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Connecting for the Holidays During a Pandemic

self-care Dec 03, 2020

Depending where you live and what protocols are in place regarding physical contact during the Pandemic, the Holidays for 2020 are going to look very different for so many.

You might not get to see a loved one because you can’t travel. You may not be allowed to get together with close friends and family or be able to see a loved one in the hospital or special care home.

I am not going to sugar coat this. It is devastating and I am not going to push aside the loss, grief and trauma that so many are experiencing. It is not helpful to ignore these feelings, so it is important to recognize, validate and feel all of it.

However, we don’t want to get stuck in these feelings long term. So for me, how I best process, feel and move my emotions through my body is to journal or talk with loved ones. Getting it out via writing or speaking helps it move through my body and release. Then I can make some room for new feelings.

What I hope to do with this article is to help you think up some creative options for you and your family to bring new experiences and ideas to feel more joy and connection to your loved ones during the holidays in a pandemic. 

For this list, I am going to assume that you cannot see any loved ones face to face for the holidays so that if this will be the case, you have lots of ideas to pull from based on what feels fun or aligned for you and your family.

**FYI** This list isn’t about doing all of the things or forcing yourself to make this year magical if it is just not in you. If you are barely surviving and just can’t do anything extra, that is absolutely okay. This list isn’t to make you feel bad for not doing any of it or all of it. This is for those who need some light and just can’t think beyond today. I just want to share some creative ideas with you all in case it can help!

Nothing replaces being in person with your family and friends, but we are fortunate to live in a digital age, where we can connect over audio or video.

So, here we go with the list!

*Another FYI* This list mentions Christmas. If you celebrate something else, then use some of these ideas for your celebrations or do some of these even if you don’t celebrate Christmas!

1. Have a theme - choosing a theme can be fun and unique this year. Here are some ideas.

  1. Only gifting thrifted items
  2. Have a sustainable or low/no waste holiday - use biodegradable wrappings and reduce plastic use with food or gifts
  3. Decorate with a specific theme like reindeer, snowmen, snowflakes (make homemade paper ones and put all around house!), etc...
  4. Only give acts of service or experiences instead of something physical

2. Play a Zoom game with your family and friends like:

  1. Pictionary (here is a pictionary word generator )
  2. Heads up (get the app)
  3. Two truths and a lie
  4. Scavenger hunt - if you have kids or do an adult version
  5. Host a Zoom Murder Mystery Party
  6. Play a drinking game if you drink or an adult...things could be interesting!

3. Support Local - deliver local artisan items or food. Some of your local businesses may offer a delivery option or you can pick up curb-side and drop off a loved one's door. We have some great businesses locally like the NB Box and The Wonderful Box. There are so many artisans who make their own jewelry, pottery, wood products, etc… give your friends a unique and thoughtful gift, as well as supporting your local small businesses.

4. Craft contest - make a new tradition and pick a Holiday craft that all families (no matter where they are) have to complete by a certain date. They can use whatever they have on hand (or can get at a dollar store) and then meet up over Zoom to present your creations and vote for a winner! Maybe the winner gets a trophy and it gets passed to the next year's winner!

5. For a loved one in a nursing home or hospital, contact the centre and inquire what is allowed to send or get delivered. Maybe you can bake, send cards or flowers. This is the toughest situation for so many. Not being able to be by a loved ones side if they are ill or alone is heartbreaking. See if the nurses or caregivers will play a recorded video or if a device can be delivered or set up with your loved one so that you can do daily video chats.

6. Drive by Lights! - Our town is organizing an outdoor drive by house/business decorating event. Our residents and businesses can register to be on a list of decorated places and then residents get access to the list! We then can drive to visit all the wonderfully decorated places in our community. Check out to see if your city/town is organizing one. If not, maybe organize it yourself or go for your own drive around and see the beautiful festive lights.

7. Turn your traditions on their head - Don’t get me wrong, there is great comfort in consistency and tradition. We have them for a reason...but sometimes its fun to shake things up. So if you feel the need to shake things up:

  1. Instead of waiting until Christmas morning, open a gift each day leading up to it.
  2. Instead of your usual Christmas dinner, do a deep fry, BBQ or have everyone in your family make their favorite foods leading up to Christmas and turn it into a cook off! The Winner gets to choose their favorite dessert to be made!
  3. Decorate a new room that you have never done before
  4. Pitch a tent in your backyard if you have the right gear and sleep outside on Christmas eve

8. Fundraise - Have your family and extended family fundraise for a family or local charity. One of the biggest ways that I feel connected to others and my community is by giving back. I have so much privilege, even when I am struggling mentally, physically or financially. I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come or if there will be presents under a tree. So many are dealing with loss of income or loss of health. Get your extended family together and actively choose a family or charity and do something fun to fundraise for them. This year I was on a committee of two fundraising events for local charities, The Braedon Foundation (donate online) and The Make A Wish Foundation (purchase a Christmas Wish Box for the little ones in your life if you live in New Brunswick). Donating money is the easiest right now for most charities and organizations.

Let me know if you have any creative ideas or which ones you will give a try this year! I would love to hear from you.





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