2020 Quarantine Trends, Ranked
It’s the roundup fit only for 2020.
While we might have made it through nine months of quarantine, it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our highs—like that glimmer of hope when restaurants reopened for outdoor dining—and we’ve had our lows (yes, I’m referring to that celebrity clad Imagine video). But something that’s stayed consistent through quarantine is our ability to find new and unique ways to stave off boredom. Our collective ingenuity has resulted in some interesting trends. With everything from viral dances to sourdough starters, 2020 has been the year of the “new hobby” (among other things). After rounding up some of 2020’s most popular quarantine trends, we’re looking at which ones will make the cut for 2021.
10. TikTok Dances
While we might laugh at the idea of learning the dances popularized by Gen-Z, this fast-paced and arm-centric choreography is nothing short of incredibly difficult. At one point in quarantine, likely after watching your younger cousin post her version of the Renegade dance, you might have thought, “You know what, I’m bored and haven’t moved from the couch in days, let me give it a go” only to learn this wasn’t the walk in the park you anticipated. Each count calls for a new move, pushing both your heart rate and patience to their limits. While we commend those who participated (and continue to participate) in this viral trend, we’re going to have to give it the good-old last place prize. While we might be able to eventually get the movements down, no amount of time or practice will get us to the point where “head-knock to body roll” looks cool enough to post for all to see.
You all successfully duped me, and to that I say congrats! After hearing nothing but wonderful reviews of puzzling—“It really makes the time go by quickly!”—I threw what I knew about my patience to the wind and dove in. Then it hit me why, in normal times, we don’t gather ‘round with friends and family on the weekends to piece together Monet’s Water Lily Pond : it’s not fun. Sure, it passes the time, but at what cost? Sometimes you have to make the tough choice between being bored and partaking in an activity that will cause both frustration and anxiety—nine out of 10 times, I’m choosing boredom.
This trend was a lot cooler in theory. There’s nothing really wrong with it, other than the time and money put into something that likely could have been thrifted. When you start a tie-dying project, you might not know it, but you have a specific result in mind. Getting that desired end goal (especially with something as finicky as dye directed by scrunches and rubber bands) is tricky, if not impossible. We’ll give credit where credit is due—tie-dying passed time. What it didn’t do, however, is give me the trendy and perfectly patterned sweatsuit I’d seen all over Instagram.
7. Bread Baking
After searching the grocery store high and low month after month for instant yeast and bread flour, we finally got our hands on the next quarantine project, and it wasn’t quite as simple as social media made it seem. Bread baking ruled the beginning of quarantine. While most have baked cookies or whipped together a box of cake mix, bread was a new beast to tackle, sure to be both time-consuming and tasty. The reality for many though was that it was just time-consuming, with something you can’t really call bread coming out of the oven. Why it ranks above tie-dye though is that a select few mastered the art of bread making and shared their accomplishments with the rest of us baking-challenged—for that, we say thank you, and please let this trend carry into 2021.
6. Dalgona Coffee
Even those of us who have successfully avoided downloading TikTok were unable to avoid this trend. While it might have blown up on the Gen-Z app, Dalgona coffee—popularly referred to as whipped coffee—was everywhere. Everyone from your niece to your favorite chef was putting their own spin on this new concoction, which consisted of sugar, instant coffee, water, and your favorite milk (wonderfully simple compared to other trends). While this was fun to take pictures of and dollop atop a glass of iced milk, the actual consuming part wasn’t easy—once you’ve mixed it all together there goes the beauty of the drink. On top of that, this drink was a bit dessert-y for the morning, and a bit too caffeinated for dessert, making the “and when do I drink this” part an anomaly.
5. Tiger King
Oh, for the days when we all watched the same bats–t crazy docuseries individually but felt so connected. It seems the world learned about the absurdity of Tiger King on the same day and proceeded to watch it in its entirety that week. That first month of quarantine was something else, as most of us had never experienced a lockdown of that magnitude. After nearly a year it feels silly to have been so utterly woeful of social isolation during those first few weeks (having had so long to grow accustomed to it now), but that time was lonely. Having something both entertaining and connecting was something many of us considered a miracle. Joe Exotic, his cats, and his murder plots were something you could have never expected and you could never run out of different ways to talk about—it was a uniting force during a lonely time. If only we had more.
4. Roller Skating
There’s no way you can hate on this trend—it was simple, peaceful, and sunny. People dragged their old skates out of storage and others went online to grab some new and trendy ones so they could head to empty parking lots and perfect their skating moves. It was the perfect way to spend a summer that was socially distanced—you got outside to start a new activity, all the while doing your own thing (spatially speaking). Maybe you roller-skated to songs on Instagram or practiced new moves for when rinks reopen—no matter the approach or reason, there was just something joyous about slipping on a pair of skates and rolling around freely!
3. WFH Fits
It’s as simple as this: I hate jeans. And being at home has introduced many of us to the wonders of the work-from-home outfit, meaning loungewear all day every day. No longer are you experiencing the post-lunch bloat in your tight pants at your cubicle, because you now get the luxury of eating whatever your heart desires at lunch without the concern of “Will this pop a button?” Sweats have stretch, they’re comfy, they can be cute (depending on the design), and they let us roll out of bed and into our desk in approximately seven minutes. Never before have we experienced this level of sleeping in and, to that we must thank the WFH fit.
2. Road Trips
This is a travel publication after all, so of course, this year’s travel trend has to be in the top three. This year has been the year of many things (some of which are listed above), but here at Fodor’s, nothing has been quite as popular (or as helpful to the industry) as “The Year of the Road Trip.” 2020 did limit our ability to take the international trips of our dreams, but in cutting us off from the rest of the world, it forced us to appreciate the unique and beautiful small towns and parks just a short drive away. Not only did it give us a break from the mundane, something we truly learned the meaning of this year, but it reignited a passion for experiencing not just destinations afar but those in our backyard. Road tripping wasn’t just to hold us over, it’s here to stay (though, we won’t oppose something a little more far-flung when the world allows for it).
1. Pet Adoption
Sometimes boredom breeds creativity (see above), other times it gets us off our couch and to the animal shelter. Quarantine presented a feeling of loneliness a lot of us had never had to face head-on. It was hard and sad and we so desperately missed our friends…so we went to the shelter to adopt a new one. Pet adoption had never seen a moment quite like this, where suddenly everyone had both more time and the need for companionship. Whether fostered or adopted, shelter animals were given the special treatment this year, supplying much-needed love for those of us at home (we all win!). We have to give this first place because 1. So many animals were given loving homes; and 2. Neither bread, nor tie-dye, nor a vacation could bring quite the joy a furry friend can!