(BPT) - 2020 is a year to start new traditions in how we entertain, shop, exchange gifts and more. As we all adjust, one positive outcome is the opportunity to evaluate which traditions are important. It may be difficult to think about holiday celebrations in a new way, but it’s also important to keep in mind that the “new normal” might not be here forever.
As we rethink how we gather this season, it’s crucial to make a plan, particularly for those who have vulnerable family members.
“How to gather safely is at the top of everyone’s mind this holiday season. Quarantining or getting tested before and after you travel, wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, shifting gatherings outdoors if possible, and maintaining social distance are important this year,” says Victoria Borton, Vice President, Lifestyle Products and Services at AARP. “It’s also important to talk with family members to align and set expectations for what precautions to take for gatherings.”
If you’re an AARP member, remember to review your member benefits to uncover discounts from a number of retailers offering services and products across the country — members have special access to savings that will come in handy as holiday plans are formed.
Here are some helpful tips to get you through the festive season.
- Have Conversations and Manage Expectations. One thing we learned this year is that everyone has different comfort levels and expectations regarding social situations — even within the same family. Start conversations as soon as possible to get a better understanding of needs, concerns, and where you can compromise.
- Meal Preparation. Much like managing varying comfort levels, some people may prefer to provide their own food for holiday gatherings. This is a good compromise for those who want to gather yet aren’t comfortable with others preparing their meal.
- To Stay or Not to Stay in the House. You may have fond memories of cozying up at your parents’ or grandparents’ house for the holidays. This year, some may keep overnight guests to a minimum. Discuss accommodations and prepare accordingly if you need alternate lodging. If you do, many hotels have elevated health and safety protocols to help guests feel comfortable: Wyndham branded hotels offer Count On Ussm protocols to give you peace of mind. Don’t forget to mention your AARP membership to get 10% off your room at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — it will help you keep more money in your wallet this year.
- Hit the Road. Visiting family and friends for the holidays is a great alternative to flying or taking the train — plus, more room for gifts! Before you venture out, make sure you’re set with directions, fully charged phones, snacks, water, and festive holiday music. Check out Avis Rent a Car, which offers savings up to 30% off base rates, plus when available, AARP members get an upgrade on compact through full-size car class bookings and an additional driver at no cost. Driving your own car? Roadside assistance is essential for peace of mind wherever your journey may take you. Allstate Roadside plans, including Roadside Elite, help travelers when the unexpected happens on the road. Benefits include 24/7 towing, jump-starts, tire changes, lockout assistance, fuel delivery and more.
- Shop Early. According to lifestyle and shopping expert Trae Bodge, this holiday season will see high volumes of online shopping due to in-person shopping precautions. Combined with potential shipping delays and supply chain issues, people should consider buying early or utilizing other options, like Buy Online, or Pick Up In-Store.
- Share Memories. Ancestry is a great way to learn about family history through historical records, family trees and DNA testing. This is a welcomed gift to a parent, child or grandchild and a wonderful activity to do together. It offers opportunities to tell stories, share memories and create new ones. Members can save 30% on the first year of an All Access or a World Explorer subscription and get access to records and online tools to search, save and share their family history.
- Spread Joy. Families are making difficult decisions this year. If your family has decided to lay low, sending beautiful flowers or a gift basket is a great way to spread joy and celebrate. You can save 20% on flowers & bouquets, and 1-800-Flowers.com® has other options including food, candy and other gifts.
- Stay Connected. Being away from your family can be tough, especially during the holidays. Deals from Consumer Cellular help connect with your family via talk or text to bridge the long distance if you can’t gather in-person by offering 5% savings on monthly service and usage charges, and 30% on accessories. Talk, text, and data plans start at $20 per month per line, require no contract, and include free activation and an extended risk-free guarantee.
- Stay Safe. Home security is always top of mind for consumers, whether traveling for the holidays or just spending more time at home. A high-tech security makeover makes for an unexpected and much appreciated gift. SimpliSafe® is a great option for home security. It doesn’t just protect from break-ins but alerts you to disasters that may occur inside your home while you’re away, including fire, water damage and loss of power. Save 15% on new SimpliSafe home security systems that feature fast, 24/7 emergency dispatch, and do not require a long-term contract.
This year’s holiday season may feel different and challenging, but it also offers an opportunity to refocus priorities and create new holiday traditions that will be cherished for years to come. Happy Holidays!