This Holiday Season, Ignore Tradition

When COVID-19 emerged in March and turned into a pandemic, most of us did not think about the possible disruption of the holidays. It was almost a year before the December holidays, and many people did not foresee that the uncertainty of March still split us many months later, remaining constant in our lives.

But we were all terribly wrong. The holidays coincide with the United States passing a grim milestone of 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 . It’s safe to say that whatever holiday tradition you celebrate with friends and family this year, it won’t feel the same as usual. If you do choose to cultivate the holiday spirit in an organic sense, the ubiquitous reality of COVID-19 will be in the background, serving as an unpleasant reminder that your traditions may put people at risk.

Alternatively, you can set aside your long-held and cherished holiday traditions this year. This may sound rude, but there is always a way to give it a positive twist, especially when vaccinations can ensure that your traditions are only temporarily frozen. Here are some reasons to think about it this year.

It won’t be the same

Traditions have excellent food for rallying and fellowship. But the pastime is not the same when watered down. Looking at family or friends through Zoom at a computer or phone monitor can do more to make the holidays feel like purgatory than a time of togetherness and celebration. Overall joy doesn’t have the same effect when filtered through a Wi-Fi connection.

I am not saying to avoid talking to family or loved ones via Zoom or FaceTime. Of course, we all need human contact in this time of historical uncertainty. I’m talking about the futility of replicating big, meaningful traditions online: it’s important to realize that a virtual family dinner or playing the time-honored game of family charades won’t go as seamlessly as it does. in real, physical life.

Take the stress out of yourself

Like any big event in someone’s life, the holidays can create a sense of anticipation, which sometimes creates a feeling of pressure. If you are hosting a large gathering and preparing a meal, you may feel the dreaded expectation that you will make the event special. You may crave rave reviews from family and friends about the dinner you have prepared, and that worry alone can rob you of the joy of the holiday atmosphere.

So why not allow yourself to breathe this festive season? This year is radically different from all previous years, and probably every year in the future. Allow yourself to take a break from traditionally maddening holiday work and perhaps enjoy some serenity instead.

Understand this is a one-off thing

Thankfully, this marathon pandemic won’t last forever, and the worldwide spread of vaccines should probably ensure that next year’s vacation is different. Although this winter will be harsh, you may be comforted by the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the abandonment of tradition will not be permanent.

Do something memorable

In this time of unprecedented oddities, an opportunity awaits. It is in your power to create new memories, perhaps by doing things that you would never have thought of under normal circumstances. Perhaps prepare a new meal that doesn’t stick to age-old holiday traditions, or take a trip to a scenic location, weather and restrictions permitting. All of your typical holiday traditions evoke memories that you bring back to your friends and family, so why not try to develop that same sense of togetherness this year by taking on something new? In the end, we can safely assume that things will be at least a little more normal next year.


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