Making Wonderful Holiday Memories During a Not-So-Wonderful Time- Part 1

Happy Holidays!!! Be of Good Cheer! In this year of drastic changes, here’s how to pivot your holiday for the better. Be proactive, and your family will follow.

Start by alleviating your children’s fears during these unsettling times. 

Say this: “Things are changing, and we’re going to change right along with them. We’re no strangers to change, right? Every year you start school, there’s a big change. We don’t freak out about it. We adjust, just like I had to adjust when you learned to crawl, and when you learned to walk. If they change the way school is taught again, we’ll adjust. If you need help, I’ll help you, and if I don’t know what to do, I’ll find someone who does. I got your back.”

Have the conversation every day. Give them space to express how they feel without judgment, and don’t be afraid that you won’t be able to be strong for them. If their conversation makes you sad, be transparent and tell them you’re sad, and that it’s okay.

Say this: “It’s okay if I’m sad. We all get sad sometimes, and we all get over it. Remember when you were sad last week, and how happy you were yesterday? That’s what it’s like for everybody, me included. I feel better with hugs, so if you ever worry about me being sad, you can hug me, and I’ll hug you. Let’s hug right now.”

Then, embrace the change. What do you say we skip the nonproductive, apologetic, guilt-ridden, depressing conversations about what you’re not going to have because of Covid, or lack of funds, or lack of access to relatives and friends? It’s time to reframe the holiday into creative ways to have fun and make special memories. 

Say this: “Let’s create some new holiday traditions. I’m not talking about making do through the quarantine this holiday. I’m talking about things we can do throughout the years, our new traditions.”

Have your family research unique ways you can sail through the holidays, and then gather them together to brainstorm. While you do that, I’m going to address some basic problems here and in Part 2.

Money Is Really Tight

Reach out for help. The pandemic has messed up the circumstances of millions of people, and there’s no shame in identifying yourself as one of them. 

Contact your Town Hall, and ask them, since you can’t afford holiday gifts, if they know of an organization that is providing them for families in need. Also, try:

  • your house of worship
  • Toys for Tots
  • Boys/Girls Clubs
  • the police department
  • the fire department. 

If there is something available, it’s well worth the effort. Plus, you’ll be giving the donors the gift of being able to give.

We Can’t Afford a Christmas Tree

New Tradition: Use An Outdoor Tree. 

  • Pick a publically decorated tree in town to be your very own personal Wishing Tree. 
  • Bundle up and jump in the car right after dinner every night for the next 2 weeks and visit your tree. 
  • Everybody makes their own wish for the betterment of someone else. 
  • Take a quick drive around the neighborhood to see the lights, and head home.

New Tradition: Make Your Own Christmas Tree

  • Start saving your newspapers to make Paper Mache Christmas trees to decorate, along with ornaments. Make a mess together. Clean up together. Record the fun for them to enjoy with their future kids. 
  • Have a zoom party where their friends/grandparents/neighbors/relatives are engaged in the same tree-making activity at the same time so they can share their creativity. 
  • Take photos of your creations! Put them into a 2020 photo album they can look through next year when they repeat this new tradition.

For more New Traditions, see Making Wonderful Holiday Memories During a Not-So-Wonderful Time- Part 2 and Part 3. If December 2020 finds you low on funds, ideas abound in Part 2 for what to do when We Have No Spare Money For Holiday Activities. Part 3 deals with how to handle Holiday Gifting when you don’t have holiday money to spend.

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