Finding fun activities to do with loved ones is a high point for the holidays every year. This year brings particular challenges as Oregon continues to experience pandemic-related restrictions and social distancing to help stop rising coronavirus numbers throughout the state. That means that traditional activities – even volunteering – may not be as possible as they once were. As part of our relocation services in Bend, we wanted to mention a few safe alternatives that are still excellent options for 2020 celebrations.

1. Choose and Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Bend allows families to sign up for a license to cut down one tree for Christmas in select parts of the National Forests in Central Oregon. If you have a vehicle that can handle the journey and know how to stay safe in the woods, this is an excellent family activity that involves a ton of fun and teamwork – and no risks of infection or breaking regulations. If you don’t have any experience, see if you can team up with a coworker or other family that can show you the ropes and help you find a tree of your own.

2. Cocoa and Sledding/Snowshoeing

Bend is particularly proud of its durable thermoses like Hydro Flask and other insulated options that are perfect for keeping some warm cocoa. Why not brew up your favorite batch for the family and hit the hills for some outdoor winter fun? There are plenty of sledding spots around Bend that have easy access and are kid-friendly without needing to make the drive up to Mt. Bachelor every time. If sledding isn’t really your thing, think about renting or buying snowshoes and going on a fun snowshoe trek in some of the snowy regions in Central Oregon.

3. Pick a Lodge for a Personal Retreat

If you like getting away from it all during the holidays, think about booking a room for the weekend at one of the local lodges for you and a loved one (or just a cozy staycation all by yourself, if that’s what you need). Elk Lake, FivePine, and Sunriver Resort all have excellent lodge options that offer peace as well as plenty of holiday activities, depending on your mood.

4. Try the Holiday Tour of Lights

The great thing about the Tour of Lights is that it’s naturally safe and socially distanced. NorthWest Crossing in particular is holding a big Tour of Lights event on Dec. 5th with plenty of addresses to check out, a scavenger hunt challenge, and an Instagram photo contest with prizes. It’s sure to be a lot of fun and an easy way to celebrate the holidays.

5. Try Netflix Party and a Christmas Movie with the Family

Do you miss having the family over for holiday get-togethers? Netflix Party is a clever extension you can get for a web browser. It helps connect with other people who have the extension and lets you all watch the same Netflix movie together, ensure that all screens are synced and paused at the right times. Pair it with a video chat and enjoy some cozy time with family, no matter how far away.