How to Holiday in 2020

Five ways reflection can infuse holiday spirit into an atypical festive season

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We’ve felt a myriad of feelings throughout this pandemic as we’ve seen the numbers change over time. From March’s “stay in your home all the time and stock up on toilet paper,” to “how can we live life now and minimize our risk.” Now in December, the coronavirus is still here and surging, and we are all exhausted and looking forward to the end of the year.

Along with physical and emotional fatigue, many of us are also experiencing zoom fatigue. Digital connection has been key throughout the year, and we are grateful for it, but it can also leave us seeking additional screen-free ways to celebrate the season. 

Here are five ways to infuse joy into the holiday season, starting with a bit of reflection and acceptance:

  • Share your gratitude. Instead of creating a holiday wish list, write an appreciation or gratitude list. Think of the people you would be spending time with or are important in your life and write a short note on what you appreciate about them. Send a message, give them call, reach out with something kind to say. Just a few choice words can make a difference in brightening someone’s day.
  • Experience something new. Fresh finds always perk up your spirits, and that can include new recipes. A friend told me he recently roasted a whole duck for the first time, and it gave him a sense of accomplishment—and me a twinge of healthy culinary envy! Exploring music is also a perfect way to brighten a day, so think about listening to a new album all the way through. Same goes with new genres of movie, and new virtual games. The trick is to try new things which can get you out of your routine and spark energy and new ideas.
  • Pamper yourself with creature comforts. Connect with comfortable old things to bring a sense of warmth and nostalgia in your life. Cook up an old culinary favorite, partake in a food swap, listen to an old playlist with familiar fun holiday music— all good ways to build cheer in the holidays.
  • Write an appreciation letter to yourself. You deserve it! Think about what you’ve been through this year, the challenges you’ve overcome, the things you’ve learned, and write out what you’d like to remember. Save it with your Christmas decorations so that you can find it again a year from now.
  • Embrace the challenge of 2020. This has been a strange year and most of us are ready for it to be over. So, while we can wish it were not this way, we can also try to step back and recognize the uniqueness of this situation. This will be a one-of-a-kind holiday season, and there will never be another one like it in our lifetimes. It is unique, it is strange, and it is also fleeting. This will be something that 5 years down the line you will talk to others about and commiserate. If you were to look back on this time 5 years from now, how would you have wanted to spend it? 

Above all, remember to be compassionate and take care of yourself. Everyone gets a pass this holiday season, in that you do not have to plan or put too much pressure on yourself. Emotional fuses can feel particularly short these days. Take some time to engage in self-care and remember, being compassionate towards yourself will allow you to be more compassionate with others. So stay safe, take good care, and pat yourself on the back for getting through this year.

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