The 2020 holiday season is looking far different than any other we’ve experienced. While Thanksgiving presented its own challenges in terms of gathering together, the Advent season is special in that festivities tend to be scheduled through the entire month of December. This year, as we are called to stay home and remain physically distant, we may all be grieving the loss of our “normal holiday.” For those who have lost a loved one, this holiday season may seem even more daunting, as the friends and family you could normally rely on for support and companionship during the holidays may not feel comfortable expanding their quarantine bubble. As we all continue to navigate this unprecedented time, there are some creative ways to stay connected to those you love while also staying safe.
Explore Virtual Options
We are lucky to live in a very modern world. While nothing can replace being together in person, video chat is a very close second! Being able to see and talk with your family in real time can help you feel connected and grounded in the present. It can also be a gentle reminder to expand your perspective beyond the scope of your own home. Try to find a video chat service that works for your family, and let them know you’d like to make video calls a priority this holiday season.
Stay Outdoors and Separated
If technology isn’t your strong suit and you desperately need to see your loved ones over the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends gathering outdoors, maintaining a 6ft distance between households, and wearing masks. While staying outdoors may not be very comfortable on cold winter days, it’s much safer than an indoor visit. You can make things cozier by bundling up with plenty of blankets and grabbing a thermos of coffee or hot cocoa to stay warm. Taking a winter walk is also a nice way to spend time with loved ones while remaining socially distant. If the weather is just too cold to be outside but you’d still like to see your loved ones in person, try parking your cars near each other with the windows rolled up while using cellphones to talk!
There are countless other ways to stay connected with loved ones while staying safe. For instance, you could start a dish exchange, where you take turns dropping off special holiday dishes to your loved one’s doorstep. You could also host a virtual family gift exchange, where each family member mails their gifts to each other to open together over video chat. You can take pictures of your Christmas trees and decorations to share when you’re able to gather again – or maybe even print the photos and send in an “old fashioned” Christmas card. You can watch a favorite Christmas movie at the same time and talk after… the possibilities go on!
Rely on Your Faith
This time of isolation can be a good opportunity to deepen your relationship with the Lord. Make sure to watch Mass livestreams, read scripture, and find time to pray. Not only will the Lord grant you peace and comfort, but staying connected to your faith and to the Church will help you establish a sense of community that goes beyond the physical sense of the word. God is always with you and, as His beloved child, you are called into a community that spans the entire universe. You are never truly alone, as God is always with you.
Post written by Katie Karpinski