Virtual Togetherness: Tips for Celebrating the Holidays During COVID

We all know that the holiday season will look quite different this year. While there may not be any holiday parties and family gatherings will be limited, we all still deserve a holiday that brings us joy!

This past spring, we wrote about how design can help us cope while sheltering in place. And, with a long winter ahead of us, we’re going to continue leaning into those design hacks to help our homes work for our new needs. But, for the holidays, we want to approach this same theme from a different angle—how design can help create virtual togetherness. Because design can also spark joy and help you delight in the simple things, while also finding creative ways to connect with loved ones, near and far.

Want some tips on how to foster virtual togetherness and plan holiday celebrations during COVID? Here are some ideas from our Modsy designers on how they’ll be getting festive and celebrating safely this year!

jewel tone living room with glamorous style christmas decor

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Fill Your Home With Moments of Joy and Delight

Since you probably won’t be traveling this year, perhaps you want to use some of that travel money to turn up the dial on festive decorations? Filling your home with moments of joy and delight through your decor will bring a smile to your face, even if you’re sad to miss some of the “normal” holiday gatherings and moments. (Need some inspiration? Check out our Holiday Decor Lookbook.)

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“I think this is an opportunity for families to be excited for the holidays, even though they’ll look different this year. Since travel and events don’t seem to be on people’s high priority list, there’s a high demand for home decor and redesign for the holidays of 2020. I’m a big fan of incorporating bright colors that bring happiness to holiday decorations this year!” –Brooke M.

“This winter, decorate your home just as much as you normally would if the whole extended family and neighborhood were coming over for a party, even if they won’t be due to potential illness. Let yourself decorate your home for YOU and appreciate all that you’ve done to make your home feel festive for yourself and your family, despite all challenges and tribulations.” –Sam K.

white brick fireplace with layers of beads, garland and brass holiday decor

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Spread Some Joy

Don’t stop at just making your home a space of joy. Take some time this holiday season to look beyond yourself and spread some joy to others. Whether that’s baking some cookies for a neighbor who lives alone, inviting a couple people over for a backyard winter bonfire, or volunteering with your favorite non-profit, now’s the perfect time to do something for others.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Want to see people and spread some joy? Bake some pies or cookies and go deliver them to people who are spending the holidays alone. Just because we can’t all be together doesn’t mean we should all be alone.” –Katelin S.

fireplace mantle with wildflower bouquet and bar-ware

Create Winter Rituals

Instead of focusing on the things you won’t be able to do this year, why not start some new traditions? They don’t have to be big, either. Small, simple rituals—like lighting a candle and meditating each morning or setting up a reading nook by the fire where you can curl up at night—will help you feel more grounded, during the holidays and beyond.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“I have various small rituals for the holidays and the time leading up to them. In Autumn, I change all the candles in the house to black. It’s rich and elegant and perfect for my family’s style. Starting a ritual or continuing one during the pandemic is more important than ever for grounding the spirit and creating a safe retreat from the world.” –Don L.

“We’re keeping traditions that have nothing to do with large gatherings and are focusing on those—like going for a morning run in the park and having cider on the porch by the fire at night.” –Brielle M.

beige accent chair with small dog

Focus on the People Under Your Own Roof

We may not be able to have big gatherings of family and friends this year. But that makes it a perfect time to focus on your immediate family or housemates. Create some new traditions and find new ways to connect with each other. Whether that’s letting each person in your household plan an activity they want to do or each of you making a special dish for a holiday dinner, make the most of the time you have together. (And maybe even infuse some of those new winter rituals into your time together!)

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Since this year won’t include the same fun outings I am planning on making the most of our time at home with our immediate family. We’ll be doing things like making yummy desserts together, watching holiday movies, decorating the house as a family, and even doing some fall-inspired crafts.” –Amanda L.

“Times are definitely different this year for everyone but celebrating holidays is something we still need to do to keep our spirits high and to allow the kids to have some of the holiday magic they always look forward to. If you are unable to do your normal traditions, make new ones! Get dressed up and have a fancy Thanksgiving dinner with just your household, whomever it may be!” –Katelin S.

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Bring Back the Virtual Gatherings

Remember this spring when we were all great at keeping (virtually) in touch with all our friends, through Zoom happy hours and long Facetime calls? By the time summer hit, a lot of us were feeling Zoom fatigue and cut back on virtual gatherings. But, with winter coming it’s time to bring virtual gatherings back for special occasions and holidays.

