Happy Holidays During COVID! Week #6: Countdown to the New Year

As this COVID-19 holiday season reaches its peak, your family is probably busy with photo contests, care packages, virtual caroling, and lots of other creative ways to safely celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa during the pandemic.

To conclude our holiday series, here’s an activity to take your family right through New Year’s Eve.

This is the final week of Connecticut Children’s holiday series: ideas to make the holidays special for your kids this year – even in quarantine. Scroll to the bottom for quick links to the rest of the series.


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What it is:

If you’re familiar with Advent calendars, this is the same idea but with a family photo twist.

Every day, your child celebrates being another day closer to the big event – in this case, New Year’s Day – by revealing a new photo on the calendar.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • One memorable photo for every remaining day of 2020 (if you start today, Dec. 17, that’s 14 photos)
  • One envelope for every photo
  • String, long enough to space all your photos along it
  • Paper clips, clothespins, or another way to attach envelopes to the string

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

How to assemble:

  • Select and print out your photos. Look for photos that represent milestones and happy memories throughout the past year, or that remind your child of family and friends they might be missing during COVID-19.
  • Number each envelope. If you have 14 photos, you’ll have 14 envelopes, numbered 1 through 14.
  • Put each photo in an envelope, and fasten each envelope to the string. You can plan this out so photos are numbered in a certain order, like favorite family photos from oldest to most recent.
  • Make it a routine. Put your countdown calendar in a place of honor. Pick a consistent time in your child’s day when they’ll get to open the next photo, like right after breakfast or just before bedtime, so they know when to look forward to it.
  • Add a ritual. With each new photo, invite your child to say something they’re grateful for, talk about the happy memories that the picture sparks, or share something they’re looking forward to in 2021.
  • Share with others. Set up a quick daily video call when your child opens each photo to include loved ones like grandparents. (Connection is important for kids, and so is consistency. Even a 5-minute video chat on a regular basis helps your child build resilience.)
  • Let the countdown begin! Starting with the highest numbered envelope, have your child open one photo each day to count down the days to the new year. Clip each photo back onto the string in place of its envelope. By the end of the series, you’ll have a sweet photo display – and be ready for 2021.

> Related: 14 Ways to Celebrate a Virtual New Year’s Eve During COVID-19

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Related links:

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