The world looks different this year. What started as a “staycation” in March has carried through every holiday following.
Every decision seems like it requires a risk assessment and more energy than normal. We are once again in a lockdown here, although we have been for pretty much 9 months. We are in support of limiting group size and activities for the health of the whole. We are not just looking out for ourselves but everyone and the world around us. As a result of that, our holidays will look differently. We just canceled our plans and will be staying home for Thanksgiving. I’ve lost count of all the trips or plans we’ve had to cancel this year.
We’re used to traveling to family or hosting friends and family in our home. At least for Thanksgiving we won’t be doing that and Christmas will look a bit different as well. So how do we make it memorable and meaningful in the midst of possible grief of what could have been or what we wish were happening?
I am a firm believer that we can make the most of any situation. Our circumstances do not have to steal our joy. Here’s what our family will be doing:
Keep it Simple:
We’ll still cook and make our favorite things to eat for Thanksgiving dinner. Food is one of the things we love most. Instead of a whole turkey this year, I bought a turkey breast. We don’t need 12 side dishes, just a few. We can watch movies and have a slow day at home. Rest and receive the slower pace.
At dinner we’ll spend time thinking through the year and talk about all we have to be thankful for. Even in a year of canceled plans, disappointments, and loss, we have so many blessings.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” -Melanie Beauttie.
Keep your favorite traditions alive:
We will still make our favorite food, go for our Thanksgiving walk and go get our Christmas tree. Decorating as soon as Thanksgiving is over is my favorite. Although I already did part of the house, we’re just needing the tree.
Do an activity together you’ll remember for years to come:
We love doing shared activities together. It’s the time spent together that we’ll remember most. We will still go look at Christmas lights, we just bought a puzzle to do over the break and maybe we’ll still get to do the Zoo lights in the car. Maybe we’ll buy a new game to play together. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Keep it simple but create memories together.
Create a new tradition:
Sometimes when our plans are changed we discover a new way of doing things. We may just discover a new tradition we want to implement for years to come. One year Christmas was not the same because I had the flu so terribly. I made the family order Chinese food for Christmas dinner. It was not planned, pretty disappointing to me but we discovered that it was actually really nice to not cook on Christmas day and it became our new family tradition. This year we may create neighborhood 5k. We’ll invite neighbors to join in and we can be socially distanced outside. Who knows, maybe it will be a new tradition. Be flexible and see what happens. You may just be pleasantly surprised.
Connect with friends and family who are far away:
Thankfully we live in a world that is full of ways to connect. We may not be with all our loved ones in person this holiday season but we can still show them we care and connect through phone calls, FaceTime, or Zoom. There are even games you can play online together. We may be distanced but we don’t have to be isolated.
Remember what is most important:
This year has been a great reminder of what’s truly important, my faith, family, and being present in the moment. I have had little control over the future or plans. Sometimes it’s in the releasing of my plans and the fast pace of life that the most joy can be found. We can create meaningful and memorable times with family and it truly is the simple things that matter most.
I hope that no matter what your holidays look like this year that you will look back with some sweet memories.