As 2020 comes to a close, many of us are wondering how to get in the holiday spirit. This year has given us more than our fair share of stressors, and in the midst of a global pandemic, it can be challenging to get excited for yearly celebrations. You may also be disappointed that COVID-19 will require us to forego time-honored traditions and large gatherings. However, this year presents an amazing opportunity to try something new for the holidays. We’ve put together some of our top tips for spreading Christmas cheer during COVID.
Reflect on Your Favorite Aspects of the Holiday Season
We understand that things are going to look different this December, and that this realization can be upsetting. The first step to a successful holiday season in 2020 is to think deeply about what exactly you love about Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and other observances. Is it spending time with family and friends? Sipping grandma’s special hot chocolate? Trimming the tree? A decades-old white elephant gift exchange? Once you’ve pinpointed your favorite holiday memories, you can begin to find ways to make them possible this year.
Adapt Holiday Traditions for COVID Restrictions
After you have narrowed down a list of traditions, it’s time to get creative. Here are a few ways to update holiday traditions for 2020.
Exchange gifts via online wish lists and USPS. If you’re still hoping to give presents during COVID, there are a bevy of options available. Services like Amazon provide public wish lists where people can save items they would like to receive. Through this list, you can order a gift directly to your loved one’s house without having to ship it yourself. If you’d prefer to send something homemade or locally purchased, the Postal Service is standing by for their busiest time of the year.
Set up a casual, all-day Zoom call. This Thanksgiving, many families experimented with more casual, all-day video calls. These may or may not include a schedule of events, and your family and friends can drop in whenever they’d like. Just leave your laptop open all Christmas Day to share some holiday joy with your loved ones.
Take advantage of new offerings. In light of the recent surge of coronavirus cases, many businesses have begun to offer new, exciting services. Startup companies like White Elephant are trying to find a way to make holiday traditions safe, exciting, and fully virtual. Digital advent calendars, festive recipe blogs, and emails to Santa have also sprung up this year. Take some time to browse these online options.
Share recipes. If you’re anything like us, one of your favorite parts of the holidays is great food. Winter gatherings may be the only occasion when your relatives prepare time-intensive, complicated dishes. 2020 is a great opportunity to share these traditional recipes from afar. Consider setting up a virtual cooking class. Your aunt, cousin, or grandfather can lead a Zoom meeting during which they provide step-by-step guidance to making that specific meal. That way, everyone learns something new and can enjoy the tradition from their own homes.
Decorate, decorate, decorate. Many of us enjoy putting up a few tasteful decorations for the holiday season, but may shudder to think of the time and effort required for decking all the halls. Now, we’ve got nothing but time. You also don’t have to order a ton of ritzy garland or expensive lights to get in the Christmas spirit. Make paper chains, pinecone reindeer, homemade candles, recycled cardboard ornaments, a wreath of foraged greens – the options for sustainable, affordable holiday décor are seemingly endless.
We hope that you take some of these fun ideas and incorporate them into your own holiday celebration. For those in recovery, there are additional considerations to keep in mind this season.
Excited for a No-Stress COVID Christmas?
There’s a reason why the holidays are especially hard for people in recovery. First, spending time around certain relatives can be triggering; they may not know that you are sober, or they may cajole you to drink or use during family gatherings. Next, some of us who return to our hometowns face unique challenges during the month of December, such as seeing people and places from a time of active addiction. Additionally, this time is incredibly demanding for our mental health. Traveling, being in close quarters with relatives, and engaging in politically charged discussions are stressful staples of the holiday season. Finally, getting an extended amount of time off from school or work can result in boredom, which may make people want to use or drink again. With all of these factors in mind, it is important to mentally prepare for the coming weeks.
Many Americans in recovery may find themselves secretly relieved that this winter will look different from the usual rigamarole. For those who will be staying home and adapting traditions, we congratulate you. However, we also encourage you to avoid isolation by seeking support during the holiday season. It is still vital to prioritize your recovery by attending virtual meetings, staying in touch with your sponsor, and remaining engaged in your aftercare or outpatient programming. By putting your sobriety first this winter, you can ensure that 2021 will get off to an excellent start.
Addiction Treatment in the Pacific Northwest
Lakeside-Milam has helped over 100,000 people to find recovery through our evidence-based addiction treatment programs. We provide the complete continuum of care, from withdrawal management to residential treatment to outpatient programming. If you are in need of additional support over the holidays, we are here for you. Contact us for more information about Lakeside-Milam’s unique approach to recovery.