Plate of sugar cookies in the shape of stars and candy canes

Lessons Learned During the Pandemic that can Help This Year’s Holiday Season

picture of glass ornament with snowflake on blue background

Here we are again, full-swing in the 2023 Holiday Season!  In a post-covid world, where everything already feels more overwhelming than ever before, how can we not only survive, but thrive during the holidays?

Well, I learned a great deal during the 2020 Holiday Season.  So as the anxiety builds this year, I need to remind myself about the important lessons I learned during the pandemic:

  1. The holidays are NOT the same every year…and that’s ok.  It is an understatement to say that the 2020 Holiday Season was NOT the same as ever before.  Most of us were navigating the lockdown and at best were frequently testing and masking and creating Covid “bubbles” to celebrate as best we could. But my true confession about this first lesson learned is this – I already had practice at holidays being different every year, since my family is a blended family. Each holiday season is different in terms of negotiating who is going to be where when…and now that our children are grown and some married, there is so much more orchestration involved. And sometimes there are last minute changes. So, “rolling with it” was always the mantra…but actually rolling with it without letting disappointments ruin the whole thing are skills that were refined during the pandemic. Our Covid Christmas was completely virtual.  Yet, I watched the video just the other day and everyone was so happy to see each other; the love is still radiating off the recording 3 years later.
  1. Giving ourselves permission to “let go” is not only necessary, but freeing. There were things we just couldn’t do during the pandemic holidays. And if I’m totally honest, that slower paced holiday brought a lot of enjoyment and opportunity to relax and reflect. Now, here I am three years later thinking I may have let things ramp up too much…the events, the expectations, the hustle and bustle.  Letting go of all of it during the pandemic was necessary…letting some of that go now is freeing. The frozen pies from the store bake up just as nicely as a dessert from scratch. And gift bags are as inexpensive as wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree, but so much faster. Sure, keeping traditions are important but not if they steal your energy. The point is to spend the energy on what really matters.
  2. Connections are what matter. You’re not surprised by this…the best part of the holidays is all about the relationships. So our focus should be on being around the people we want to see. The older I get the less important it is to me that our house is “perfect” before company comes. And if that’s a problem that I’m going to stress about, then let’s meet at a restaurant. For those of you parenting children with attachment challenges this connection part is tricky. It’s why planning is necessary and being honest with yourself about what you really want is important. The connections with those you care about during the holidays is the whole point.  So we have to get super creative and super flexible…and give ourselves permission to remember that connections with ourselves and our significant others matter too – and should be planned into the schedule, even if that means disappearing for a quick date at Starbucks (or in the backyard or the car). Remember…we’ve lived through a pandemic that turned the world on its ear…and holidays are time for celebrating with the ones you love…all the rest doesn’t matter.

 

Wishing all of you peace, joy and love throughout this holiday season…and some dedicated time for whatever fills your cup so you’re ready for 2024!

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