2020 has forced people to embrace a host of new normals, and this holiday season will be no different as COVID-19 continues. Social distancing is still necessary for keeping you and your loved ones safe, so it’s important that families find alternatives to some of the holiday traditions they’re used to in order to make sure they’re doing everything they can to avoid getting sick and contributing to post-holiday spikes. Here are some things you can do this holiday season to help maintain your spiritual and mental health and connect with your family.
Virtual Church Services
Churches have moved toward virtual services over the past months to help facilitate safe, socially-distanced worship experiences for families to attend. This Christmas, if your home church isn’t already facilitating virtual services, consider finding a different local church and attending a virtual Christmas Eve service. Also, find ways to participate meaningfully along with the service. Sing along to worship songs, light candles in your home for candlelight portions of services and engage in post-service reflection with your loved ones, discussing the reason for the season and the things you have been grateful for in 2020.
Grieving During the Holidays
Many families may have to grieve from a distance this year, which means accepting a new normal regarding bereavement. Living with grief, loss or loneliness without family immediately with you can be overwhelming. Make sure you are taking time to check in with yourself and assess your expectations for how the holiday season will be. If you’re dealing with grief or loss, remind yourself that circumstances change and sometimes traditions have to change as well. If you aren’t in a headspace where you think you can celebrate the holidays, that’s okay too. Don’t force it. Take time to reflect, and make sure that if you are with family, you are giving each other the space to grieve and introspect in your own ways.
Families, even if grieving the loss of holiday traditions, can take the pandemic as an opportunity to find creative new ways to connect virtually with each other, whether it’s playing virtual holiday Bingo or facilitating scavenger hunts where each family has to find objects hidden around the house. These can be done using platforms like Zoom (which is providing free and unlimited access during the holidays). Families can still decorate cookies, build gingerbread houses or sing carols with each other on virtual calls; that way, traditions can be upheld, but safely and without mixing members of different households.
Remember, we are still in a pandemic, and though that doesn’t mean the holidays should be without cheer, it does mean you need to be safe however you choose to celebrate. Regardless, the meaning behind this season remains the same, and there are always things to be thankful for. Have a happy holiday season, and a safe and prosperous new year.