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Holiday Traditions 2020 

Coming together in a world full of distance

Traditionally, the holidays are one of the happiest times of the year for families, bringing loved ones together from afar while engaging in traditions passed down through the years from great-grandparents to parents, and now onto the children. And for some, it's that special time to go on a much-needed family vacation.

With COVID-19 drastically changing daily life for families in 2020, it stands to reason that the holidays will be much different from years past, as well. For some, it means celebrating without loved ones. For others, it means staying home instead of traveling to see relatives or enjoying time away. Whatever the case, 2020 forces local families to adapt old holiday traditions to the new conditions, or to create new traditions altogether.

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If you are struggling to come up with ways to transform your holiday experience to the new COVID-19 way of life, not to worry. We have suggestions that promise to help you make the upcoming months, the happiest of the year!

Adapting Family Activities

In the past, big holiday parties, dinners out with family and friends and crowded celebrations were a big part of the fuel that fed the flames of seasonal excitement. This year, COVID-safety protocols suggest toning down the get-togethers.

You don't have to give up the party completely, though. With some simple changes, you can stay safe and still enjoy some smaller-scale celebrations. Consider the following when planning a holiday party:

1. Move your event outside. Instead of coming together at someone's house, or using an inside space, consider hitting the hills for hot cocoa and sledding. Or why not rent cross- country skis for a snowy adventure? Bundle up and light a fire for a gathering in your own back yard. There are even outdoor heaters that make planning a get-together outside comfortable with room to socially distance.

2. Keep invites small. There is no getting around the fact that large gatherings are a bad idea this year. If you are going to invite people to celebrate with you, keep your guest list to 10 or less.

3. Take necessary precautions: Notify guests in advance that they are expected to wear a mask. As an additional precaution you can ask that party participants take their temperature prior to the gathering and that they notify you if they have been in a setting with possible COVID-19 exposure.

4. Ditch the Potluck: Group food is a bad idea. This year is all about the BYOB and B's (Bring your own beverage and bites) parties.

Staycations Instead of Vacations

Having to cancel that beloved family vacation is hard, but lucky for you, your crew lives in one of the most popular vacation towns in America. Why not plan a family holiday staycation? Don't wait to make reservations; you are going to want to book your accommodations at the following family-friendly spots early.

Sunriver Resort: This local favorite will make you feel like you are a million miles away from home. With a suite of activities to choose from, you can spend your days playing at the resort nestled in the foothills of the Cascades. This is one of our top picks because you can choose from a variety of accommodations including vacation rentals (for those who like a little more social distance from others.) Find out more online at:

Elk Lake Resort: Feel like getting rugged? Elk Lake Resort offers adventurous, outdoorsy families a unique experience. Accessible only by snowcat or snowmobile (once the snow falls) your family can go deep woods for a cabin stay that is rustic, and exciting. Ski, sled and snowmobile during the day. Cozy up together at night. Reserve your stay in advance online at:

FivePine Lodge: Want to spend your holidays visiting the Wild West? FivePine Lodge in Sisters is the perfect location. Their private cabins make social distancing easy with adventure right outside your front door. The heart of downtown Sisters is just a short walk away where you'll find interesting shops and dining options. Find out more online at:

Together from Afar

One of the most difficult things about 2020 is the physical distance families have had to keep from their loved ones. There is no doubt that staying apart during the holidays is going to be rough, but perhaps there is an opportunity for families to learn new ways of spending time together while apart.

There are a host of new apps your family can use to bring grandparents and aunts and uncles to the dinner table or around the tree for the opening of presents. From Facebook Messenger's video call capabilities to Zoom, which allows multiple people to join one another from multiple locations, the options are endless. Just make sure to download and familiarize yourself with them well in advance of the scheduled call.

Want to get in the holiday mood? Try Netflix Party and watch seasonal movies, shows and classics online at the same time as your loved ones, no matter how far away they are.

While this year's holiday season has its list of challenges, it also gives families a time to reflect on what's truly important to them and to create new, and even fun ways to keep the season merry.

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