Does your family play games at every holiday gathering? Keep the tradition alive by organizing a game you can easily play virtually. Does your friend have a signature punch she makes for her holiday party each year? Have her send out the recipe so you and all of your friends can mix up a batch and enjoy a virtual gathering. Get creative in how you can keep special traditions alive this year.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Thanksgiving will be small this year, however, we plan on playing Scattergories virtually with lots of family members! This is a perfect game to play. All you have to do is send the list via text or email and call out the letter to start. The host house will shout out the timer when it’s done and everyone can share their answers. We laugh non-stop!”  –Kelly W.
woman arranging flowers on dining table

Cook The Same Meal From Afar

Even if you can’t all be together for the holidays, break out the family-favorite recipes and have everyone make the same meal! Then, set up your laptop for a video call with everyone. Eating the same meal together, even when far apart, will make you feel closer together.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“We are cooking our traditional holiday meal using grandma’s recipes and then plan to virtually “sit down” together with all of our family members that we would normally see in person.” –Shelly S.

“Keeping safe is so important right now, but no one truly loves being alone during the holidays. Virtual dinners and drinks are perfect for those who can’t make it to their family physically. Set up a spot for your loved ones at the table and have fun cooking the same dishes together, from afar!” –Becky S.

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Practice Gratitude

COVID has taken a lot away from many of us. But perhaps it has also given you some gifts. Use this time to reflect on what you have gained this year—whether that’s more time in an ordinarily hectic schedule, a new hobby, or perhaps even a new love!

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“We spent the beginning part of quarantine learning how to garden. Now we have an abundance of zucchini as well as a few pumpkins! We plan to help the kids write what we are thankful for all around the pumpkin. Even though there is a lot we are missing, there is still so much to be grateful for.” –Lacey P.

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When It Comes to Gifting, Think Cozy

We’ll all be spending so much time at home this winter. So, think about cozy comfort when gifting this holiday season! Plush materials like velvets, furs, and chunky knits (in throws, pillows, and even sweaters) will keep you and your loved ones cozy all winter long.

Here’s how our designers are doing it…

“Sending cozy items like throw blankets or personalized candles as holiday gifts can help make your loved ones feel closer. It’s basically like sending them a hug!“ –Valentina

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Celebrate the Little Things With these 5 Fall-Ready Tablescapes

This year, as we prepare for fall gatherings and entertaining (or get ready for hunkering down at home with just our families) we’re getting back to basics with earth tones, natural textures, and special touches to make each space feel welcoming and warm. One way we’re infusing this warmth into our homes? Fall tablescapes.

A tablescape is one of those low-cost dining room design ideas that can really transform the look and feel of your space. In fact, if you’re wondering how to prep your dining room for entertaining, outfitting your table with a gorgeous tablescape is one of the simplest ways. They’re a perfect way to bring joy home this season, as you enjoy cozy fall dinners. So, whether you’re hosting a small gathering and looking for Thanksgiving tablescape ideas or celebrating solo—we’ve got a look to inspire you.

thanksgiving tablescape ideas

Rustic and Ready to Entertain

Bring on the fall vibes! You can celebrate all the colors and coziness of the season with this rustic tablescape. It’s perfect for the lover of all things fall decor, as it brings in a mixture of pumpkins and pinecones, natural materials, and fall foliage. Plus, a beautiful mix of rich, warm fall colors! (Layering in fall decor is one of our favorite fall decor tips for your dining room.) This is a great look for fall gatherings and entertaining—and makes perfect Thanksgiving tabletop decor.

Tips to get this look:

Start with a table runner in a rich fall hue to help ground the center of the table. Then layer decor pieces of various sizes along the center to create a sense of depth. For the true centerpiece of the table, opt for something natural to soften the look and add a pop of nature.

If you have other surfaces in your dining room, extend your tablescape decor to other parts of the room, like we did here with the credenza and the wreath.

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thanksgiving tablescape ideas

Cool, Calm, and Collected

This coastal-inspired fall dining nook is the perfect spot for a casual but festive brunch. Natural texture meets weathered woods to create a space that’s full of rustic charm. And a light, neutral color scheme keeps things bright and cheery as the days start getting shorter! This type of simple table setting is perfect for smaller gatherings during the holiday season.

Tips to get this look:

Ground the center of your table with a small centerpiece that doesn’t have a lot of height. That way you can still see the people sitting across the table from you! A bowl of seasonal fruit is a great option. A collection of gourds, pears, apples, or figs are all great for injecting some earthy color into your tablescape while still creating a natural, rustic look. For place settings, layer in placemats and chargers to add depth of texture and visual interest to the tabletop itself.

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A Trendy Take on Fall Tablescapes

Gather loved ones for a sophisticated but laid back dinner with this neutral, trendy twist on fall decor. We veered away from traditional fall decor in this look, and instead opted for white pumpkins and natural accents such as pampas grass. Cane—a very trendy natural material this season, found in these dining chairs—mixes well with other natural materials to create the ultimate trendy-casual tablescape.

