I wrote before about how I was dealing with the uncertainties related to the holidays.
Well, now those uncertainties have become certain.
Every year, we go to Kansas City to spend the holidays with my parents; every other year, my sister Elizabeth and her family come too.
But not this year.
I love traditions; I really get energy and cheer from seeing things play out in the same way over the years. I love to visit my hometown of Kansas City. I love to look at my mother’s gorgeous Christmas decorations. I love to go for long early-morning walks with my father around the grounds of the Nelson Atkins Museum. I love to visit the Plaza—to shop, to eat, and to see the lights. I love Winstead’s diner!
I’m reminding myself of wise words from my mother, that “The things that go wrong often make the best memories.”
I want to figure out lots of ways to make this holiday memorable and happy, even if it’s not going to happen the way I wish.
Here are some things I’m considering, as possible ways to create holiday spirit:
- Buy a paper-white narcissus — I associate that sharp, distinctive smell with Christmas
- Buy some evergreens — ditto
- Plan a binge-watch of every episode of the TV show The Office about their annual office Christmas party
- Watch a favorite Christmas movie. But which one? I love the original Miracle on 34th Street, but my daughters don’t care about it. Maybe Elf?
- Make our traditional graham-cracker houses, which we always make when we’re home in New York City
- Make gingerbread cookies, which we always make in Kansas City
- Play holiday music
- Listen to Charles Dickens’s masterpiece, A Christmas Carol — and stay tuned for a bonus episode in the Happier feed!
- Watch Hallmark Christmas movies
As you make your own plans, you might think about how you can…
Figure out the essence of the holiday for you. What foods, decorations, traditions are essential? Invoke your favorite smells, tastes, sounds, and sights of the holiday: decorate gingerbread cookies, drink eggnog, open gifts, put out evergreens, play music.
Decide how you’re going to handle gift-giving if you’re not there in person to exchange gifts. Many arrangements can work, but make sure everyone understands expectations. You don’t want to disappoint anyone, cause resentment, or feel bad about what you did or didn’t do. This may take more planning, too, if you have to mail gifts and can’t make a last-minute run to a mall.
If you can afford it, splurge a little to make your holidays at home feel special! Buy those extra twinkle lights, buy a big wreath for your front door.
Take advantage of where you are. If your pandemic plans mean that you’re not traveling, find fun, interesting things to do at home.
Watch your favorite holiday movies and play your favorite holiday music. Great for setting the mood.
Be grateful. Even if you’re disappointed, look for things to be grateful for. You don’t have to travel, or spend money on travel. Maybe you get to make that stuffing recipe that you’ve always wanted to try. And remember, this holiday will be memorable, because it will be so different from most holidays. So take the time to make those memories great.
Ideas I’ve heard from other people:
What are your ideas for capturing the essence of the holiday spirit? Making the time feel joyful and special?