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The Et Cetera

High Five: Make new traditions this holiday season


This year, some people may really need the joy that the holidays bring with them, you’ll say, and that’s true. But this year’s holidays won’t only bring joy; they’ll bring a whole tornado of emotion that might be starting to wrap around you like a ribbon on a present: curiosity, confusion, sadness and joy all being mixed together as at least some of the storm. No worries, my friends. Here are some ideas to make this Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate a very special one, one that would only happen if this pandemic happened.

— Deirdre Holmes

Have a virtual feast

Most of you probably have a party or at least invite a couple friends and/or family members over in the Christmas season. If you wish, you can still do so, but if you are concerned for the health of, for instance, your grandparents or very young son or daughter, try a virtual meal.

No, you can’t eat through the screen (though doesn’t everyone wish they could?), but you could set up a tablet or laptop on the table and have a video call with your grandparents. You could see each other’s beautiful meals, and as you eat your own Christmas (or any holiday) feasts, you can talk with your family and feel at least part of that specialness of eating with your loved ones who do not live with you.

You could also invite everyone on the video call to buy a specific food you all could eat “together.” You can also have a virtual party and figure out some games to play or have a Christmas morning chat.

Make games for the kids

Do you have children? Nieces or nephews? Young siblings? If so, creating games to play is a good bonding experience.

Make-believe games and creativity were a significant part of my childhood and their attitudes have stayed with me as a teenager.

Now, leave this article for a moment and go talk to your child. Ask them, “So, Christmas might be a little weird this year. It’ll be just us, and we can’t go anywhere. From the very hidden depths of your amazing mind, what do you think we could do to celebrate?”

Don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer. They have ideas, trust me. You never know what answers you’ll get.

Here are some ideas: Make a Christmas tree out of plastic cups and make paper ornaments decorated with a picture of a relative. Dress up like elves and go on a family neighborhood walk. Make cookies and cover them with white icing and powdered sugar, pretend their snowballs, and throw them across the kitchen into father’s mouth. It’s messy, but sounds like a lot of fun.

Go ice skating

Can’t you just hear Charlie Brown and the Peanuts singing this song on the ice? Well, don’t just watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on re-run all day, go sing it yourself! Some ice rinks might not be opened this winter, but not all of them are closing.

Even the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center looks like it’s still in business. It’s not cheap, but you can even skate privately with your family or a small group after hours if you want to avoid a crowd.

Look at lights

Here’s something my family actually did in in at least a couple years of my life. I prefer doing it on Christmas Eve, but you can do it a little before or after, as long as you’ve got a car and it’s night time.

Get behind the wheel with your family or friends and go for a ride around the neighborhood, the city, even the county (however far you want to go) and look at the lights and decorations people have put up on their houses.

It is actually a really enjoyable experience, especially, but not only, for the kids. Don’t forget to put up your own lights, and have fun with it. So far in my light-rides I’ve seen a (video) Santa standing behind a window in a house and lights that synchronize to a dance routine with the radio.

They’re memories I’ll never forget.

Trade in those old traditions

Maybe a favorite tradition isn’t going to work out this year. Well, take in mind all that I’ve said so far in the article, and then use all those ideas (especially asking the kids), and make a new tradition.     

One that will remind you of this year every year that follows it. This year is not something you have to remember with pain.

You can make this year special. I would say memorable, but it’s probably going to be memorable for you nevertheless.

Here’s some ideas: write in a book, dance, sing, laugh and be with family.

But remember, have fun!

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