A Light in the Darkness
It’s getting dark so early that it feels like by the time I am ready to take that second walk of the day, the sun is already going down. During these short and sometimes lonely days of the pandemic, it is powerful to think about how many traditions have holidays that focus on a light in the darkness this time of year. Diwali, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Chanukah, Winter Solstice and more.
As we scramble to prepare for 8 days of Chanukah with just the three of us at home, I wanted to share some ideas to make the these winter holidays and upcoming school break a little easier and less stressful.
Six Ideas for Getting Through Pandemic Holidays
1) Remember that traditions can be adapted…and invented. If Aunt Leela isn’t coming this year with her usual dish, can she zoom with you and your children to teach you how to make it at home?
2) This winter break is a great time for a film festival. Spirited Away, Pan’s Labyrinth, Do The Right Thing, and Yellow Submarine are on our list. What films on yours? Can you coordinate with your kid’s friends families or your own extended family to watch a movie in each home and then chat about it afterwards?
3) Getting kids involved in making and choosing gifts for others is so much fun for them. Don’t let them be all about receiving. Give them stickers and markers to make some cards, or even some digital money to spend on siblings, or cousins (if they don’t have their own money saved up.) Choosing a gift for someone and anticipating and enjoying their reaction is a pleasure that kids can learn to relish.
4) If your usual volunteering in the community isn’t safe this year, find other ways to give back. Leave some food in your neighborhood’s grab and go box, or round up coats for a coat drive. So many people need so much right now, and getting our kids involved with giving is the perfect way to get into a grateful space and help your neighbors.
5) Decorate! I admit that I am NOT usually very excited to hang up holiday decorations. It is not a tradition I grew up with. This year, when we couldn’t trick or treat, I hung up some spiders and other Halloween decorations with my son, and it made coming home to our house, where we are spending more time than ever, unexpectedly cheerful. Getting kids involved in making place settings, ornaments or other holiday decorations is very engaging. If decorating isn’t your speed, you can walk, bike or drive by someone else’s over-the-top holiday decorations as a fun outing. We biked all over town checking out Halloween decorations. Even a skeptical tween or teen may secretly enjoy the neighbor’s reindeer on the roof.
6) If you are giving tech gifts (like a new phone, gaming console, or tablet) remember to plan. This present might be better as a non-surprise. Or the surprise could be a wrapped box containing a picture of the item. Don’t hand over the actual device until you can give your full attention to setting expectations and setting up the new item in a mutually agreed on fashion. Generous grandparents and others should check with primary caregivers before giving the gift of technology! If you are getting a new phone for a kid in the house, consider signing up for Phonewise. Phonewise is my self-paced course for parents of new phone users. It is on a holiday sale for the next 8 days .