Stopping to Appreciate: Reinvented Holidays in 2020


Have you reinvented much of your 2020? 

If you are like most parents, the answer is YES, and you probably haven’t taken the time to properly acknowledge how spry you were through the challenges of this year. So what if you re-invented one last part – the holidays?

In my three-part series focused on “Stopping to Appreciate” I last hit upon those ever-so-benign Mondays that go okay, or dare I say, sometimes go uh-maze-ing?! This time I wanted to tap into some time to appreciate the fact that we all have really survived, well almost have survived, the year that we were forced to re-imagine life as we know it. Our routines, our mental health, our household’s ability to thrive together more often – in the same household of little ones saying, “I’m bored!” And, “Frozen pizza again, Mom?” And in closing, this year of anything goes, what if we stopped to appreciate the simplicity of perhaps a re-imagined holiday season? Am I suggesting we opt OUT of family gatherings or gift exchanges? Maybe, maybe not; the boundaries you create are of your own choosing. Hefty admonishments from health experts suggest no gatherings of more than three households. Let’s appreciate THAT for a change, and we can make some lemonade from all these lemons while we are at it. 

Maybe this is the Christmas to take a long family hike, to take little ones in a cousin group to a park all bundled up, or intentionally set out to cook or bake as a family unit (or portion of a family unit). Maybe this is THE YEAR you wrangle your nine-year-old daughter into the kitchen and teach her some of your recipes on a quiet Christmas Eve, or maybe this is the year parents give their teens the challenge of making the ENTIRE Christmas meal (maybe not a task of turkey or a huge ham, but what about an Italian dinner for this year – that teens could entirely plan?). What a memory-making opportunity!

Our household has determined that we will take a little trip within a half-day of driving distance for us to enjoy the serenity of nature but also in a warm enough location that we can still enjoy some local sights and eats outdoors, and quite frankly, a few days just stay in our pajamas or use the amenities on the property. Do I think this will be how we celebrate future Christmas holidays? Probably not. Will our little family still find time to safely see one or two other households at different times during the holiday season? Probably. But with a year that has brought on SO many nuances of memories in a context we never imagined, why not embrace some of this crappiness with rose-colored glasses?

At the end of the day, we can make some lemonade and rejoice differently in the oddity of what this year has brought upon us all, or we can put our own boundaries in the fray and others’ health at-risk and go about the holidays as usual. It’s all a choice. My family is going to choose to smile and appreciate the difference this year has brought, and the health we want ALL our family members to have in the New Year to come.