I was texting with a friend of mine from afar who has had a particularly grueling year and when I asked him how he was going to spend the holidays his response was “I don’t feel like celebrating anything this year.”
Oh man, I get it. In such an abnormal time it can feel strange to try to celebrate in a normal or traditional way. But the way I see it, that’s no reason NOT to celebrate, and in fact, it gives us the wonderful occasion to try something new for our holiday festivities.
I love traditions, but to close out a year that has been one of many pivots (to say the least), we can continue that spirit of turning a disappointment into an opportunity. If your normal holiday meal is turkey dinner with all the trimmings at Grandma’s house, then why not change things up completely and have tacos with your immediate family instead? Or try the fun of baked potato bar or make-your-own-pizza with lots of different toppings? Or how about breakfast for dinner, or everything in pie form? Who knows, you could end up with a brand-new ritual or custom that everyone likes even more than the old way of doing things. Every tradition was new at one time, so this year could be the start of a fun new thing that gets incorporated every year henceforth and gets passed down through the generations.
Since most of us can’t see extended family in person this year, we can make sure to connect with them online for some scheduled gift-unwrapping sessions. You can even have a “Present Cam” with closeups of the unboxing to keep it fun and interesting. There are online resources for activities like a Christmas charades generator or holiday trivia contest or fill-in-the-blank games that can be played with many people virtually to keep everyone amused and avoid potentially awkward moments when people may have run out of things to say.
Yes, it is necessary and healthy to take the time you need to grieve the loss of the holiday experience that won’t be the same this year. But when you’ve done that, I encourage you to pick yourself up, sprinkle yourself with figurative holiday glitter, and head into your celebrations with the resolve to make them the best they can possibly be, regardless of the circumstances. Wallowing in sadness and disappointment is a choice but so is choosing to make the best of things when they don’t go the way we’d really rather have them go. We’ve been doing this all year long, and now is the time to ramp up the consciously choosing happiness meter as much as we can.
This will be a holiday season to remember for sure. So why not fill it with experiences that will create joyful memories rather than have it be one more item on the “Things That Disappointed Me in 2020” list? There are so many conditions that are out of our control right now so it’s important to remember that even when something is out of our control, we always have control over how we choose to deal with it. Make the choice, and choose holiday happiness, whatever that looks like for you this time around.