Holiday Season: Covid-19 Edition
Considering the current situation in the world, the holiday season is bound to be a little different this year. This pandemic has become such an integral part of our lives, despite how anxious we are to move on from it. So, it’s hard to think of festivities, celebrations, and family gatherings amidst the disarray that Covid-19 has caused.
However, this doesn’t mean the holidays have to be downplayed or canceled altogether. You can still get in the holiday spirit with your friends and family even if that means being safely distanced.
How to enjoy the holidays while safely distanced
Everyone is a little on edge at the moment, rightfully so, as we are in the middle of a terribly deadly pandemic. But this anxiety will only get worse the more we wait for something to change and the less we plan for the upcoming holidays.
Facing the facts is an important first step to take. You may not be comfortable with your family or extended family members’ decision to get together on Thanksgiving or Christmas, especially if that means out-of-state travel for you.
It’s completely understandable on your part not to expose yourself, your partner, and kids to big social settings, and by extension, your coworkers, and your patients when you resume work again. With that said, there are many other ways to enjoy the holidays all while preserving your family’s health and well-being.
Talk it out with your kids
The holiday season is traditionally centered around coming together and celebrating with loved ones. As a medical and healthcare professional, this year may feel particularly hard, considering how the holidays are one of the few opportunities you get to kick back and enjoy some quality time with your family and friends.
Your kids may also be having a tough time adjusting to these recurring changes. It’s important that you let them know you understand their disappointment. The best way to get everyone ready for the different atmosphere they should expect in the holidays is to talk it out a couple of weeks ahead of time.
Allow them to share their thoughts and feelings but also help them understand and appreciate why things have to go differently. You can also sit down together as a family and begin to plan how you intend to celebrate. This will help you identify what traditions your family values the most so you can figure out creative ways to maintain those traditions.
- Make the most of what you can do
It’s so easy to dwell on what we can’t do right now, but if you take a moment to reconsider the situation, the truth is, many holiday traditions can still take place just as they always have, albeit a bit differently. Whatever holidays you and your family celebrate, focus on what you can do rather on what is out of reach.
For instance, you can still make your great grandmother’s exquisite apple pie. You can still send Christmas cards to your loved ones. You can still uncover your Christmas tree ornaments and you can still drive around the neighborhood to check out other homes’ holiday decorations. So think about which holiday traditions are most meaningful to you then brainstorm some ideas to keep those rituals alive.
For Thanksgiving, for example, you can get your loved ones to write one thing they’re thankful for at the end of each day in the weeks leading to the holiday and throw that piece of paper into a jar. Then you can schedule a video chat session with everyone, start pulling the pieces of paper at random, so everyone gets to share what they’re thankful for.
If you celebrate Hanukkah, you can also plan a virtual meeting to light your menorah candles together. For Christmas, you can use Zoom or Skype to decorate and light up your Christmas trees simultaneously.
If you will be skipping the usual flight to your parents’ house this year, you can simulate the flight experience using a YouTube video and props lying around in your living space. You can even make it fun for your kids and assign them different roles (pilot, flight attendant, etc).
The main goal here is to recreate the rituals and traditions your loved ones cherish the most in a way that is both safe and that allows you to create special memories.
Consider pandemic-inspired festivities and events
While everyone is impatiently waiting for social distancing to be over, these challenging times have been a trial of many people’s creativity and innovation. Despite our low expectations for this year’s celebrations, there are numerous ways to make these upcoming months as fun as possible.
Some cities have reopened drive-in movie theaters in anticipation of the Christmas season and they intend to screen holiday movies on a weekly basis, while others have created engaging platforms and organized pandemic-inspired events.
Instead of the classic 12 days of Christmas, you can make it a two-week of self-care, cozy Netflix binges, and fun homey activities. For each day, plan one particular task that everyone within your household gets to participate in. Whether it’s doing face masks, playing board games, organizing a scavenger hunt, or simply making popcorn and watching a movie.
If you’re worried about your kids not getting to meet and take pictures with Santa this year, there are some options to consider where you can book a scheduled or live virtual call with Santa Claus and a diverse cast of performers (based on your ethnic, faith, and language preferences) to make the experience as unique and magical for them.
Try virtual gatherings
One of the many things to be appreciative of in our modern era is the cunning technology of virtual gatherings. Prior to this global pandemic, if a family member couldn’t make it to a reunion or gathering, they were simply missed, and finding ways to include them if they’re not physically present was often an overlooked opportunity. But now, many people are hopping onto Zoom to wish their loved ones a happy birthday or anniversary.
The holidays are no exception! You can use video chat platforms to sing Christmas carols together. Get your kids to host opening and closing ceremonies on Thanksgiving (whether it’s a song, a prayer, or a reading), cook a signature dish your family always enjoys together, make it a shared experience, and enthuse everyone about the flavors. With virtual gatherings, the possibilities are endless, and getting to see everyone without physically being there is a silver lining to appreciate in these stressful times.
Create new traditions
Think of this holiday season as an opportunity to get creative and establish new traditions. You can talk with your children, friends, and family about how to stay connected and brainstorm innovative ways to make these occasions special to and cherished by everyone. If you’re struggling to come up with exciting or fun activities, here are some ideas to consider:
-Exchange care packages with your loved ones. Care packages are a great way to express your love and appreciation to the people you value. They don’t have to be expensive or extravagant and they’re a nice gesture to get into the holiday spirit. All you have to do is include your recipient’s favorite treats, small gifts, and special mementos.
For instance, if you’re sending a care package to a coworker, you can include a candle, or some incense to help them relax, fun and festive medical hats, scrumptious chocolate bars, and a bath bomb or face mask for their self-care days. To make it even more special, you can schedule a video chat to open your care packages together over FaceTime or Zoom.
-Work on a project together. Arts and crafts can be a very festive activity, so make a chain holiday craft with your family members or neighbors where you make an ornament or a card and send it to another family, then they get to add to it, and send it to the next family and so on. You can also make an ornament for your neighbors, then they can make one for the other neighbors, etc. This is a great way to feel connected to the people around you even if you can’t physically be together.
-Host quirky mini holiday celebrations. Having something to look forward to is a blessing in these unprecedented times. So head on to this funny, random, and weird holiday calendar to find holidays to celebrate with your kids and partners all throughout the month. Bake some treat on November 10th for Vanilla Cupcake day, get crafty on the next for Origami day, or spend some time penning heartfelt letters to your loved ones on December 7th for Letter Writing Day. That list can be a godsend if you’re also looking for ways to occupy your children or get them in a more festive spirit.
-Organize friendly competitions. For this activity, have your kids or family members make holiday-inspired treats and then head on to Zoom or FaceTime to vote for the best one. You can also have a decoration contest where you drive by their houses to check out their holiday decorations then schedule a video chat to cast your votes.
The holidays are usually as stressful as they are cheerful and jovial, so remember to take the time this year to scale down and recuperate. It has been a nerve-racking year for everyone across the glove, though especially medical staff and healthcare professionals. So it’s important that you take this opportunity as a chance to connect with your partner, your kids, enjoy a more relaxed setting, and focus on the holiday traditions that matter to you the most. Allow yourself to take it easy and focus on staying safe!