As the holiday season approached, the CDC has advised that those at increased risk of severe COVID-19 should avoid in-person gatherings. Many Marine families will be staying home this holiday season to help keep their families safe.

It’s time to up our Thanksgiving Staycation game!

Marine Corps Community Services and the Marine Exchange are here to help you gear up for the ultimate staycation.

If you’re in your local Marine Corps Exchange, look for Raider the Elf to help you find all of your Staycation supplies.

Hot Cocoa & Holiday Movies: What is better than curling up under a festive throw, or a heated blanket, with a cup of your favorite hot cocoa while you watch your favorite holiday movies? Nothing we can think of! Grab some gourmet popcorn, or your favorite snack mix, and cozy up with a hot cup of chocolate.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try some Moose Munch flavored cocoa, or go with an old standard and make a traditional cup of hot cocoa with the recipe below.

Hot Chocolate:

¼ Cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

1/3 cup of water

4 cups of milk (or milk substitute)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a saucepan, mix the dry ingredients. Add the water and bring it to boil, keep boiling for 1 minute.

Add the milk.

Heat to the temperature you like, then add the vanilla, stir and serve.

Game Time: Were you lucky enough to snag a new PlayStation 5? If you weren’t one of the perks of not having large gatherings this year is not feeling guilty about how much time you spend in front of the tv. Grab your gaming partners at home, and online, and plan for some guilt-free game time.  

Meal Time: Unfortunately, not going to grandma’s means that you probably have to make your own meal this. Not to worry though, the Marine Corps Exchange has Thanksgiving roasters conveniently placed on end caps throughout their stores to help make sure you have the supplies you need to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. As for a recipe for your turkey, make sure grandma knows how to use video chat so she can guide you through it.

If the smells from the kitchen don’t get you into the holiday mood, spend some time decorating your house with things like festive hand towels in the kitchen or seasonal scented candles. 

Pandemic Holiday Fashion: You don’t have to worry about what to pack for your Thanksgiving Staycation, and by now we’ve all embraced the casual work from home look, or virtual school uniform. It’s Thanksgiving though, and time to step it up 2020 style. Grab your best pair of stretchy pants, or shell out a few bucks for some new athleisure wear. It’s pandemic casual this year.

Staying Connected: Even though we’ve all mastered video conferencing for work or school, spending the holidays with our loved ones virtually is a little different. While it is definitely less formal, it is still important to take the time to find a good setup so that you can make the most out of this time together. Consider investing in a stand for your device so that you can talk hands-free, or a longer charging cable so you don’t spend your day wired to the wall. You can find a lot of helpful accessories at your local Marine Corps Exchange.

However you spend your pandemic Thanksgiving, stay safe, and continue to follow all the CDC guidance.

If you’re trying to avoid crowds, grab your computer and visit the MY MCX website and take advantage of the new NEX and MCX partnership and do your shopping in the safety of your house. The Marine Corps Exchange is the place to shop for Marines and their families.