Earlier this year, COVID took us all by surprise, forcing us to face unimaginable challenges and rearrange our lives. As the holiday season is upon us, we are once again faced with readjusting our traditions and expectations. For many, the holidays used to mean gathering with loved ones, traveling, and socially connecting to spread cheer and joy. However, with the end of this pandemic unknown, we continue to be asked to put our health and the health of others first during this season. But this doesn’t mean the holiday spirit has to be lost. Here are some creative ways to stay connected and spread some holiday cheer with your loved ones during this unusual season:
By now we have all mastered connecting with other virtually. Although many of us prefer to disconnect from technology during the holidays as a way to relax, it may be the very thing we now need to continue to stay connected. There are many creative “gatherings” that can be done virtually. Some of these include caroling and singing via Zoom or drinking hot cocoa and telling memorable family stories over Facetime. Streaming services like Netflix have even added watch party options where you can watch your favorite Christmas movies and chat with others simultaneously.
For those looking to step away from the screen, another option to stay connected is via snail mail. The holidays are a perfect time to create pen pal letters with friends or send Secret Santa gifts or “just because” gifts to family. One idea is having a group of loved ones complete a list of “favorites” and exchange the list with one another. Throughout the season, or even throughout the year, randomly send gifts from the list. These are great ways to let those closest to you know that you are thinking of them in a meaningful way.
What about connecting with those in your own household? Many of us have been quarantined or in the house with the same people for some time now. If this is the case, you can still be creative during the holidays by being intentional about how you bond during this time. Disconnecting from technology would be ideal in this situation because it sets a clear boundary between working or schooling from home and allows you all to be present in the moment and spend quality time together. Try game nights, “I Spy” Christmas Edition throughout the house or neighborhood, reading Christmas books or sharing memories with one another, or even starting new traditions this year!
Lastly, let’s not neglect our mental health. Now more than ever is an important time to implement self-care. With many social forms of self-care less available to us in these times, we must reconsider what self-care looks like. Again, some of the ideas listed above are great ways to meaningfully be social while distancing. Another form of self-care that can be helpful during this time is holiday prep. Decorating the tree or cooking or preparing meals and treats can improve mood and spirit and give something to look forward to. It is also a way to bond with your children.
Although things may look a little different this holiday season, meaningful connection with loved ones and self-care are still possible and attainable amongst these unusual times. Wishing everyone good health and joy. Happy Holidays!