christmas lights on house outdoor decorations.jpg

These are uncertain times. But even as we maintain our social distance and do what we can to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe, there’s much we can do to lift our spirits and show solidarity with our neighbors.

Here, we’ve put together five ways to brighten your mood — and your neighborhood — while you’re spending more time at home.

Hang your holiday lights

Have you seen this trend on the news? Neighbors across the country are banding together to hang their holiday lights in the off-season and bring a bit of cheer to their communities.

This is a great activity to get you out of the house for a quick project in the fresh air. Then, enjoy your neighborhood’s efforts with a nice stroll or drive to take in the twinkling view. If you’d rather not hang your own lights, consider supporting a small business and hire a local pro to do it for you, no face-to-face contact required.

Chalk your driveway

With a little chalk and inspiration, you can create a community art walk in your neighborhood. Design murals to decorate your driveway and sidewalk and give your neighbors something to enjoy when they look out the window. Or consider writing a few riddles on the pavement for walkers to solve as they stroll by. You might even encourage a quick game of hopscotch for passing families.

Create DIY decor

Need a change of scenery to brighten up your home? Have a contest with your neighbors to see who can create the best DIY decor with items you already have laying around the house.

For example, you can create a new wreath by wrapping ribbon around a bent wire hanger, hot-gluing it in place, and adding pretty baubles like fake flowers and beads to make it stand out. Or make a festive paper garland for Easter using string, scissors, colored paper and tape. Once you’ve finished your crafts, hang them outside. Or share photos and vote for the winner.

Entertain from afar

Self-isolating from your neighbors doesn’t mean you can’t interact with them in some ways. Take this time to entertain your neighborhood with your musical talents. Grab that old guitar, keyboard or saxophone and step onto the patio to serenade your surrounding community. Or, if you have a portable projector, consider hanging a sheet on the back of your house and projecting a movie for your family to enjoy.

Focus on outdoor projects

If you’re catching cabin fever, now’s a great time to turn your attention to your yard. Start clearing away leftover winter debris and break out seeds to plant in your container garden. Then, pull out any patio furniture sitting in storage so you can begin enjoying the sun — you might even want to hang up that old hammock sitting in the garage. Hopefully, your neighbors will follow your lead and take steps to brighten up their own outdoor space. If you’d rather not take on yard care, consider hiring a landscaping pro to help you out — they can complete many outdoor projects with little to no contact.