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The Holidays, the Pandemic, and You

Soon, the holidays will be upon us. Whichever holidays you celebrate, most of them involve getting together with family and friends. If you are in an area where you can’t celebrate outside and stand at least six feet apart, it’s rather confusing to navigate how we will celebrate this year.

Some of your family/friends feel very strongly about wearing masks, ventilating if possible, and washing hands, and some of your family/friends have had enough and have grown tired of following precautions. As if getting together with your family hasn’t been hard enough, with long travel times, sensitive political discussions, disappointed expectations, the need to be in eight places at the same time in order to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings, we now have this to deal with. Goody.

I would like to tell you you don’t have to try and “pull off Christmas” this year. However, if you have young children, you will most likely want to do something to make it special. But maybe you don’t have to do what you’ve always done. Think about what your resources allow and go from there. If you have lost your job and have very little energy, don’t try to do more than your resources will allow. You don’t have to have a lot of “stuff” to have a special holiday. Look up some “minute to win it” games online, which are fun for all ages, and which are pretty simple. Crack open a can of cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning if you’re not up to baking.  Your kids will be just as excited.

If this time of year is depressing for you (due to death, divorce, job loss, etc.) acknowledge that loss in your own soul. You are most certainly not alone, even though it may feel that way. This is a hard time of year for many people, and it may be extra difficult this year. If you are lonely, and isolated, I encourage you to be especially kind to yourself in whatever way is possible for you right now.  Sometimes when we feel lonely, we are actually lonely for ourselves. Make friends with yourself. Be curious about yourself. Be a good friend to yourself. Take time to listen to your own soul. It’s a loss not to be able to connect with others the way we want to, but it could be a blessing to be able to connect with ourselves.

Of course, what you will be able to do this year depends on your situation. Are you working parents with young children who are going to school online? You probably don’t have much opportunity to connect with yourselves! Have you lost your job and are worried about being evicted? You won’t be spending a lot of time worrying about which Christmas cookies to bake. You are where you are, at least for now. Respect your current situation, and your current resources, and do what you can. Don’t give into Christmas perfectionism, and become frustrated because you can’t pull off Christmas. If COVID-19 is showing us one thing, it’s that we are not as “in control” as we thought we were. Let us accept that, and give ourselves permission to celebrate differently this year.