The coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic in the early days of 2020. And yet, with the end of the year rapidly approaching, it continues to plague communities across the globe and upend daily life as we know it.
With the holidays right around the corner, many are wondering how social distancing protocols and restricted travel will affect their festivities. If you’re amongst the ranks of the concerned, here are a few thoughts and considerations to help make the holiday season go as smoothly as possible.
Really (Like, Really) Plan Ahead
The holidays are always a busy time. Throw a pandemic into the mix and that constant holiday busyness becomes a bit more complicated and confusing. Travel plans may be difficult (if not impossible), family get-togethers may need to be limited, and annual “in-person” shopping events like Black Friday and Christmas Eve will likely look very different.
With all of that in mind, it’s important that you seriously take the time to plan ahead this holiday season. This doesn’t mean you need to have every minute between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day scheduled out. On the contrary, chances are you won’t actually be sure of how traditional events and activities will go until they get much closer. However, you can still plan ahead in multiple ways, such as:
- Keeping up to date with social distancing protocols in the regions that you may be traveling through.
- Studying the latest research to weigh the risk of traveling using certain modes of transportation.
- Brainstorming your holiday gift ideas sooner rather than later.
- Taking advantage of online shopping events like Cyber Monday.
- Striving to maintain a flexible, adaptable mindset as you schedule out your holiday season.
By planning ahead, you can minimize the destabilizing effect that the holidays may have on your life over the next several weeks.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tailor Traditions
Travel restrictions and high-risk factors may make normal Christmas travel and traditions more difficult than usual this year. You may find that you can’t head cross-country this Thanksgiving or hop in the car to visit Grandma and Grandpa on Christmas Day.
If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to temporarily tailor your holiday traditions for the current situation. For instance, if you’re stuck at home, don’t treat it like just another day trapped with your family in quarantine. Look for ways to spice up your space by having a Thanksgiving feast, a happy hour picnic, or even a holiday-themed game night.
Looking for ways to have unique fun this season is a great way to both infuse your holidays with fresh excitement and create some one-of-a-kind memories to cherish for the rest of your life.
Along with adjusting your established traditions, you should never be afraid to think outside of the box, especially in areas where traditional behavior may have been compromised.
For instance, if you find that you can’t visit mom and dad this year since they’re in a high-risk category, there are still many different ways that you can include senior members of the family in the festivities, such as:
- Setting up family holiday conference calls.
- Building a digital scrapbook together.
- Attending your church’s Christmas service “together” online.
- Watching a holiday-themed movie at the same time while on a video chat.
Introducing a splash of creativity can be the spark that’s needed to keep your holiday activities alive and well — even if they’re unrecognizable at the same time.
Strive for Balance
Finally, if you want to navigate the holidays without being completely overwhelmed this season, it’s important that you take steps to maintain a healthy balance between the holiday activities and things like:
- Work: Maintaining work-life balance is especially important during the busy holidays.
- School: If you or your kids (or both) are in school, make sure to stay on top of your schedule, write out your priorities, and don’t overcommit to extra academic assignments and responsibilities during the next few months.
- Downtime: You always want to find a way to factor in some downtime for self-care between events.
If you can manage to balance your professional and personal responsibilities throughout the festive bustle, it will go a long way toward reducing the overall stress of the holiday season.
Finding a Way to Enjoy the Holidays During a Pandemic
The truth is the next few months are going to consist of largely uncharted waters for most people. Figuring out how to manage traditions and get into a festive mood in the midst of a global pandemic is a challenge that no one alive has ever really experienced.
Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize anxiety and amp up the fun this holiday season. Forging new traditions, planning ahead, and striving for balance can all help you keep your head on straight and enjoy each day as it comes in the weeks and months ahead.