Edited October 2022: As I near the holiday season this year I can’t help but think back to two years ago when we were so full of uncertainty and fear. Though COVID-19 has settled down in many places, there are still times when the holiday celebration we expect doesn’t pan out for one reason or another.
The following tips are a great reminder of how we can celebrate the holidays in new and different ways when life doesn’t go as planned.
One question I think we have all been asking is “how to enjoy the holiday season in 2020”.
Way back in March when our lives were turned upside down by COVID-19, I wondered how long things would be “different”. We were only a few weeks away from Easter and I wondered if we would be able to gather together as we had in the past.
Sadly, we didn’t gather together for Easter and I remember talking with my mom telling her we could make up our missed family Easter celebration in the summer when everything “calmed down”.
But sadly things didn’t calm down and here we are in the middle of the 2020 holiday season.
Not The Traditional Holiday
Nothing about 2020 has felt normal. Birthday parties have included drive-by hellos from those we love. Baby showers have been celebrated over the computer rather than with brunch.
And here we are, in the thick of the holiday season 2020, still unable (or rather advised) to stay distanced from those we love.
And sure the distance is important. After all, we have a duty to care for those of us that are the most vulnerable. But even knowing that, it doesn’t make the distance any less difficult.
Making the Best of this New Holiday Season
It can be very difficult to not feel burdened, sad, or even angry when you realize this year’s holidays won’t look the way we are used to them looking. But here are a few tips for making the most of our Covid Holiday Season
1. Allow Yourself to Feel What You Feel
The holidays this year likely don’t look or feel as carefree as they have in the past and that may have you feeling new feelings surrounding the holidays.
Do you find yourself feeling scared? Annoyed? Angry? Sad?
It is important to realize whatever you are feeling is normal and valid. And most of all should be acknowledged.
Take a minute to sit with how you feel. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of what your holidays typically include.
2. Consider What You Enjoy Most About the Holidays and Create Your Own Version
Celebrating holidays in the middle of a global pandemic hasn’t been easy. Even though many aspects of our holiday gatherings are changing this year, there are still things ways we can celebrate.
For Thanksgiving we typically head to my parents’ house to spend the day with our big family and eat loads of yummy food, but that isn’t happening this year.
In an attempt to keep everyone safe, our family has decided to stay home for the holiday. But we will still be celebrating!
What we enjoy most about the time with family is the ease and flow of the day, the yummy food, and the relaxing evening of goofy holiday movies while sitting on the couch.
So our day will include a yummy Thanksgiving meal, Christmas movies, and time together as a family. We are still sad to not see everyone, but we will use video calling to spend some time together this year.
3. Utilize Technology to Bring Your Loved Ones Near
Traveling and gathering in large groups has not been recommended this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your family entirely.
Zoom has announced that for the full day of Thanksgiving they will be lifting the time limits on their free accounts. This means you and your family can spend time chatting without time restrictions.
4. Find This Year’s Beauty
This year doesn’t look like years past. Families all around the globe are changing the way they celebrate the holidays this year but that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty to celebrate.
Take a minute to step back and look at the things we have to be grateful for. Sometimes in the hardest moments or in the greatest moments of change, we are able to see beauty and joy in its truest form.
Now is the time to focus on the little, simple things that bring you joy!
5. Dive Deep in Your (safe) Traditions
I will admit, I am bummed to be missing our large family Thanksgiving, but we will still have some of the same fun at home.
For starters, I have decided that I will recreate the whole Thanksgiving meal at home for my little family unit.
Sure it is a bit excessive to have a turkey with “all the fixins” for just me, the Hubs, and our trio of littles but it will bring us each a bit of joy so I am all for it. Not to mention, the leftovers will feed us for days after!
We’ve also decided to continue the tradition of a lazy afternoon of Christmas movies in our own home. We will eat as we please and rest in the arms of one another while we watch some of our favorites.
Whatever bits of your holidays you can recreate, grab ahold of them and give them your all.
Go all out on decorations. Make all your favorite pie recipes. Pull out the good china. Make a turkey with ALL the sides.
Find what brings you even a bit of joy and take a deep dive. It is okay to be sad about the change and still find joy in what you have.
Related: Tips for a Stress-free Thanksgiving
6. Or Create a New Tradition
Typically our Thanksgiving traditions include making homemade noodles, heading to my parent’s house for the meal and time together, and then my mom, sisters, and I hit the stores for Black Friday sales.
Since we aren’t doing that this year, I’ve decided this is a perfect time to try something new.
This year the kids and I are going to make decorations for our Thanksgiving table and make all sorts of yummy goodies the day before.
I am breaking out all sorts of craft materials and going to let my 6 and 4-year-old go crazy making decorations. And no matter how they turn out I am going to hang and display each and every one.
Then we are going to be spending the day before Thanksgiving making all sorts of yummy treats. As a failing baker, this is a large feat, but I am willing to give it a try so that we can have some fun memories to look back on.
7. Remember It Is Temporary
God willing this isn’t the new normal for holidays. Pandemics don’t last forever (thankfully) and there is a great chance this time next year I will be at my parent’s house for a huge meal and then scouring the stores later for the latest deals.
I encourage you to make the most of this season and remember that better times will come. This is only temporary.
8. Eat a Second Helping
And last but not least… Enjoy. The. Food! Now is not the time to be worrying about your figure.
I mean, I am all for being healthy but Thanksgiving is absolutely in the 20% (the 80/20 rule ya know!).
So eat the treats, enjoy the savory foods, try new recipes! And if you get a tad uncomfortable, put on some yoga pants!
I know it can feel unfair right now. And it can feel like the world is dark and sad. BUT I promise you there is light out there! Even if you’re not celebrating the holidays in the ways you wish you could, you can still have a memorable, wonderful holiday season!
What does your holiday season look like this year?
Are you trying any new traditions? Comment below! I would love to hear all about it!
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