Finalists have been selected for the Franklin Street Mural Project! VOTE for your favorite here!

 Finalists have been selected for the Franklin Street Mural Project! VOTE for your favorite here!

 Finalists have been selected for the Franklin Street Mural Project! VOTE for your favorite here!

 Finalists have been selected for the Franklin Street Mural Project! VOTE for your favorite here!

Hosting Hacks for the 2020 Holiday Season

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Hosting Hacks for the 2020 Holiday Season

Posted on November 23, 2020 by Lisa Willwerth

Hosting holiday get-togethers are going to be a bit different this year. With a little creativity and flexibility, you can still host a fun and festive, COVID-free holiday gathering. Below, we have compiled some virtual and outdoor options for you to consider this year.

The holiday season is always a busy time for host/hostesses while planning their holiday gatherings. This year, however, party planners have the added task of determining how to spread cheer without spreading COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the number of positive Coronavirus cases has increased throughout the country, and small gatherings are a big contributor to this issue. Consider how you can modify your typical holiday party plans to keep your loved ones safe this year. With a little creativity and a lot of social distancing, you can still host a festive holiday gathering that will leave your friends and family feeling happy and healthy!

Below, we have compiled a few ideas to help you plan a safe celebration and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For Those Celebrating Virtually:

As case numbers rise nation-wide, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) strongly encourages citizens to celebrate the holidays virtually with family members and friends who live outside of their household. In-person gatherings can pose varying levels of risk, depending on the situation. Virtual celebrations encourage connection while minimizing the risk of exposure. Here are some ideas for different ways that you can celebrate virtually this holiday season:

Secret Santa:

Host a virtual secret Santa party this year! Use a website like Draw Names to organize your event by inputting guests’ email addresses, which will send them all an invitation to their inbox. Each guest should then click on the link in their invitation email to join the group and create a wish list. Once everyone completes this process, they will all receive an email prompting them to draw a name. Secret Santa’s can either mail/ship gifts directly to their person’s home, or secretly drop it off without getting spotted.

A great way to support local virtually this year is to give an Ephrata Local eGift Card! Purchase your eGift Card before 12/24/2020 and you’ll receive a bonus of up to $30. The Ephrata Local eGift Card is accepted at various retailers around the borough and can easily be sent via email or text message.

Holiday Sweater Sing-A-Long:

Who doesn’t love a holiday sweater or sing-a-long? This year, gather your closest friends and family members virtually for a Zoom sing-along! Take it to another level by turning it into a friendly competition. Each household/group could choose a song to perform, and then everyone votes for the best performance. Have a separate contest for the best sweater. You can even plan to present the winners with prizes if you want! Need a festively funky sweater? Check out Uncle Funky’s Vintage Thrift Shop!

Image courtesy of Scratch Bakes.

For Those Celebrating In-Person:

If you’ve considered your options and feel having an in-person gathering is appropriate for your guests, consider hosting your party outside. Indoor gatherings pose a far greater risk than outdoor ones. An outdoor gathering still requires careful planning and preparation to ensure guests’ safety. Don’t let that thought disrupt your merriment, though! We have some great ideas for planning the perfect backyard bash this season.

“Drive-In” Movie Night:

Grab a projector, a white sheet, and your coziest Christmas pajamas for a holiday movie night outside! Spark up a warm bonfire and roast marshmallows for s’mores. You can even purchase Ghirardelli hot cocoa at Griddle & Grind or delicious, seasonal cupcakes from Scratch Bakes. Hang up string lights for some added ambiance and prepare pre-packaged bags of popcorn or order catering from local restaurants like Javateas, Bright’s Family Style Restaurant, or Gus’s Keystone Family Restaurant. Just don’t forget to have your guests bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for the occasion.

Wreath-Making Party:

Gather a few of your closest pals to each make a festive, holiday wreath! Set up tables at a safe, social distance in your backyard or open garage (where you won’t mind making a bit of a mess) and print out some photos for inspiration. You can buy faux foliage and other materials such as wreath rings, wire, and ribbons from a craft store, or purchase live greenery from a local garden center or greenhouse if you are feeling particularly ambitious. Grab a few bottles of wine from Weathered Vineyards Wine Bar or a growler of seasonal brews from Pour Man’s Brewing Company, Black Forest Brewery, or St. Boniface Brewing Co. to really get the creative juices flowing!

You may not be able to throw your typical holiday party this year, but you can still plan a wonderful celebration for friends and loved ones! With a little extra preparation, flexibility, and creativity, you can host a festive and fun holiday gathering that is sure to get everyone in the spirit while staying healthy and safe.