1. Find personal space.
Multiple family members or roommates working remotely, distance learning, and trying to entertain themselves at the same time under the same roof can create a special kind of chaos. Some days, every space and device seems to be occupied by virtual meetings, lessons, and play dates. Escaping to a coffee shop, a park bench, or the public library isn’t always an option. Enter the car as a quiet, private spot to catch up on emails, make and take calls, or listen to music or a podcast, perhaps even while still parked outside your home within wi-fi range.
“The noise alone drove me—no pun intended—to the car,” says Ashlee Gadd, a Sacramento mom and founder of the website and podcast Coffee and Crumbs. “I grabbed my laptop, moved the passenger seat all the way back, and enjoyed silence for 45 minutes. I responded to a few emails, worked on an essay I hadn’t touched in weeks, and just enjoyed being alone with my thoughts. I never knew my car in my driveway could become such an oasis.”
Smart tip: Need a change of scenery? Park at a greenbelt or vista point with decent cell coverage and use your phone’s wi-fi hotspot feature to work remotely. Or, if your local public library offers free wi-fi, find a shady or sunny spot in its parking lot.
2. Celebrate loved ones.
Even when you’re able to gather safely, blowing out candles on a shared cake and congregating around a punch bowl seem like fraught activities these days. The newest birthday, graduation, or retirement party must-have is a car parade. Celebrate the milestones of friends and family with a procession of decked-out vehicles. (Other modes of travel—bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, shoes—can serve just as well with respect to the social-distancing guidelines in your community.)
Tips for Planning a Car Parade
- Plan. Collaborate with the honoree’s partner, parents, or friends on the best date, time, and location. The route should be easily drivable—such as a quiet, low-trafficked residential street—with a parking lot or other good location nearby for meeting and staging. For example, if you live in high-density housing on a busy street, your location might be a school, a community center, or a church as an alternative on a slow day or time.
- Invite. Text or email details and a marked street map to invitees. (At least 10 cars will make the parade feel substantial; larger families can consider bringing two cars.) Note where to meet, where the honoree will be positioned, which streets and turns to take along the route, which car to follow (typically the host’s car leads), and how many laps will be made.
- Decorate. All participants should meet at the staging area at least 30 minutes before the parade begins to decorate their own vehicles with streamers, balloons, photos, signs, banners, or chalk-marker messages. Noisemakers and pinwheels are especially attention-grabbing. Be sure to put decor—and seat passengers—on the side of the vehicle that will be facing the honoree as you drive by. Gifts can be stowed in the host’s trunk. (The honoree’s housemates might also decorate with yard signs, a “lawn chair of honor,” and more.)
- Parade. Caravan along the route, driving very slowly—5 mph or less. If it is safe to do so, participants may pause briefly in front of the honoree to cheer, sing, or share celebratory remarks. Make at least one additional lap—or more if there are fewer cars—to maximize fun and photo ops.
- Clean up. While participants return to the meeting place to remove decorations, the host can make one last lap, to deliver cards, flowers, food, or gifts from all participants.