Longtime blog readers know that I like to create seasonal fun lists. These are activities that make memories, and take advantage of the unique aspects of each part of the year (you can see my fall 2020 list here). When I put these things on the schedule, I can anticipate them — and we all need stuff to look forward to.
Last week, I heard from a reader who really needs something to look forward to! After half her immediate family members tested positive for Covid, the family quarantined. Fortunately, everyone was asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms. Based on the various guidelines of how long people should isolate (after a positive test, or after close exposure to a positive) the family is looking at November for leaving the house.
This has been challenging of course — even if they’re thankful for mild cases, the kids are dealing with the disappointment of missing out on October activities. The reader writes that “We’re trying to look ahead and plan things to look forward to, but November seems like a hard time to do that.” Fall will be over in her part of the world. The weather will be cold. Did I have ideas for a November fun list?
I have a few ideas, and I said I’d post the question here for other people to chime in too. My first thought is that if stores start putting up Christmas decorations on November 1st, there’s no reason this family can’t start the festivities early too! Get a Christmas tree as soon as you can and deck it (with some new homemade ornaments too — a good quarantine project). Start a new tradition of early, frequent Christmas gifts. It can be little dollar-store trinkets, but anything wrapped up is fun, and if the kids know that every Tuesday night they open presents, well, how can November not be exciting? Once it’s OK to leave the house, they can go visit area malls and outdoor shopping areas and see the decorations as soon as they’re up. Last year I learned that our local zoos and botanical gardens put their decorations up and started doing special ticketed nights in mid-November. These are excellent things to get on the calendar. No need to wait for December when they need the fun before then. She can use some of this quarantine time to research options.
There’s also no reason to have just one Thanksgiving dinner. The family could order in holiday ingredients and have a first Thanksgiving dinner now, and then do a few more through November. This can be a chance to experiment with new festive dishes. If there’s only one Thanksgiving, you never want to risk a bad new sweet potato dish when everyone likes your old one, but with three Thanksgivings…why not?
I’m also a fan of cold weather hikes. Based on this reader’s geography, I think the first two weeks of November might still be tolerable. They could research some options now, and then when they can go out again, they can bundle up and aim for 90 minute walks within 90 minutes of their house. This can make for a fun half-day weekend option, especially if you come home to soup or chili and football on TV. Any days north of 50 degrees (there might be some!) can be options for family bike rides. And when the weather does turn cold and snowy? It might be an option to try cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, or even a sleigh ride. I put that on my winter fun list some year (last year?) but we never got a deep enough predictable snow cover for that to work. This reader lives in a place where this might be more of an option.
It’s possible that they might be able to get the tail end of pumpkin patches and brightly colored leaves with a day trip 2 hours south or so. It might be worth investigating.
What would you recommend this family plan to look forward to in November?