This year, your holiday festivities may look a little bit different than the ones you remember as a child, or even last year. Last holiday season, the Coronavirus, for those who knew of it at all, was a mere abstract concept, a buzzword passed around the evening news, mentioned in between local happenings, sports highlights, and politics. It’s safe to say that very few of us sat around our holiday gatherings in 2019 thinking we may not be able to gather again this year. Sharing space and traditions with family and friends, traveling long distances to see those relatives you may only see once a year is a tale as old as time, but this year, it’s simply not recommended.
By now, social distancing is the norm. Wearing masks, washing hands, and visiting those we love remotely has been woven into the fabric of our existence to the point that looking at old photos and watching shows and movies without these standards often seems surreal – did we really sit that close to Grandma without a mask? Aaaaah, the good old days. The holidays can be hard for many without the added devastation of the pandemic, but that does not mean that there can be no joy this holiday season.
This year, more than ever, maybe Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Yule) will mean a little bit more…
Maybe this year, your holidays mean Zoom calls with the grandkids, their eyes twinkling from the flame of the candle on the Menorah they just lit that night, giggling as they play with the new dreidel they unwrapped, knowing that they can count on that gift from you every year.
Maybe this year, you have to raise your voice a little louder as you sing Christmas carols in front of your neighbors’ homes, keeping distance while filling the air with hope and love, the next day watching your nieces and nephews across the country open their gifts on FaceTime, showing off the sweaters you knit for them, weaving love into every strand, and pretending to feed you cookies they baked over the phone.
Maybe this year, you sit around the Kinara, seven bright candles lighting the words on the pages as you and your spouse reflect on the importance of heritage, forging new traditions on the pages of your journal as your children dance in socked feet, sliding across the hardwood floors as they sing.
Maybe this year, you honor the longest night by stringing evergreen branches over your altar, hanging homemade bird feeders from the trees, then rushing inside to Zoom with your grandma as she animatedly tells your children stories around candles or a fire, reflecting with gratitude on the gifts and graces of the year past.
Maybe this year, New Year’s Eve looks like a table for two, in your own kitchen, with party hats, a giggling granddaughter, and a grape juice toast on FaceTime at midnight with your daughter, a doctor in the ICU across town, weary yet grateful for these small moments of peace in her world.
However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, please remember that though this pandemic has changed the way we live our everyday lives, it doesn’t have to diminish the magic of the holidays. We can all choose this time of year to fill our hearts with gratitude – gratitude for what we have, what we’ve learned, and how far we’ve come. We are so grateful to be here with you all, able to celebrate the holidays with those we love, with hearts full of abundant hope for the New Year to come.
From the VANTAGE Aging family to yours – May your homes be filled with comfort and joy this holiday season.