I have to admit last week’s webinar took me by surprise. I have been feeling sad about this holiday season during a pandemic so I was trying to think of ways to make it feel special even if we can’t be with our loved ones, depending on which zone we live in.
The webinar was not about home decor since I just felt there was resistance in people decorating for the holidays since there is so much unknown right now and people wanted to talk about it. It’s a lot of work to decorate for Christmas but personally it has brought me so much joy and I feel much more optimistic on creating new traditions. Change can be wonderful!!!
As I was sharing my ideas with the members, it was obvious that I’m not alone. We shed some tears, had many laughs and came up with some solutions that we can all try. I received private emails from almost everyone who were on the webinar saying how much it helped knowing that we are all feeling the same. I definitely felt a little closer to all of you after this webinar so thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Christmas can be a hard time of year even under the best of circumstances. Many miss their lost their loved ones who have passed away and don’t know how to carry on, some find it extremely difficult financially or they have the stress of taking care of an ill family members etc. It’s not always a Hallmark Movie so was good to have a safe place to discuss of these matters.
I think it puts too much pressure on us if we focus only on the 25th. Let’s start by looking at the positive things that we can do each and every day so there is no ‘disappointment’
Let the New Traditions Begin
- Create your own advent calendar so each day is a surprise and a gift. Make one for you loved ones so they think of you everyday as well. It doesn’t just have to be chocolate.
2. Instead of rushing around in busy malls or going to large staff parties (that you didn’t want to go to anyway), take the time to treat yourself to a home spa. Do it as often as you like without the high-end price tags. I’ve been doing a home facial and foot soak every Friday night since lockdown.
3. Since you won’t be going to house parties, take advantage of reading an book that you haven’t had time to read. Take a course that you’ve been dying to sign up in the comfort of your own home. I’ve been working on learning new technology and I love writing my blog posts. Unfortunately I’m not a big reader. Maybe I’ll work on that.
4. Personally, I’m loving getting back to playing the piano, and of course I love my crafts. Teach a loved one something new so it’s one more thing that you can do together.
5. Just because we can’t be in the same room eating, doesn’t mean we can’t be together, thanks to ZOOM. Set up your laptops so you can share your Christmas tree and your holiday decor in the background.
6. Get the kids involved and bake ‘virtually’ with grandma or their friends. It’s a wonderful way to share your recipes and they can ask you questions along the way. Many of our members have been doing this and they said that they were surprised how much their adult children enjoyed it. They started to appreciate how much work their moms had done in the past, now that they are doing it. 🙂 It’s always nice to feel appreciated. I wasn’t feeling too excited about doing a lot of baking for Christmas without a large group of people to eat it until one member said, “bake and have 2 cookies every day and don’t wait for the 25th”. Brilliant!! Turn on the over and get the mixing bowls ready!
7. This is were some tears were shared. We don’t have to look far to see people who are very lonely during this pandemic. They might not have a computer for communication so pick up the phone and put a smile on someone’s face! It only takes a few minutes but the affects last forever. When you’re baking or preparing food, make an extra care package and drop one off to them. Your kindness is contagious. You have no idea what impact your simplest gesture or kind words can have on someone.
8. It’s very easy to get in a rut and stay home once it gets dark. But that is when the city becomes alive with lights. Dress warmly and go for a walk or a drive and appreciate all the magic of twinkle lights. Ottawa is spectacular at Christmas.
9. If you’re dressed for the weather there is something for everyone to do, no matter what your physical abilities. Just a few hours of fresh air makes you feel like you’ve been away on a holiday.
10. I have been enjoying eating and socializing with my family on the back deck with a fire table to keep warm. Several other members also have them. We agreed that it’s best to keep chairs in the garage until you want them so they are warmer and not full of ice/snow. It’s good to cover your tables so you aren’t having to scrape the snow off. I found the wood deck slippery so it’s good to have some sand on hand for safety. Sitting on cushions helps keep you warm. Using thermos’ also help keep your drinks hot for a longer period or time. Wrapping your legs in blankets and around your shoulders helps with the wind and I also have a couple block heaters that I plug in.
I can never have enough twinkle lights
11. With so much extra time, go through old photo albums to reminisce about your family. I am digging out our old slide projector to share my childhood slides with my kids. My son is even converting old movies so we can actually see them. It’s amazing how much technology has changed.
12. We might not be able to be in the same room watching movies, but that doesn’t mean we can’t watch them together. Have a Netflix party so you can even chat through the whole movie.
13. Don’t forget the benefit of being able to be the most fabulous and cozy P.J.’s all season long!
14. Set up a card table and keep a puzzle on the go. That way there is always something to do if you get bored. Find games that are appropriate for the number of people living in the house. Of course, there is always the online games as well.
15. Don’t wait until New Years Eve. Start your planning for 2021 now. 2020 was a write-off for many of our goals and aspirations so now we have a chance to make new ones. Maybe just keep them a bit more realistic since we know things won’t be going back to normal for a while.
16. As I said before, you don’t have to look far to see someone who needs help. I think we have all re-evaluated our ‘needs’ a bit during the last year. I know I certainly have! What used to be important, is no longer. Please help where you can in any way possible. Your services are just as valuable as your money. It was inspirational to hear what some of the members were doing to ‘give-back’.
17. This may sound really corny and I can already see some of you rolling your eyes with this suggestion but everyone loves to know that they are loved. More importantly, they like to know WHY they are loved. Take the time to let your family and friends know why they are so special to you. You’d be surprised how much they will appreciate it (especially if you wouldn’t normally do this). I had someone who is estranged to me, reach out at the beginning of the pandemic telling me to stay ‘safe’. I was absolutely shocked but in these uncertain times, it makes people realize that none of us are invincible.
18. With this extra time at home, my husband and I started doing online stretching every morning since we can’t get to the gym. We just leave our yoga mats and the laptop out so there are no excuses why we can’t do it. It’s amazing how many online programs there are for any fitness level or any type of desired exercise.
19. Every year I buy an ornament that represents the year. The ones this year are hilarious! They make a great gift to send to your loved ones so they think of you when they look at their tree.
20. If you can’t be with your family as they open their gifts, try to be together on zoom and if not, at least have lots of photos taken so it’s the next best thing to being there. Take the time to write actual hand written thank-you notes for gifts. It’s an old tradition that has been replaced with an email or text message. It’s just another way to make your extra time being connected to your loved ones.
I hope that some of these ideas will help you get through this unusual holiday season. If nothing else, it’s taught us how resilient we are and how we can always come up with a solution.
Merry Christmas from my home to yours!