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Dec 21

Celebrate safely at home this holiday season

Posted on December 21, 2020 at 7:33 pm by Clay Curtin

While staying apart this holiday season is the safe choice, it’s also a tough choice and saying no to people we love is never easy. Having a conversation with your family and loved ones sooner rather than later may help reduce your anxiety and manage others’ expectations. Declining an invitation or suggesting a change to longstanding holiday plans may mean disappointing loved ones, but you can also come up with some creative and different ways to be close while being apart. We are all struggling through pandemic fatigue and are saddened to miss our usual holiday get-togethers with family, friends and loved ones. But, there is still plenty of ways to spread cheers and stay home for the holidays. 

Helpful strategies:
  • Prepare ahead of time. Write down your reasons for choosing not to meet in person during this period of heightened threat. 
  • If you're anxious about the conversation, gain confidence by rehearsing what you will say on your own or with a friend, partner, or in the mirror.
  • Be firm and direct. State your decision clearly at the beginning of the conversation.
  • Acknowledge your own sadness. Make it clear that you are avoiding gatherings because of the virus, not because of your feelings about the person you are speaking with. 
  • If you are sad and disappointed to not be able to see them in person, say so. Tell them you miss them and that you are tired of the pandemic too.
  • Stay focused on your own comfort level. Be clear that you are making a personal decision based on your own risk tolerance and use I statements.
  • Loved ones who were looking forward to seeing you may be hurt, disappointed, or angry at a change in plans. Take the time to listen to them and acknowledge their emotions without arguing. Be understanding if they need time to process their feelings.
  • Suggest alternatives - and follow through. Remind them that you still care about them and that there are other ways to stay connected. 
Ways to celebrate:
  • Celebrate virtually by offering to host a video call while cooking or eating dinner, or to drop off their favorite dish.
  • Make a holiday wreath or bouquet for a friend or neighbor.
  • Host a virtual sing-a-long, the kids will love it!
  • Exchange family recipes or learn a new recipe.
  • Help others by giving them a call or writing to people who are homebound.
  • Create a new tradition that you can continue for years to come.
  • Not all great moments are big, go for a walk, decorate your home or create a handmade gift.
  • Go on a holiday lights walking or driving tour. 
  • Celebrate you! This is a time to use for self-care and take time to relax.
We can all support each other during this time, and focus on our health and our community's health by staying home as much as possible.