Holidays During the Pandemic

An Opportunity for New Traditions 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, we have seen two major waves in different parts of the country. The first hitting the northeast in late spring, and the second hitting the south mid-summer. There is now a lot of speculation that we are approaching a third wave. Unfortunately, there is no specific region that is particularly hit the hardest in this wave; all of the regions are impacted. Cases are rising in almost every single state. Even worse, we are approaching a major holiday season. Whether you are planning to celebrate Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, or something else; you may be anticipating that these celebrations will look different from years past. We are facing a major dilemma too. Do we risk further spread of COVID-19 to celebrate or do we change how we celebrate at the expense of our emotional wellbeing? 

Recently, my family had this discussion. What are we going to do about the holidays? I’m going to be honest; it was incredibly difficult. It required us to be honest, patient, understanding, and vulnerable. We all had to share our truths and consider the wants and needs of others. There were even a few tears at times, and lots of compromise. The whole experience seemed so strange. I mean, we had to talk about the holidays and what we couldn’t do; what was unsafe; and what posed a risk to our most vulnerable family members. It was sad. 

And then something changed. 

Like a light bulb turning on, or the spark of matchstick, we realized that the upcoming holiday season wasn’t something to wallow in. It is an opportunity for new traditions. We shared ideas of how we can make the holidays exciting, memorable, and fun. And for the first time in what seems like a long time; I can say with confidence that I am actually looking forward to the holiday season.  

Now, I am fully aware that some people may not have a “traditional” family unit to reach out to this holiday season. But maybe this can be an opportunity to reach out to those in our inner circle – our people – and speak our truth. We can practice patience, kindness, empathy, honesty, compromise, and understanding. We can make our game plan, set expectations, and share ideas. Maybe having these difficult conversations can be an opportunity to heal and mend relationships. By shifting our mindset to view the upcoming holidays as an opportunity for new traditions, we can do a lot more to our emotional wellbeing than we think. We can build trust, hope, and resiliency.  

If you are struggling with holiday plans, I invite you to consider having these conversations with your people. Keep an open mind, and you may be surprised with the outcome. Stay safe, and be well.  

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