Family Life

5 Ways to Keep the Holidays Jolly

Christmas is normally a time of togetherness, where families and communities can experience the season with each other. However, this Christmas is looking to be different because of the spread of COVID-19 and safety guidelines suggesting that everyone keep their distance from each other. 

Though the season may be different this year because of the pandemic, quarantine and social distancing, there are ways families can celebrate the Christmas season. And, you will come to find that the gift of your time to your kiddos is worth a lot more than materialistic things found in a store.

Plan Ahead
Despite how different Christmas will be, parents can prepare for the holiday season all while dealing with the struggles of COVID-19. In her four years in the counseling field, Victoria Morgan, MEd, PLPC, NCC has helped many families understand and adjust to situations that may be difficult and confusing for children. When it comes to preparing for Christmas, she believes that the best thing to do is to plan ahead. 

“Now is the time to think about traditions and see what can and can’t be accomplished this year,” says Morgan. “Think about what you usually do, where you usually go, who you usually see, and whether these are possible considering COVID-19 restrictions.” 

While parents can plan for the upcoming holiday, they may be concerned about how their children will react to how different Christmas will be. Angela Barger is a mother of two sons, and while her younger son may have an easier time adapting, her oldest is more aware of what is happening. “I think my eldest will have a harder time adjusting because he knows it won’t be the same this year,” she says. 

While it is important to keep their children in mind, parents must remember that children look to them in times of unfamiliarity. “Children are resilient, and if we, as adults, remain positive, they will typically follow our lead,” says Morgan. Because of this, one of the best things parents can do this year is to keep the holiday spirit as much as possible.

Keep Things Normal
One way parents can keep the holiday spirit is to keep Christmas as familiar as possible. Haley Nemeth is a mother of a four-year-old daughter and she plans on trying to remain as routine as possible. “Personally, I have found best for our family is that keeping things normal in our day to day has helped us through these uncertain times,” says Nemeth. “We all have had enough stripped away from us this year, so any piece of normality during the Christmas season that we can find, we will hold onto.” Despite the circumstances, normality can easily be achieved through traditions done at home.

Spend Time Together
While so much will be different this year, there are a few things that can be done to keep the spirit alive and give your kiddos a gift that’s priceless. Here are some things that local families in Baton Rouge will be doing to celebrate the holiday this year.

  1. “This Christmas, we hope to do an advent calendar with our child which gives her a little something special every day to look forward to, and we also have the Elf on a Shelf who keeps things fun and light daily,” says Nemeth. 
  2. “One of our favorite traditions is to ride around and view Christmas lights,” Barger says. “We play Christmas music on the radio and always sneak in a few snacks.” By giving children familiar traditions to look forward to, parents may help children become more comfortable this Christmas.
  3. “Children will look for some of those traditions and be disappointed in ones they can’t do,” says Barger. “This is a situation where you can try to make new traditions. This would be a great year to decorate your house and do a bit more than normal, or make special 2020 ornaments with each other.” 
  4. One tradition that children may have trouble with this year is not visiting extended family they only see during the holidays. This could upset children, but while they may not be able to visit this year, there are still ways they can communicate. “Technology has come so far in allowing people to stay connected while quarantined and continuing to stay safe,” says Barger. Families can connect through other ways. “Write letters and send pictures to family so they know you are thinking of them and miss them,” suggests Nemeth. 
  5. Even by doing Christmas traditions, it may help children who may be missing family members. “Because of the pandemic, many have been impacted and could still be grieving,” says Morgan. For those who are missing family members, there are ways to help honor them. “Families may be able to find ways to remember their loved ones by making ornaments, collages, or family recipes. It’s important to keep our loved ones in mind and not lose sight of what’s important, and when able, take advantage of spending the holidays with those closest to you.” ■

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