season

People are cozying up to their fireplaces

Heat is exceptionally healing. Knowing this, people have taken hot baths to aid in relaxation for centuries. People routinely soak in hot springs, hot tubs, jacuzzis, bathtubs, and even Japanese soaking tubs (Ofuro) set to a high detoxing temperature.

Some people prefer not to submerge their bodies in hot water and instead choose to watch the flickering flames of a fire. For those lucky enough to have a modern fireplace design, relaxing in front of the fire is often a whole family event. Even pets love lying in front of a warm fireplace or wood stove.

While heat touching the skin has healing properties, there’s also a psychological component to that healing. For instance, watching a fire in a movie is soothing even when you can’t feel the warmth. Perhaps the memory of a warm fire makes it easier to recall what that warmth feels like. Either way, sitting in front of a fire is a great way to relax and unwind.

The fire doesn’t need to be real to be enjoyable. Many people are cozying up to fake fires. For example, former Colorado state senator Linda Newell recently shared that she’s been watching a fire on T.V. to relax.

People are decorating like never before

Lights, Christmas trees, and crazy lawn decorations have always been part of a traditional American holiday season. However, now that some families are choosing not to gather with people outside of their household, they’re taking decorating to a new level.

One woman who lost both of her parents recently decided to go with elaborate decorations including a memory tree adorned with handmade ornaments in honor of all the people she’s lost this year. Her memory tree isn’t just for her. She’s got blank ornaments on the tree so other people passing by can commemorate their loved ones as well.

Europe is getting festive, too

Europe is just coming out of another major wave of COVID-19 and many countries are still locked down with tight restrictions. Bars, restaurants, hotels, and pubs are closed in many areas until at least mid-January 2021. However, some winter activities are still available, albeit limited. For instance, Austria’s ski resorts are open for the holidays, but only to locals since hotels are closed.

Like the U.S., Europeans are being advised not to congregate with other households for the holidays. Some people don’t have a choice. For instance, in Denmark, people are only allowed to see their closest family members on Christmas and New Year’s Eve and may only have a maximum of ten social contacts over the Christmas holiday period.

Travelers won’t be having much fun over the holidays

This holiday season isn’t going to be fun for travelers. Many countries now require travelers to quarantine upon entry into the country for up to fourteen days. That means travelers would need to arrive two weeks ahead of schedule and pay for a hotel for two weeks. For most travelers, the cost puts holiday traveling out of reach.

According to kayak.com, as of December 16, 2020, there are 49 countries that are not allowing travelers to enter the country. There are 123 countries partially open, but with mandatory quarantine requirements. These countries include Belgium, Greece, and Austria.

Celebrate safely, however, whenever, and wherever you can

With so many restrictions in place, the best way to enjoy this holiday season is to celebrate however you can from wherever you are. Safety concerns aside, you probably shouldn’t travel if you want to have a stress-free holiday. However, if you have to see family, it might be worth the added stress if you can find ways to chill out.

There isn’t much time left in 2020, so enjoy the holidays, even if you only get to see a few people. Make those moments and memories count.