Not What it Used to Be – But Maybe Better

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No matter how you play it, the holidays are going to be different this year. Thanks to that friendly virus named COVID, we have to forego large family gatherings, or depending on your circumstance, any gatherings. 

Maybe you’re sitting in your seat doing a little happy dance. No cooking for hours and fighting over the last turkey at the grocery store? No long drawn out dinner with Uncle Jim’s ramblings? No family drama? Sounds great!

Or maybe you’re someone that looks forward to this time of year and the opportunity to spend time with your family and unwind from the rest of life’s stressors. Maybe the thought of being isolated and missing out on this holiday season is giving you the blues. 

Yes, the holidays are inevitably going to look different – but different doesn’t have to mean bad. Consider this a once in a lifetime chance to be as non-traditional and creative as you want. Your happiness and well being comes first. That means stopping to ask yourself, “What would bring me happiness in the midst of this crazy time?” and following through by meeting your needs!

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza – they don’t have to suck this year. Consider trying one of these COVID Holiday Remedies:

1. Get virtually connected!

Maybe Aunt Bertha can’t come for a big Thanksgiving meal, but she can still eat with you over Zoom. Ask your family for their favorite holiday recipes and share yours as well. You can all make a plan to use the same recipes and create the same meal from your separate homes. Then sit down over a video call with your loved ones and enjoy a “shared” dinner.

2. Make it all about YOU.

Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to prioritize self-care on the holidays. Order your favorite take out, take a bubble bath, curl up with your favorite movie – whatever sounds relaxing and peaceful for you, do it!

3. Set different expectations.

Society puts a lot of pressure on what the picture-perfect holiday should look like. There’s this idea that we need to have a big happy family around us, a flashy Christmas tree, or an egg nog filled holiday parties in order for it to be a successful holiday season. Real life isn’t a Hallmark movie and there isn’t a family out there that truly meets these picture-perfect ideals. Consider what each holiday actually means to you on a foundational level and focus on the basics. When you don’t expect a Hollywood glamour Christmas, you won’t be disappointed. 

4. Try your hand at snail mail.

A good, old fashion letter or card is a good way to feel a bit more connected with family and friends. Sure, you can send them a quick text, but there’s something more personal about getting a handwritten message in the mail. Consider sending your loved ones a holiday card this year.

5. Remember that there are countless others out there struggling with feeling isolated, lonely, or disappointed this holiday season.

You’re not alone. Research shows that focusing on and helping others can actually improve our own happiness. Consider getting involved in a holiday charity or spreading holiday cheer to others in need; even during this pandemic, you can make decorations for your local nursing home or soup kitchen, make holiday cards for soldiers overseas, or volunteer your time.

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I’m Patricia

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Adjunct Professor, and Certified Field Instructor committed to working with diverse groups of individuals, families, and communities.


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