The holidays are going to look different this year

Every year I write a blog post about the holidays. And I’m not stopping this year. Normally I write about saying no, honoring your boundaries and only doing holiday things you actually like. This year’s post is going to be a little different because this holiday season is going to be a little different.

No, fuck that. This year’s holiday season is going to be really different. Let’s be real here. 

There are going to be a lot of people missing loved ones this season, for one reason or another. People are going to have lean holidays, as they’ve lost their jobs. And I’m sure some people just aren’t talking to family members at this point. 2020 has just been a shit show, and it’s really hard to feel thankful or festive.

Okay, but it’s still the holidays. There are still things to be thankful for, still reasons to celebrate. So let’s talk about what we can do to make the holidays good. Not like what they’ve been before, but still good. 

Make a list of what you want to do

Lists are always my go-to for a good reason. If we fail to plan we plan to fail. So grab a nice cup of chai tea and write down everything you want to do for the holidays. Then make a plan to make it happen. Grab the other members of your family and figure it out now.

Go for good, not perfect

We can’t expect everything to be like it’s been before. We can’t gather together as family and friends this year. All sorts of things aren’t happening for me this year. Normally I go Christmas shopping with friends, celebrate Yule at Starbucks with some other girls, enjoy Secret Santa fun with co-workers and hand out a stack of Christmas cards.

If you just lost your job, you’re not going to have a big bash. There might not be a huge turkey, new bike. If you’re just struggling with depression or anxiety, you’re not up to planning a bunch of magical activities. And I know that when the holidays don’t look like how I expect them to look, I feel like it’s a personal failure on my part. But it’s not. Flat out, it’s not your fault that this year ended up how it did unless you’re a politician. So what do we do, give up? Decide to just not do the holidays this year? No, I’ll not have it. I’ll have a good enough holiday, and be happy with that. 

Get creative

This might require us to get creative. And that’s okay. We are creative souls. If we can’t buy gifts for each other, we can share experiences instead. If we can’t get together in person, we can visit virtually. We can ship gifts to loved ones, send cards through the mail, do drive-by caroling. I’ll be doing some virtual coffee visits with friends. I’m pretty excited about it.

Think of others

I haven’t lost my day job. I’m thankful for that. And I’m thinking of ways to help others. For instance, we’re not doing a Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll probably get takeout, tip the waitstaff well. We’re going to buy everything for a full Thanksgiving dinner, and donate it to a food cupboard. While I’m sure the darling husband and I will get little things for each other, I plan to focus mostly on getting stuff for Toys for Tots and other local charities. The gifts we do buy will be from local shops so that our money supports what we want to see more of. If you’re blessed enough to still be working, please consider helping others have a good holiday.

If you need help, get it

This doesn’t just go for the holidays. It goes for pretty much all the time. If you can see a therapist, do it. If you need to just vent to a friend, do it. If you lost your job and need to reach out for assistance, do it and don’t feel guilty for one second. We all need to pull together right now. Accept assistance now, plan to pay it forward when you can. 

Plan now for virtual visits

If you have elderly loved ones, reach out now to plan virtual visits. Do not assume they know how to use Zoom. Talk to them now, help them out before the day of the event. Do some test runs with them. Then set up your laptop at the table and enjoy dinner together, apart. Watch Muppet’s Christmas Carol with your best friend on your phone. Have a glass of mulled wine with your buddies on screen. We can still see each other, still celebrate the days, without risking killing your relatives. Just don’t leave planning until the day of, or it’s just going to cause unneeded stress. 

Remember the reason you celebrate

I don’t know what holiday you celebrate. But not a damned one of them is about getting gifts and eating food. The holidays are about love, gratitude and celebration. They’re about shining a light in the darkest time of the year. They’re about family, friends, joy. They’re about having fun. You can have all of those things without a single gift or bite of turkey. 

I want to hear from you about what you’re planning for the holidays this year. Let us know in the comments.

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