Happy Holidays During COVID! Week #4: Care Packages to Make Quarantine Special

During COVID-19, your family may have lots of people to thank and in-person celebrations to make up for. So in time for Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, here’s a care package how-to for spreading holiday cheer.

This is the fourth week of Connecticut Children’s holiday series: ideas to make the holidays special for your kids this year – even in quarantine. Here’s last week’s idea.


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Who to make holiday care packages for:

  • Family and friends who your child is missing during social distancing: Think: grandparents, cousins, friends who aren’t in your child’s school schedule or social distancing “pod,” camp friends, and extended or long-distance family.
  • Teachers and childcare providers: Take a moment to send holiday cheer to the people who put your child’s well-being first every single day.
  • People who are spending the holidays in a hospital or shelter: Brighten the Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa holiday for those who can’t celebrate at home. Search for your local hospital, VA hospital or shelters, and reach out directly to see what’s allowed this year, since rules may be different due to COVID-19. Note: Currently, Connecticut Children’s cannot accept in-person toy donations, and has special rules for care packages.
  • Healthcare heroes, military members, civil servants like fire fighters and police officers, and essential workers during COVID-19: Whenever Connecticut Children’s receives a nice note or a child’s thank-you drawing, it brightens our whole day. The encouragement we’ve received from the community has kept our healthcare heroes going through COVID-19 – and that’s true for essential workers everywhere.
  • Mail carriers and delivery workers: After all, they’re the ones delivering all of your child’s holiday love and so much more during the pandemic! Skip gift cards or any form of cash gift, which typically aren’t allowed, and for U.S. postal workers, keep the value of your care package below $20 (the maximum allowed per occasion, like Hanukkah or Christmas). Stick to festive snacks, a homemade gift or a heartfelt thank-you note.

> Related: How to Help Kids Handle Holiday Disappointment During COVID-19

What to include in your child’s holiday care packages:

  • A hand-drawn Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa card: Bust out the crayons, markers, construction paper and glitter, and have your child spend an evening cranking out holiday masterpieces.
  • A thank-you note or drawing: No matter who the recipient is, there is probably no nicer gift than a thoughtful thank-you. (Plus, gratitude is a powerful way to teach kids “positive reframing,” a practice that can help during challenging times.) To make the note feel more personal, encourage your child to include a specific reason they’re thankful for the person – for example, “Thanks for waving hello every day when you drop off our mail! It always makes me smile.”
  • A holiday craft: Search online for an age-appropriate DIY craft that your child can make, whether it’s a popsicle stick ornament or a paper plate Christmas tree.
  • Homemade treats: Plan a virtual cookie decorating party with your child’s grandparents or other loved ones, then add the results to your care packages.
  • Items for self-care: What does your child have in their coping toolbox? How sweet would it be to add similar items to their care packages for others?
  • Small ways to unplug: You could include a deck of cards and printed instructions for a favorite game, a book of crossword puzzles, a spa-like candle, or anything else that will help recipients take a moment to unwind and relax.
  • Traditional items: For Hanukkah, it could be chocolate gelt (chocolate coins wrapped in foil); for Kwanzaa, it could be items in the customary colors of red, green and black; for Christmas, it might be a mini tree for their tabletop.
  • Holiday family photo: Turn this into a contest to connect your extended family during quarantine.

> Related: 4 Ways to Celebrate a Socially Distanced Baby Shower During COVID-19

Make it into a holiday activity your child will love!

  • Build care packages around the activities your child enjoys: If they’re an artist, be sure to include a holiday craft. If your younger child is practicing their handwriting, make a big deal of having them write each recipient’s name on their card. If your teen loves making things look Instagram-worthy, put them in charge of wrapping.
  • Make it an event: Decide if you’ll devote an entire afternoon to assembling all the packages at once, or if you’ll draw it out over several weeks (just keep an eye on the calendar if you plan to mail gifts for delivery by Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa). Blast holiday tunes while you work together, and take lots of pictures.
  • Decide how you’ll deliver packages: For long-distance recipients, check with mail carrier websites for mail-by deadlines. If your extended family and friends are within driving distance, consider playing Santa Claus with your child and mapping out your own route. Check out holiday decorations and lights on the way!

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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