Published on December 03, 2020

Family-approved fun for healthy holidays

There’s no doubt the 2020 holiday season is going to be different than any other, but with some planning, it can still be special.

The changes may be especially difficult for little ones, so communication is key. Sarah Osborne, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Owensboro Health Children’s Center, said it’s important to get an early start on explaining to your children that this year will be different. “Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t,” she said. “Explain that you might not see extended family in person, but you can call them and video chat. Maybe you won’t be able to exchange lots of gifts in person, but you can send gifts instead. This helps kids understand that there are alternatives this year.”

Shopping and Gift Giving

For online shoppers, consider shipping the gift directly to the recipient's home and opening presents together on a video call.

If shopping in person, do so during hours when stores aren’t as busy. Think about shopping local, as many smaller stores are less crowded and may be struggling because of the pandemic. For local shops, you can call ahead and ask what times of day are the least busy.

They may also offer curbside pickup or delivery.

Instead of shopping, you might choose to make homemade gifts or care packages and mail them. This is a great activity to get kids involved.

Low-Risk Holiday Activities

Although traditional large gatherings should be avoided, there are lots of activities families can do while keeping your distance and staying safe.

  • Take a drive to look at Christmas lights in your neighborhood or at organized light displays. Owensboro Health is sponsoring a free night for the community at Christmas at Panther Creek, the annual holiday drive-thru light display on December 10.
  • Have a socially-distant cookie swap with neighbors or friends! Organize participants and have each person drop off their goodies on the doorstep of another participant! This way, everyone gets a treat!
  • Find joy in giving. Take time to donate to food pantries, toy closets and angel trees this year, to help those most in need.
  • Decorate a gingerbread house. This holiday tradition is a staple for a reason - it’s fun for all ages. Gather your supplies or even purchase a kit at local grocery stores.
  • Send holiday cards. You can send traditional cards to friends and family, but to make things extra special, have your kids create cards to send to nursing homes and children’s hospitals and spread extra cheer.
  • Have a Christmas movie night. Grab the blankets, pillows and snacks and watch your favorite classic Christmas movie. You can even do a quick internet search and find a list of movies to make it a marathon.
  • Send a letter to Santa. Grab the kids and write a letter to Santa from the whole family.
  • Take a family photo. Find some Christmas sweaters or Santa hats and set the self-timer on your phone to take some festive family photos.
  • Donate toys. If your kids have lots of toys they’re not using, donate them and let other children benefit. This is a great teaching opportunity for kids, and a nice tradition to start!
  • Have a game night. Try out a new game or holiday puzzle to do at home with the family.
  • Go Christmas caroling. Gather up your household and sing favorite holiday tunes outside your family and friend’s houses as a fun surprise. Just be sure to stay outdoors and keep your distance from anyone that doesn’t live in your household.

Prevent the Flu

Osborne recommends everyone get a flu shot, especially this year. Getting a flu vaccine helps protect you, your family and your community. Flu shots lessen your chance of getting the flu, which has many of the same symptoms of COVID-19, and can reduce the severity if you do.

And as with any cold and flu season, make sure everyone in your family is washing their hands and not touching their face and mouth.

To find where to get a flu shot, visit

Although this year will be different, it can still be memorable! Celebrate the time you spend with your household and do your part to stop the spread. Owensboro Health would like to wish you and your family a healthy holiday season!

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 200 providers at more than 20 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a surgical weight loss center and program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have 16,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 24,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 200 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 70,000 Emergency Department visits, more than a million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.