Merry Ideas for a COVID Christmas: 9 ways to celebrate a really difficult year

Sing it with me, to the tune of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”:

I don’t want a lot for Christmas,
There are just some things I need…
A couple masks in my stocking,
And that new COVID-vaccine.

I don’t wanna be alone,
Love to have guests in my home,
Make my dreams come truuuuueee…
All I want for Christmas is…
(well, it would be nice to spend time, closer than six feet apart with…)

Ok, all joking aside, it’s been a hard year – like really, really hard. But if there’s one thing that listening to carols on repeat for the last three weeks has taught me, it’s that this Christmas, however different and difficult, can still ignite joy and feel fun. And even if we can’t be together in person, we still need to celebrate life and one another more than ever. In that spirit, I humbly present to you a list of ways you can spread holiday cheer without spreading COVID-19.


Find Ways to Stay Connected

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. At least that’s what Buddy the Elf taught us. Unfortunately, singing in groups is super risky in COVID-times – so here’s another way to spread Christmas cheer, in the form of…

Christmas Cards
We know, lots of people send these bad boys out yearly. But – and stay with me here – what if you took extra time to make the card especially thoughtful? If you don’t get to spend Christmas with your extended loved ones, consider taking the time to write out some of your favourite memories from past holidays with them and invite them to relive those good times with you.

Intentional Catch-up Calls, Even Over Zoom
You and I both know that Zoom dates miss the pizzazz that reconnecting in person can have. But honestly, if you are intentional about carving out time for someone in your life, and taking the time to deeply listen to them, it can feel pretty darn good. Having reconnected with my best friend from childhood – I can tell you that hanging out on Facetime for 7 hours is completely and totally acceptable. (And if you want to take your Zoom chat to the next level – here’s a great list of conversation starters.)

Treat Yo’self (or someone else)

Try a New Recipe
In a year where Christmas traditions have been ripped from our gloved hands, why not spice up your Christmas celebration by experimenting with a new Christmas recipe? Plus, nothing lifts the spirit like a delicious meal: trust us, we serve hundreds of hot meals to people who are having a pretty tough time, and we have seen that miracles begin with a meal.

Shop Local
Are you looking for somewhere local to support this holiday season? Did you know that when you shop at Found Boutique, our new social enterprise, you do good and feel good? We opened Found this year, and all net revenue goes towards UGM, meaning your purchase helps end homelessness. You also support local businesses, as Found has a wide selection of artisan products from local BC retailers.

Be Inspired By All The Good That Is Still Happening

Despite the world just being such a hard place right now – there is good happening every single minute of every single day. You can follow UGM’s Social Media channels, like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram for a little #dailyinspo. Read on to see how so many beloved community members have helped change lives for those struggling with homelessness, addiction, or poverty this year:

Christmas Hamper Store
This year, nearly 335 families were able to take part in UGM’s Christmas Hamper program – that’s a massive increase compared to 2019. Thanks to everyone who has made our Hamper program possible, including the 700 Club Canada. So many families, who may have gone without on Christmas morning, will now have gifts, everything for a Christmas meal, and most importantly a reminder of community love and support.

UGM’s 80th Annual Christmas Meal
Miracles begin with a meal. And even COVID can’t stop those miracles from happening. Because the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff is paramount, we took a lot of steps to make sure that serving a hot turkey meal with all the fixin’s was still possible – even if it meant serving meals to-go.

Christmas, COVID and Beyond
We know that for people simply struggling to survive – the added stressors of COVID-19 and the increased isolation around the holiday season can be devastating. While COVID-19 has caused us to reimagine how we serve our community members who are homeless, living with addiction or trying to get by while in poverty, we know that every night in shelter, every connection with an outreach worker, and every single person who comes through our door to enter into alcohol and drug recovery, is a reason to celebrate. So thank YOU – for helping us find reasons to celebrate.

Share Your Blessings

Sometimes the absolute best way to find happiness is to gift it to others. And there are so many ways that we can do that this year! Here are a few:

Make A Christmas Donation
You can support your favourite local charity, like the BCSPCA, the Vancouver Aquarium, Union Gospel Mission, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in someone else’s name, who you know could use a sprinkle of cheer.

Share Christmas
My pal Ryan Reynolds was just asking me the other day how he could get his friends involved in Christmas activity, and then donated 500K to end youth homelessness. Ok, I lied, I don’t know Ryan, but you don’t have to be Ryan Reynolds to share Christmas.  Not only can you throw a wicked zoom Christmas bash with your crew, but each of you can commit to fundraising or donating a set amount to UGM – and you can see directly how you’ll impact lives in the Downtown Eastside. You could provide desperately needed Winter Care Kits, hot meals or nights in the shelter to people struggling with homelessness who are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

We hope you enjoyed our Merry Ideas! Now go spread that Christmas Cheer!


Make my dreams come truuuuueee… All I want for Christmas is you… to join the UGM community! Sign up for our email updates to keep feeling the good vibes!

Written By: Nicole Mucci