My New Favorite Family Traditions Thanks to COVID

My New Favorite Family Traditions Thanks to COVID
Playdates at the park have become a favorite pandemic pastime.

It’s been a wild ride and as we approach two years of living with COVID-19, I can’t help but reflect on all we have endured. We watched Tiger King, we started making sourdough bread, and now we’re onto Wordle. We wore masks, we burned masks, then we bought N95s. We made and kept Christmas plans but had to cancel New Years…well some of us. 

We’ve Made New Favorite Family Traditions

And while so many of us have our own ways of coping with all that we endured, my family and I kept it simple, embracing the things that make us happy, like quality time with one another and our sense of adventure. We had to make some adjustments, like we all have, but I can honestly say we were able to create some pretty wonderful memories and traditions that I think we can keep going long into the future. 


Here are our new favorite family traditions:


Our Favorite Restaurants To Go

I will admit, I absolutely love sitting down at a restaurant and being served dinner in a vibrant atmosphere with delicious food, sparkling drinks, and wonderful service. When that was limited to take-out at the beginning of the pandemic, I had a newborn and a toddler at home and quite honestly, wasn’t thinking about dining at a restaurant much anyway. So it was a bit of a welcome surprise to start getting our favorite meals and drinks to-go. 

Now, two years later, we fully embrace take-out, preferring the coziness of our home over a busy restaurant or unpredictable child outbursts. We have our favorites we know run specials and have our routines we look forward to every week. We prefer to order directly from the restaurant and pick up from our favorites like Zitos, Aviles El Ranchito, or Heemo Sushi to give our local businesses some love.  


Weekend Movie Nights

This might be my favorite tradition we started over the course of the pandemic. Every Saturday night we pick a movie we haven’t seen and watch it together as a family. Thanks to Disney+, we’ve watched every single STAR WARS movie, some age-appropriate Marvel, and most of the classics. We’ve even had the chance to be a part of exclusive early-screenings of VIVO and HOTEL TRANSFORMANIA thanks to OC Mom Collective, which were both a big hit in our house. 

Once the pandemic started to ease, we let our little ones invite friends over for movie night and even hosted movie night a few times in the backyard with extended family. It’s become a tradition we’ve kept going, even if we have to move the night to another night of the week and something we very much look forward to continuing. 


More Time Outside

Like so many of us who were forced to cancel plans, once parks and trails reopened, we leaned hard into planning playdates at the local playground over one another’s homes. Not only did this help alleviate the cabin fever, but it also avoided many concerns that we might be inviting COVID-19 into our homes.

It also eased the pressure of having to have a clean house for guests.

We’re lucky enough to live near several great parks that host all the outdoor amenities you can imagine. Irvine Park is 15 minutes away with the locally famous train, petting zoo, and trails for miles. Eisenhower Park has my daughter’s favorite duck pond, green belts, and even fishing. Ambriz and Olive became our home away from home during baseball season, and the Santa Ana River Trail even took us to Angel Stadium and Grandma’s house on a fun family adventure on our bikes. 


Zoom Option for Special Occasions

Both kids have birthdays on the bookends of cold and flu season. Throw in back-to-school, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – even before the pandemic, someone was usually sick during some of our family’s most anticipated events. Working from home with a nearly all remote workforce allowed me to get pretty savvy with Zoom. So as these special occasions quickly approached, I was happy to offer a virtual option for anyone with the sniffles that didn’t want to feel left out. 

And honestly, it’s so nice to see those who might not have otherwise been able to participate because perhaps they live far away or possibly because they’re sick. My kid’s great grandmas, aunts, and cousins from all over the country are now able to connect more often and I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to feed dozens of people. 


Quiet Staycations

Last fall, my husband planned a getaway to the Sequoia Mountains and it was everything our little family needed after a year of canceling everything. Instead of the hustle and bustle of airports, shuttles, amusement parks, and excursions, we packed the Subaru and headed for the mountains. The house we rented was nestled near a creek and we had wildlife come right to the door. We hardly saw a soul other than each other. 

Even though we’re comfortable flying again, we never want to take for granted the charm of a road trip and have committed to doing one big vacation in addition to one shorter, closer-to-home getaway at least once a year. We even added buying a camping trailer to our near-term goals and have started saving up in hopes we can purchase one before next summer. 

While the pandemic has certainly pivoted plans for most families, at the tail-end of our own bout with the virus, I’m happy we had these tried and true favorite family traditions to get us through the last couple of weeks. We had to quarantine, cancel plans, test and retest – nothing new at this point two years in – but at least we knew what we could do to help us feel a little better. 

Tell us in your comments below, what are some new favorite family traditions you have discovered during these past two years of the pandemic?

My New Favorite Family Traditions Thanks to COVID PIN