For many people, the holidays didn’t feel quite right this year. No matter how many jingle-bell filled songs you play or sugar cookies you devour, the most important part of the holidays, getting together with friends and family, is what makes our holiday season complete. 

Still, perhaps the best parts of the holiday season in 2020 were the creative ways that people kept the holiday spirit alive.

We can look at the most delicious way that people celebrated the holidays over 2020…with food! A recent survey showed that over 60% of Americans usually get in the kitchen to whip up some traditional recipes. And this year, after people all over the world had mastered the art of sourdough and whipped coffee, many new foodies turned to fun meals to find some holiday joy. 

The Irish Times reported that over 300,000 people in Ireland cooked their first-ever Christmas dinner this year, undoubtedly filling the airways with phone calls to moms for turkey-turning-tips.

Many others, wishing to find some new joy in the unique year, decided to order in on Christmas, spreading some love and much needed financial support to local restaurants.  

Of course it wasn’t all about food. Before the 2020 holiday season, over 45% of individuals reported that they’d still be decorating their homes regardless of the pandemic. 

That’s right, it turns out that a pandemic can create a whole world of Clark Griswolds! 

The results were amazing. Holiday hashtags like  #ChristmasLights and #LightForLife allowed people to share their holiday displays safely online. In some cases, entire communities got into the spirit, creating townwide holiday decoration contests. In one American town, small businesses put on incredible light displays with the chance of winning $10,000. 

Perhaps the most heartwarming stories came from those local charities whose giving to the community extends far beyond December. This year, as financial losses threatened to cancel many American holiday celebrations, charities fought to make the season special.  Local food banks rallied to package full dinners complete with turkey and all the fixings. In one town, a church set up a socially distanced drive-thru to distribute Christmas gifts and meals.

And of course, one of the most heartwarming pieces of news during the holiday season was the message from the CDC’s Dr. Fauci that Santa Claus had developed immunity to COVID-19, allowing him to visit homes all around the world. 

Even though the strange season was just one chapter in a hard-fought battle against the coronavirus, we all will certainly never forget the ways that we came together from far apart to keep joy alive during the 2020 holiday season.