(BPT) - COVID-19 restrictions mean the 2020 holiday season will be different this year, but that doesn't mean you have to become a Grinch. Although extensive travel, large group gatherings and many traditional activities can't happen, you can find imaginative ways to be just as joyful with a dash of creativity. In fact, many people are embracing this as an opportunity to take a unique approach and discover new ways to make one-of-a-kind memories with family, friends and coworkers. Alternative approaches to work holiday parties The culmination of the work year is the annual holiday celebration. This is typically a time to enjoy great food, fun games and cheers to a job well done. However, with the pandemic causing many offices to go remote as well as restrictions for restaurants and group gatherings, this year will have to be a celebration of a different kind. Fortunately, technology is making many things possible. Employers want to show employees they care and are expected to shake things up in creative ways. This could include sending meals to everyone through home delivery and then meeting online to enjoy them together. This might be a video gathering for an ugly sweater contest paired with fun games that can be played digitally such as bingo and holiday trivia. Maybe it's hiring a live musician to play and everyone can sign in for a virtual happy hour while enjoying the customized tunes. Might someone suggest karaoke?! Online shopping expected to soar Last year, 56% of consumers reported they would make their holiday purchases online vs. At retail stores, according to the National Retail Federation. The experts at Purchasing Power — an employee purchase program — have witnessed this trend growing exponentially since March and expect at-home shopping to soar over the upcoming holidays. With so many people continuing to work or attend school at home, Purchasing Power anticipates the most popular (and practical) gifts to be purchased and delivered right to people's doors include new laptops and home electronics, personal health and fitness equipment and ergonomic office furniture. Of course, toys, video games — there are many new products and gaming systems this year for kid and adult gamers — and small luxury items will still bring smiles to those longing for unexpected surprises during the 2020 holidays. With money being tight for many families this year, employers want to help by offering things like year-round financial programs that allow workers to purchase items without the stress or high-interest rates associated with credit cards. Ask your employer about voluntary benefits like Purchasing Power, which enables you to buy name-brand consumer products and services and pay over the course of a year through automated payroll deduction, with no interest, fees or required credit checks. Learn more at www.Purchasingpower.Com. Travel less, make more memories at home With airline travel at a minimum and health top of mind, many people won't be traveling to bake holiday treats and celebrate good tidings in person. Consider alternatives this year and plan a family video chat time to bake cookies together. Select and share a recipe ahead of time and then sign on to your digital device to talk with each other as you each prepare dough, bake and enjoy treats. This might be the perfect time to tackle that traditional family recipe that's been handed down for generations and see who proves most successful. For younger children with shorter attention spans, you may just want to plan a virtual cookie or cupcake decorating party. Or perhaps you get crafty and make some hand-cut snowflakes or colorful paper garlands. As you add the perfect touches to holiday treats, exchange memories of holidays past and even pull out old family photo albums or videos to reminisce. Make sure to enjoy a few treats together and take video stills to capture these special moments for future celebrations. Finally, wrap the fun up by reading a traditional holiday book to little ones before bedtime. The 2020 holiday season is sure to be unique, but "different" can still be good. With an optimistic mindset and clever ideas, you'll put a new spin on family and workplace traditions and make some lasting memories.
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