If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can overcome the challenges before us with patience and grace — and a little creativity. Sure, we are all bummed that the holidays won’t be exactly like they always are. But don’t let that stop you from making this a year to remember, full of moments of delight. There are tons of fun ways to (safely) get out and experience the season. Or bring the celebratory spirit right into your home via the web and a whole lot of sugary, baking bliss. And on the bright side, missing that work party where everyone gets inappropriately drunk, or that snooze-fest of a family reunion, will be the glittery star on the top of your tree. So hike up your Santa suit, and get cracking on some holiday happiness. We’ve got your back!
Out & About
Safely spread joy (and nothing else!) by singing seasonal selections in the front yards of friends, family and neighbors. Just print a few copies of the words ahead of time, and if you can’t carry a tune, bring a portable speaker and playlist to help round out the notes.
2. Blow it Up
Load the fam and drive through Daphne’s Sehoy neighborhood to catch a glimpse of the giant inflatables. Bring hot chocolate for the ride, and your crew will be especially merry.
Hang on to this holiday tradition with Mobile Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker. Presented as a one-act show with audience capacity reduced to 25 percent to maintain social distancing, five separate performances from December 18 – 20 will bring to life the lyrical music of Tchaikovsky through graceful local ballerinas! mobileballet.org
4. Holiday at the Hank
Drive through the Christmas Nights of Lights at Hank Aaron Stadium in the comfort and safety of your car, and tune your car radio to synchronized holiday tunes. $8 per person, children under 4 are free.
5. Tacky Sweater Murder Mystery
Bienville Bites invites you to stroll downtown Mobile in your gaudiest Christmas garb. Dine on dishes from five restaurants, all while figuring out whodunit. $65, ages 13 and up. $80, cocktail package, ages 21 and up.
Start New Traditions
6. Shop Local Challenge
Check off your entire Christmas shopping list at local stores. It truly makes a difference to keep your dollars in our hometowns, all while supporting businesses that need the boost right now. MB makes it easy — click here to check out our shop local guide for our favorite stores now offering curbside, delivery, shipping, phone and online ordering!
7. Elf the Neighborhood
Start a “You’ve Been Elfed” in your neighborhood by leaving an anonymous treat on a neighbor’s doorstep with a poem and sign, available as a free printable at any number of online sites. Just Google “You’ve Been Elfed,” or find a cute one on Etsy, and get ready for good cheer as each neighbor pays it forward.
8. Wine Down to Christmas
West Mobile’s Domke Market sells an advent wine calendar, with 24 splits or half bottles. Just punch through the cardboard opening one day at a time and discover a red or white that will surely lift spirits! $139, domkemarket.com
9. Sneak Peek
We get it. Waiting is hard. Why not start a new tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve? Even better, why not let the gift that’s opened be a new set of PJs? Go all out with matching sets, and you’ve got yourself the perfect photo op. Take a PJ picture each year, frame them and then display them at Christmastime for a unique visual stroll down memory lane. Talk about a fun — and snuggly — way to kick off the holiday.
10. Twelve Days of Kindness
Choose someone you know who has had to be extra careful during the pandemic, perhaps not getting out and about as much as most — maybe an elderly neighbor, your grandparents or someone who is vulnerable and might be feeling a little lonely. Then leave a thoughtful holiday happy or card on their doorstep every day for 12 days. No need to spend a lot, just let them know you remember them.
Go All Out
11. Get Lit
Channel your inner Clark Griswold and deck your house in lights. You’ll feel festive every time you pull in the driveway, but better yet, you will brighten your neighbors’ nights as well.
12. Old School Fun
Make a popcorn garland with the kids! Put on your holiday PJs, cuddle up on the couch and stitch those kernels while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Bonus points if you get your stash from Mobile Popcorn.
13. It Takes a Village
Don’t stop with one — build an entire town of gingerbread houses to don your dining room table. It will be hard to keep little hands off the frosty roofs, but sneaking a gumdrop is half the fun.
14. Family Reunion
Print pictures of friends and family and turn them into ornaments. Deck the tree with all those you love to welcome warm memories in a socially-distant season.
15. Live Nativity
Don costumes, set out hay bales and stage your very own front yard nativity. Let your creativity soar as you present the story of the first Christmas. And, hey, don’t forget Fido — even he can have a starring role.
Keep it Virtual
16. Something Sweet
Sign up for an online Christmas cooking decorating class from local baker-extraordinaire EllenJAY. Gather your own supplies and tune in for $35, or pick up undecorated cookies and all the tools you need for another $30. ellenjay.com
17. House Concert
The annual Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve and Other Stories Live in Concert” will live stream Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., and can be played anytime afterwards through December 20. Tickets for the show are $30, available online. trans-siberian.com
18. A Direct Line to the North Pole
You may not get to sit on Santa’s knee this year, but your little folks can get a virtual conversation or pre-recorded message from the big man for under $30 at JingleRing. No waiting in line, no mall Santa, no crowds. Just one-on-one attention from Father Christmas in the comfort of your own home. jinglering.com
19. Cocktail Care Package
Drop a DIY cocktail kit at your friends’ doorsteps (wrapped in a big red bow, of course) and schedule a Zoom call to all drink your libations together! Tacky sweaters encouraged.
Unfortunately, due to safety issues related to COVID-19, the Fairhope Christmas parade scheduled for Dec. 4 has been canceled. Instead, the Eastern Shore Art Center will host First Friday Artwalk from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.