5 pandemic-safe ways you can enjoy the long holiday weekend here in Birmingham

lanterns at the zoo, holiday weekend in Birmingham
I don’t know about you but I really really want to see those lanterns at Glow Wild at the zoo. Photo via Birmingham Zoo’s Facebook

According to our recent audience poll, most of y’all are planning to stay home this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. We pulled together a list of five pandemic-safe ways we can enjoy this long holiday weekend here in Birmingham. Keep reading for the details, then let us know what you’ve got planned.

1. Get into the Christmas spirit with virtual + drive-in church services

Christmas Eve goodie bags, Christmas holiday weekend in Birmingham
Asbury UMC has the sweetest little Christmas Eve bags. Photo via Asbury UMC

2020 has brought out everybody’s creativity, and Birmingham’s churches are no exception. Slip into something comfy, brew yourself a warm beverage and get ready for music and a message sure to inspire. Here in The Magic City, we are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to religious offerings.

2. Support our local restaurants, bars + breweries 🍻 over the long Christmas weekend

Santa's favorite chicken at Bay Leaf, available over Christmas weekend in Birmingham
I’ll have what Santa’s having—Santa’s Favorite Chicken from Bay Leaf’s holiday menu. Photo via Hannah Chambley for Bham Now

If you choose to go out on this chilly long weekend (55 is the high on Sunday, and before that it’ll be a lot colder than we’re used to in these parts), a number of spots now offer heated patios and covered dining tents.

You may have heard that Fancy’s on Fifth is closing after December 31. Whether or not they’ll return remains to be determined, but the good news is you can still get food from this Avondale favorite on December 26, December 30 or December 31. To make a reservation, visit resy.com or email info@fancyson5th.com.

Fear not, though, if you’d rather stay in and get takeout. Every time I see one of our pieces on Bay Leaf’s offerings, I want to try every. single. thing. Lucky for us, their holiday menu is available for pick up or dine in between now and January 1.

By the end of the weekend, if you’ve eaten all the food you made or ordered for Christmas, here are 6 places where you can get takeout on Sundays.

For the planners in the house, why not go ahead and order your food for New Year’s Eve?

Finally, don’t forget that alcohol to go is a thing again, so you can ask about that when you put in your food order.

3. Go for a drive 🚘

Just a few of the sights you can see in downtown Birmingham. Video via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

One of the ruts people can fall into is thinking that staying home literally means staring at the same four walls. But you can hop in the car and go explore parts of town you haven’t seen, like these five historic neighborhoods in Birmingham.

When you’re tired of looking at beautiful homes and neighborhood holiday decorations, there are gorgeous light displays and drive-through light shows if you don’t mind a mini-road trip and are ready for a change of scenery.

4. Get outside 🥾 to enjoy the long holiday weekend in Birmingham

poinsettia tree at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, a way to enjoy the holiday weekend in Birmingham
Doesn’t this poinsettia tree make everything more beautiful? Photo via Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

They don’t call it Alabama the Beautiful for nothing. Our area is blessed with an abundance of large natural areas where you can get your blood pumping while staying COVID-safe. Think Ruffner Mountain, Railroad Park, Vulcan Trail, Rotary Trail, Red Mountain Park, Jemison Trail, Oak Mountain State Park…and that’s just off the top of my head in a very small radius.

If movement is your goal, we’ve got some great ideas for how to get active outside even when it’s cold.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a fan-favorite, and the perfect place to go for a stroll when you need to feast your eyes on something beautiful. Bonus: they are open 365 days a year. Be sure to look for their poinsettia tree—a holiday tradition for 57 years.

5. Know that if this holiday season has got you down, you are not alone 🌟

(205) 323-7777 is the crisis line for the Crisis Center here in Birmingham. It’s also a great number to have on speed dial when things are tough. Video via Crisis Center, Inc.

For so many of us, the joy of the holidays is in the people and the traditions we hold dear. Don’t be surprised if there’s real grief at the loss of being able to hug people you love, or carry on in the way your family has for years.

We talked with the chaplains at Children’s of Alabama to get their best advice for navigating this holiday season, and we also put together a list of grief resources. Stigma against reaching out for help is so yesterday. #2020strong means knowing when the load’s gotten too heavy for you to bear alone and reaching out for help.

Now tell us, Birmingham, what are you most looking forward to this long holiday weekend? Tag us on Facebook + Instagram @bhamnow or on Twitter @now_bham and let us know.

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