Christmas was always a time for my family to gather. We either visited extended family in Canada or family came to us.
As the years went on, cousins married and spent time with spouses’ families. The extended family grew, but gatherings shrunk.
Yet, despite the shift in holiday plans, our immediate family always spent the holiday together.
A Pandemic Christmas
We knew from the onset that this Christmas would look vastly different than others. My sister, brother-in-law, and grandmother live in Canada. While they can travel to the US without restriction, their return to Canada requires a 14-day quarantine, which my sister (a dietician in a hospital) can’t afford to do.
Our family settled for being apart from each other this Christmas. It was inevitable with travel restrictions and the virus. With Zoom and online shopping, there was no doubt we could make it work this year.
The Knocks Keep Coming
I’ll admit, I had it easy in early to mid-2020. Yes, I was housebound with California’s restrictions, but it gave me time to grow my business, write more, and learn French. While people suffered significant losses, I sat in the comfort of my apartment reading new books and finding silver linings in a job loss and stay-at-home orders.
I won’t say 2020 had it in for me because, despite the end of the year taking a turn for the worse, I still want to give gratitude for the things 2020 brought to me.
But the fourth quarter of 2020 was a different story. As California went back into lockdown, I found myself throwing everything into storage to move in with my dad. Instead of living in a new apartment, I was moving home (again). A close family member fell terminally ill, and our Christmas plans did a one-eighty.
I burned out too. A full-time job, side hustle, and moving is not an advisable combination, and left me with zero capacity to even think about gift-giving. My presence and a few small gifts from Amazon will have to do.
It’s Okay for Your Holidays to Look Different
I’m not the only one whose holiday will look different in 2020. So many people suffered losses this year — jobs, family members, and homes. I count myself lucky that I have a roof over my head, family to go home to, and abundant opportunities to earn an income.
No matter who you are or where you live, this holiday won’t be the same. And while it might be painful or a struggle to get through, here are a few things that are keeping my spirits up :
Creating new holiday traditions
Zoom is a verb now and is likely installed on every computer in America at this point. Remember how I mentioned extended family gatherings grew smaller? Why not create a new family tradition to bring the extended family together through Zoom?
I use a gratitude journal every day but plan to spend extra time being grateful this holiday season. I’ll give gratitude for the holidays of the past, for the family I will be with this year, for a warm place to live, and the support of loved ones.
Keeping traditions alive
Christmas will be tough without much of my immediate family, but it doesn’t mean I want to avoid the holiday altogether. Some of my favorite traditions include various family recipes, holiday movies, and mimosas on Christmas morning. Just because this year is different, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in similar ways.
Perspective and mindset are what will make or break us this year.
I chose to remain positive, roll with the punches, and do what I need to do for myself and my loved ones.
Letting the changes drag me down will only make it harder to get back up.
Despite everything thrown my way in a few short weeks, I plan to keep the Christmas spirit alive. It’s how we’ll get through this holiday season and move forward in 2021.