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How to have a healthy and happy holiday season despite COVID-19

Things are changing to account for COVID-19, but that isn't stopping the holidays from coming to Northeast Ohio.

CLEVELAND — If you are looking for a fun festive way to enjoy the holidays safely, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities.

“Christmas tree season gets very busy,” says Carol Haramis, co-owner of Heritage Farms, a popular destination for many fall and winter activities. But Christmas tree season is one of their busiest times of year. “Our biggest weekend will be Thanksgiving weekend,” Haramis says.

Farms like Heritage are taking extra precautions this year to keep customers safe, by spacing out pre-cut tree sales areas, suspending hayrides, and helping with signs to keep visitors socially distanced. Some of the favorite traditions may be missing this year, but there’s no reason you can’t get out and pick your own tree, as long as you keep your distance.

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“People really want to get outside and be able to enjoy a family tradition,” Haramis agreed.

When it comes holiday lights, it’s an activity made for social distancing.

“Families are safe. They stay in their cars and can drive through and see all the wonderful lights,” said Joe Borkey who has helped create the family-friendly drive-thru Magic of Lights this year at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. It kicks off Wednesday, November 25, and runs through Saturday, January 2.

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Over a mile long with a million plus lights, it’s the perfect way to take in the magic of the holidays from the safety of your own vehicle.

They also have a plan to light things up at the zoo as well.

“So here we are at the Cleveland Metropark Zoo and back for its second year, Wild Winter Lights,” said Brian Zimmeran, CEO of the Cleveland Metroparks.

With your tree and light-viewing taken care of, there are still other activities to keep you active and festive while remaining safe in Northeast Ohio, whether it’s taking in the new Winterfest in the Flats, or taking in a hill on a sled.

“Our toboggans are a time-honored tradition. They will be opening right around Thanksgiving weekend. And Merwin’s Wharf will be the center of activity for a synthetic sheet of ice, and really a way for people to enjoy the winter months in a safe, socially distanced way on the Cuyahoga River,” Zimmerman said.