Tips to get this look:

This look is all about simplicity and a neutral color palette. Let foliage be a main decorative element in your tablescape, then layer in white pumpkins or gourds in earthy neutrals. Then, bring in some marble pieces—like decorative bowls and vases—to elevate the look, and pair them with ceramics and delicate glassware. Bring in easy natural materials such as jute, cane and seagrass to balance out the more formal look of marble.

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Making Industrial Cozy and Inviting

If you gravitate toward a moody, industrial look, but want things to be a bit more cozy and inviting for fall gatherings, consider this look. The base of the room is quite industrial, but we added organic modern elements to the tablescape, with some natural materials and earth tones (one of our favorite trendy fall color schemes), to give this spread a much warmer look.

Tips to get this look:

Warm up the industrial metals in the room with accents of wood and natural materials in your table setting and around the room—from baskets to woven placemats and wooden bowls. Using a long wooden bowl as a centerpiece gives an organic element to this industrial space and softens the look. Candles scattered around the tablescape will bring added warmth and layered lighting. When hosting guests, give each place setting a personal touch with place cards, and perhaps even a small pumpkin to decorate or take home!

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A Refined and Welcoming Set-Up

Bring comfort and ease to your fall tablescape with some seasonal decor and thoughtful elements. There’s a rustic warmth about this dining room, with the combination of lighter woods, linen, and white dinnerware giving off a refined but welcoming look to this fall table setting.

Tips to get this look:

Center the table with a bouquet of fall foliage to help ground the design. Then, decorate with vibrant pumpkins—both on the table and around the room. Both the fall foliage and pumpkins work beautifully with the light wood of the table. Need a little extra seating for some last-minute Thanksgiving prep? A dining bench is a great way to squeeze a few extra people around the table.

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thanksgiving tablescape ideasA Cozy Tablescape for Virtual Gatherings

Can’t gather for Thanksgiving dinner in person? You can still make a virtual gathering special with some simple fall decor. Whether it’s just you and a partner or friend, or just you virtually joining family members across the country, you can give your intimate table setting and elevated feel with layered table settings for more warmth and texture.

Tips to get this look:

Even if it’s just you, you can still make dinner feel special. Bust out the good cutlery, fancy dishes, and serving platters to make it feel more like an event. If you want some simple fall centerpiece ideas, opt for a petite pumpkin—or get yourself a bouquet of fall blooms for some cheery color! And if you’re joining a video call, be sure to elevate your computer for optimal viewing.

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Thanksgiving Prep: Easy, Last-Minute Tips to Get Your Dining Room Ready

Hosting a Thanksgiving gathering and feeling frenzied? You’re not alone. Between cooking and coordinating, there never seems to be enough time for Thanksgiving prep. But setting up your dining room with the right flow and flexibility can help you easily host a comfortable holiday meal.

If you’re pressed for time, we’ve got some tips that are easy to implement, even at the last minute!

Here are our favorite quick tips to help get your dining room ready.

thanksgiving prep

1. Accommodate Extra Guests

Be prepared to have a seat for the extra family member or the friend-of-a-friend (who forgot to RSVP) by pulling in ottomans, benches, and stools from other areas in your home.

These moveable pieces are a practical and perfect, last-minute way to accommodate additional guests at large gatherings. Ready a few around the room—guests can perch here with their cocktails before dinner, or simply use them as a spot for placing bags and coats.


2. Make Drinks Self-Serve

It’s as simple as pulling in a bar cart to allow guests to stir up their own drinks. Choose an option with casters, AKA wheels, that you can easily move around.

This allows you the flexibility of placing your bar cart in the corner for cocktail hour and then moving it into another room for post-dinner drinks and coffee.

thanksgiving prep

3. Make More Room to Gather

Expandable dining tables with leaves are perfect for hosting big events. They ensure you’ll never be short on space when having a dinner party, but won’t take up too much room on a daily basis.

Stylist Tip: Choose a rug that’s sized to your table when it’s expanded. We recommend that your entire table and chairs sit fully on top of a rug. You won’t have to worry about the rug getting caught under chair legs as your guests scoot in and out.

4. Eliminate Trips Back and Forth

Just as you would have a drinks station for your guests, create a buffet area on a credenza for appetizers and desserts.

This will keep you from having to make trips back and forth to the kitchen. Not to mention, once dinner is over, everyone knows exactly where to find the sweets and pies. Keep some extra plates and napkins in the cupboards of your credenza and you’re all set.

Ready to pep your space for hosting?