With lockdowns and social distancing, it is a relief for most to arrive at a time of year when togetherness is the order of the day. Many are looking forward to this holiday season than ever before. However, people will need to get creative about how to make this season count as there are many precautionary measures against family gatherings during Covid.
To mark the significance of this holiday and encourage that spirit of giving, it will help to get family members more engaged in some easy and heartfelt activities. Here are some suggestions to help make your holidays more personal and meaningful to you and the people you care about.
1. Aspiration Ornaments
While tangible gifts are appreciated, this year has demonstrated how easily pursuits can become derailed. To encourage a more positive and hopeful attitude towards the coming year, have each member of the family write down a goal they wish to achieve. Let them place it in a small decorative envelope and hang it as an aspiration ornament on your tree.
On Christmas, take some time to gather around and have each member read out their note. As a family, you can discuss how to support each person in achieving this goal.
2. Make A Family Photo Tree
Photos are a way to capture a memory. Make your tree more meaningful by switching out some of the ornaments with photos of loved ones taken during the year. From selfies to graduation pics, all mementoes of the year are welcome.
You can turn this into a family tradition by saving the photos every year in an album and passing it on to your children when they move out. Be sure to indicate the date the photos were taken on the backs of the photos.
3. Give Back
The past year has been difficult for many families. Job losses, sickness, and deaths have hit many hard. Look into local charities that have been helping families in need with food and other support. Identify a family that you can sponsor for the holidays.
Try to match up to one that has a similar profile as your own, like same age and number of kids. Have each corresponding family member choose gifts for this person. To make it more meaningful, let them work from the budget you would use for gift shopping. Let them cut their shopping by half and spend the other half on this family.
4. Virtually Connect with Family
As said, we may not be able to enjoy the holidays with all our loved ones as normal. More so if you have more vulnerable seniors. However, thanks to technology we can still connect with them. Find ways to make them feel still a part of the celebrations.
Skype dinner and the kids opening gifts. Have them do a video call to see how they have decorated and will be eating too. Encourage the younger ones to ask their grandparents to share stories and really listen. For seniors more adept with technology, consider inviting them to go on an online quest or other video game interaction.
5. Build a Cultural Bridge
With travel more restricted and health risks a concern, many will be stuck at home. But this does not have to be boring. Expose yourselves to new cultures and holiday traditions by picking a country and learning about how they celebrate Christmas.
Replicate some of their holiday celebration dishes and learn some of their common phrases. If you have immediate or extended family from different cultures ad background, start here. Ask them about what they remember most fondly about holidays back home and see how you can recreate this for them. And it does not just have to be cultural. Like the make up your own holiday day movement, you can dedicate this period to commemorating a person, animal, food or anything you can think of.
6. Create a Family Newsletter
Even during lockdowns many people still managed to accomplish new goals. It could be as simple as building a new deck to learning a new language. Create a family newsletter where you can mark these gains.
Make it more entertaining by doing it as a video rather than written format. Give each family member a chance to show off their achievements on camera and edit it into a fun video you can share with family and friends. There are many free and paid resources you can use to make videos online.
7. Get Conservational
Thankfully, many of the younger generations have a good understanding of why we need to protect this planet. Encourage them to go green by recycling. They can wrap gifts using old brown paper bags, newspaper, and magazines.
Have the kids make their own Christmas cards and ornaments using supplies already in the house. Consider buying a potted evergreen than cutting down a tree. This way you can replant it instead of leaving it to rot and have to throw it away. Also, consider gifts you can send online. This makes for lower emissions from having to transport the gifts personally.
8. Appreciate Our Essential Workers
Frontline workers have had it particularly tough given the greater risks they expose themselves to. To show your appreciation for these efforts, consider putting up a sign on your front yard or window with a supportive or thankful message.
Consider making up a homemade card and small gift for your mail carrier. You can also get in touch with local organizations and community centers that are assisting such people. Even gestures as simple as running errands, giving a gift card, making a meal and dropping it off will be appreciated.
9. Make Your Own Gift Card
Gift cards do not have to be for shopping or other spending. You can also make your own versions where you get to be of service to your loved ones. Create your own personalized gift cards promising to do things like washing the dog, give a pedicure, or do the laundry. Make the card and your commitments as creative and fun as possible. And remember that when cashed in, you will need to fulfill your part.
10. Find Gifts That Give Back
When spending on gifts, consider purchases that give back. For instance, fostering an orphan baby elephant in the name of the recipient. Or if buying clothes, choose from a brand that is eco-friendly or supports local communities in impoverished nations.
Find brands that are environmentally conscious and humane. Spending your money here will not just result in a happy recipient of the gift, but an extra benefit to the world.
2020 has been a tough year for all of us, and making it through the year, has been a great achievement alone. Most of us had to retrench, rebudget, and remind ourselves that though this won’t go on forever but some of the adjustments will be permanent. But as we look ahead for 2021 the experience of this year gives us hope for better times and new opportunities.