Holiday Season 2020: Adjusting Expectations

Prepping for the impending holiday season? If you’re feeling unsure of what to expect, you’re not alone. It’s true, celebrations in 2020 may look a little different than in years past. And that’s OK—it just means we have to be flexible and creative in our thinking. And patient. Who knows? Perhaps this holiday season is a perfect opportunity to establish new traditions that reflect what’s really important to each of us.

Prepare Yourself: Adjusting Expectations

In 2020, an expectation reset is in order. If you’re used to hosting a sprawling turkey dinner—your home bustling with family, friends, and neighbors—you may find the event is a bit quieter on November 26. Maybe in years past you enjoyed participating in an annual community cookie swap. Perhaps in 2020, instead of baking three recipes for a swap, you go all out with an elaborate gingerbread house to display at home. Or maybe your family usually travels for winter break. Instead of jet-setting to the coast this December, perhaps you pretend to be a tourist in your own city, exploring all you never knew was so close by.

As you shift your expectations this holiday season, here are some other aspects to consider:


When it comes to getting together with others for the holidays, check the CDC website for guidance. If you do gather, social distance when possible, remain outdoors to the extent weather permits, and don (holiday-themed, for fun) masks.

Another fabulous option? Zoom! No, it’s not the same as celebrating in person, but meeting virtually is an incredible alternative available to us in the digital age—so take advantage of it! Whether it’s turkey dinner with family, caroling with neighbors, or holiday partying with coworkers, get creative with outside-the-box ideas to bring unforgettable festive fun to your Zoom gatherings.


Are you a Black Friday deal-grabber? Many big-box stores are altering their sales this year to promote social distancing efforts and keep customers safe. Before the big day, research your favorite stores to be in the know about their plans, and consider shopping online when possible.

Alternatively, 2020 is the perfect time to shop local. Supporting local businesses in normal years always benefits your community, but this year in particular these shop owners could use your support. Diversifying where you shop will also likely open the door to unique items that are just right for that special someone.

Lastly, with the COVID-19–related limitations on shopping, now may be the ideal time to rethink your holiday spending spree altogether. Ever heard of the “5 Gift Rule”? This purposeful, personalized approach to gift buying encourages thoughtful gift selections. It’s easy: for each person on your list, choose

  • Something he or she WANTS,
  • Something he or she NEEDS,
  • Something to READ,
  • Something to WEAR, and
  • Something to DO.

That’s it—nothing more, nothing less. Give it a try! By employing the 5 Gift Rule, you’ll minimize your shopping exposure this season and make gift giving more meaningful.

How will you adjust your expectations for the 2020 holiday season? Remember: have patience, be flexible, and enjoy the celebrations, even if they look a little different this year. Happy holidays!

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