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Changing Family Traditions During a Global Pandemic

 
 
 

Much like last year's holidays, the 2021 holiday season will be greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of a very challenging year and a half, it may feel like more of a letdown for some. Although this holiday season will be marked once again by the global pandemic, there are ways you and your family can still celebrate the holidays while remaining as safe as possible. Consider some of these tips as your family traditions adapt. 

Have conversations with your kids. If they’re feeling very disappointed or having a hard time adapting to the changes, let them know it’s okay and that you’re disappointed, too. Encourage your kids to share their feelings and thoughts and remind them why things must be different this year

Focus on the can, not the can’t. Rather than focusing on what you’ll miss out on this year, try to focus on the traditions and rituals you can continue to do together. For example:

·         Decorate a Christmas tree and your home

·         Make and decorate holiday cookies

·         Take a family walk to look at lights

·         Have a holiday movie marathon

CDC Guidance 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released it's public health guidance for this year's holiday season. The recommendations urge people to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays if they haven't done so already. For young children who aren't yet eligible for the vaccine, the CDC suggests reducing risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated. The CDC also recommends that people continue to wear masks indoors in public spaces.  When it comes to big family gatherings, the CDC suggests "additional precautions" such as testing in advance or avoiding crowded indoor spaces before making the trip. 

Create new traditions. If anything, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to think creatively and begin new family traditions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

·         Send care packages to loved ones. Mail holiday treats or small gifts to friends and family and open them together over Zoom or Facetime.

·         Begin a family shared project. Start a crafting chain for a holiday themed project, like ornaments, mementos and treats, and share them with family and friends, use them to help decorate your home, or donate some to shelter or non-profit to help brighten up someone else’s holiday!

·         Take turns hosting online mini celebrations with family, friends, and neighbors Instead of one big holiday celebration, spread them out with several, shorter ones online. Each family or set of friends could host an event throughout December like: singing Christmas carols, baking cookies, online dance party, and holiday story time.

Bigger isn’t always better. Typically, large holiday gatherings, family parties, and the holidays in general can lead to stress and anxiety. Use this opportunity to take a step back, scale down, and focus on the parts of the holidays that mean the most to you and your family.