An Unusual Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches it is very apparent things will be different. For the first time since Covid began, I was admittedly worried and a little frustrated with how things were going. It’s incredibly selfish but I wanted a normal holiday, to see my family, eat my favorite foods, and have a sense of comfort after a long year. It was important for me to realize that these feelings were completely normal and common among people who were figuring out how they would navigate this unusual holiday season. So, my immediate family did a lot of thinking about how we would attempt to make this as normal as possible. Such a simple conversation put into perspective how this year was a unique opportunity to make new traditions. My family came up with some unique and fun ways to incorporate our regular traditions with new twists and turns. So, I thought I would share! This way everyone could jazz up their holiday season and interact with loved ones.

  1. Recipe Roulette! In my family, we take secret recipes very seriously. Every immediate family has their own. It’s what makes holidays so exciting and special, some dishes can only be had when our entire family is together. This makes it difficult to enjoy a holiday feast because many staples are missing. The menu was the most difficult thing to figure out how to combat with everyone being so far away from one another. So, we came up with a recipe for roulette! Each family will enter the lottery and draw a family name. The family name you pull will be the family recipe you receive. It will provide the family with a fun challenge to tackle when it comes to cooking as well as allow us to have some of our favorite comfort food.
  2. Zoom Secret Santa, this was one of the easier traditions during social distancing but we wanted to jazz it up! Every year my family does a secret Santa but it’s usually only with immediate family. However, this year since we would all be away we were able to get the entire family in on secret Santa! It was pretty easy. We created a “Preference for Presents” Google doc with everyone participating. In an email, everyone received a name along with rules for presents and shipment dates. On Christmas Eve we’ll all hop in a zoom call together and open our packages. We’ll get three chances to guess who our secret Santa is. If you guess correctly within your three chances you’ll be entered in another drawing for a gift card. It was a really easy way to put a fun spin on our usual family exchange, get more people involved, and see the entire family on Christmas Eve.
  3. The final holiday tradition we are making virtual is our Christmas Countdown! Typically, my family spends two weeks before Christmas doing holiday activities together. During these two weeks, we countdown the days until Christmas with an old advent calendar at my Grandma’s house. Since that is not possible this year we made a digital advent calendar instead! Every family got a different day on the calendar that they could customize for everyone else. Some families included photos, others did coupons, recipes, inspirational quotes, jokes. It was a really nice way to feel connected despite the distance. It is the most unique advent calendar we’ve ever had and I have a feeling that this will be a tradition that sticks around post Covid.

These are the three ways we’ve tried to spice up our holiday season and keep some of the family traditions alive despite the current circumstance. Getting together with my family to discuss how we were going to be together this year instead of focusing on all the things we couldn’t do made me so excited for the holidays. My Christmas spirit has been reinvigorated at full force. While this Christmas will be different I truly believe it will be one of the best.

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