A Very Pandemic Holiday Season: Tips for Making It Through This Unconventional Year

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pandemic holidayAs we enter winter and outdoor activities start to slow to a crawl, it becomes harder to ignore that this year is different. During the warmer months I had been able to get involved in socially distanced, masked activities that helped us stay busy, but more importantly, kept my family safe. It’s hard to ignore the days getting shorter, the weather getting colder, and indoor activities becoming the only real option. A time that is known for family, big events, and joy is now overshadowed with fear. At first, as a person who holds tradition dear, it was hard not to get down about a pandemic-friendly holiday season. After reflecting further, I came up with rules for making my COVID holiday work for me.

Rule #1: It’s okay to say “NO”.

This one may seem like a given, but honestly, it is the most challenging for me. Even though I love big holiday parties and seeing all my family, I understand that this year that just isn’t possible. Accept this. Don’t let your great aunt pressure you into how this could be her last chance to see your kids. Set boundaries that you feel good about. Make informed decisions; based on your circumstances and actual facts. Don’t crowdsource information and then feel guilty because your kids have friends who got to go to a party. Keep your priority straight and make a decision you feel good about.

Rule #2: Make new traditions.

As stated above, I love traditions. I am a Christmas magic-loving grown adult who loves to experience all this time of year has to offer. My mission this year has been to find new traditions. I was so stuck on having the magic of the holidays look a specific way, I needed to open my mind to the alternatives for my kids. For me, this involved decorating as quickly after Halloween as possible. And I am talking FULL BLOWN decorating with over-the-top annoying decorations. Find local events. It turns out holiday light displays are big in my area and are tons of fun for antsy toddlers and babies who love anything that glows. Find something creative that sparks joy in your family. Our new thing that has come out of this year has been backyard egg hunts for every holiday. Whatever you do, make it fun.

Rule #3: Find a hobby that doubles as gifts.

If you are thinking this rule seems oddly specific, it’s because it is. I found this rule to be hands down the most important for me to survive this holiday season. I found my newest hobby in my Cricut (synonymous with the Silhouette). If you have not heard of these crafting machines look them up, they are marvelous. Finding a hobby that had me making tangible items for others has been key. It has served as a distraction, self-care, and a means for making hand made gifts. Making personalized shirts, mugs, canvases, etc. for friends and family has helped me feel closer while remaining distant.

Rule #4: There are no rules.

FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! The holiday season can be hard enough for people without a pandemic. These rules are working for me. Find ones that work for you. Make room for feeling emotions, for distracting yourself, for making your own rules this year. Do what you need to to make it through this holiday season with family in the most joyous way possible. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, pandemics don’t cease to exist because you want to return to normal. Follow state guidance and CDC precautions, because we are all in this together. At the end of the day keeping your family safe doesn’t have to mean spending your holidays miserable. Unless that is what you want, and then you do you; Grinch it up!

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Kayla is a married mom of two boys, a three-year-old and a newborn. She has two cats, also male. She is currently living in Framingham. While she moved around a lot growing up she has always considered Massachusetts her home base. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Human Development and Family studies. Kayla works as the director of a PCA program, assisting people in Massachusetts with disabilities and other chronic conditions live as independently as possible. In her free time, when she isn’t reading, writing, or rewatching The Office, she is a chapter leader of the Framingham Dignity Matters branch, a nonprofit dedicated to making sure all women and children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to period products.

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