To be sure, this will be a holiday season like none other. As COVID cases continue to rise, it appears we will need to modify our usual holiday traditions. Instead of gathering around a big table for holiday feasts, we will be having “virtual” dinners assisted by technology. We will need to mail gifts rather than hand deliver them. The fun and festive holiday cookie exchanges may turn into virtual recipe exchange Zoom parties.
Those who have experienced loss or hardship over this year may unfortunately find this holiday season exceedingly difficult. They may be unable to experience the comforting touch or in-person support of a loved one. Personally, I live in upstate New York and my daughter lives in Florida. She experienced some mental health issues stemming from COVID and more than anything I would love to go visit and comfort her. However, I am high risk and have opted to err on the side of caution by staying home.
I am hoping to have at least a brief socially distant visit with my granddaughter Winry and my “rainbow grandson” Rory. We have only seen them a few times since the pandemic hit and I miss them terribly.
I am thinking about how to get through this holiday season.
First, I suggest setting reasonable expectations. Maybe you don’t need to visit every shopping mall nearby—rely on online shopping if need be. Also, buy gift cards for presents that support local businesses to help stimulate the economy. Or, donate in someone’s name to his or her favorite charity. Especially during this difficult time, focus on what people need more than what they want.
Second, modify your holiday traditions. My daughter used to love making holiday cookies and desserts with me. I’m thinking we’ll plan a virtual baking party before the holidays.
Third, engage in the holiday festivities at your own comfort level. Do what your spirit and heart lead you to do if it’s been a difficult year. If you want to play holiday music before Thanksgiving, go for it! If you are not up to decorating at full throttle, don’t. I know my decorations will be rather low key this year and will consist of those that hold the most meaning for me.
Fourth, enjoy the quiet and stillness of this holiday season. Use it to connect with yourself and nature. One of my favorite activities is walking in the Pine Bush Preserve after a snowfall. Everything feels crisp and new.
Fifth, embrace the faith, hope, and joy that are always part of the season. Believe that things will get better.
Finally, whatever your faith tradition, remember the reason for the season. Be present in the moment. Rejoice!