It’s almost here…Winter Break (you thought I was going to say Christmas)! Yes, Christmas too. Like most others, this is a time that my family and I look forward to every season. Live plays and performances…walking through Zoo Lights and Glendale Glitters with hot chocolate…Christmas parties! Of course, due to COVID, none of that is happening this year. We will ZOOM performances while we watch at home (weird, but I’ll try it) and admire the lights in our community…alone…and away from strangers. Our celebrations this year will definitely be different but different does not have to equate no fun!
First, let’s start with an attitude of gratitude. 2020 has been the most challenging year that many of us have ever faced. Many members of our communities have lost loved ones, friends, structures, resources, and routines because of COVID’s destruction. So if your biggest issues are ones of inconvenience, stop right there and check your perspective. It is so much worse for many others. Be a support to someone else and you will quickly become grateful that all you are missing is an event.
Speaking on perspective, it can make the biggest difference in how we handle things. I heard from some wise soul (probably a kid) that life is 20% what happens to us and 80% how we handle it. So instead of focusing on what we cannot do, let’s focus on what we can do during Christmas with COVID.
- Since so many traditional events are canceled this year, this is a great opportunity to make a new one! What about a Christmas Eve Campout in the backyard this year? I’m talking fire pit, hot chocolate, Christmas pajamas, roasted marshmallows, chestnuts on the open fire, and a flashlight for watching out for Santa (of course mom and dad will have the last shift).
- For real this time…slow down. Actually sit down and admire the Christmas tree. Smell the fresh pine (or the pine fragrance sticks you stuck in your plastic tree). Sip the warm cider. Relax.
- Go for an early morning stroll and enjoy nature. One of the beautiful things about Arizona mornings in the valley is that you have full greenery like the summer, but crisp air like the winter. This snapshot allows you to experience all seasons in one moment. Things still start to warm up in the afternoon, so it really is worth the early rise.
- Play with your kids, no matter how old they (or you) are. I mean really play with them. Let yourself go and have some fun. Even if it only happens once it will create a memory and connection that will last across time.
- Download the pictures, videos, and cute messages that you want to save that are on your current phone and your old ones. Store them in the cloud or a flashdrive. It’s time.
- From teacher to teacher, I promise to hold myself accountable to this next one: Take at least one day for only yourself. Do whatever you want to do. That does not mean you have to be alone. If you want to share your day with others, do it. If you do not, keep it for yourself. Take one day to participate only in events of your choice.
- Do that one thing that you have been meaning to do, and still have not done it. I should have placed this one higher up on the list because I think it should be done during the early part of break. Get it over with so you do not think about it when you should be relaxing.
- Leave school stuff at school. If you bring work home, leave it in your car. It is there if you decide to do it. If not, you only have to take it back into your class. If you use a home office, put things away and out of sight as much as possible. During break, use your home office for other things.
Lastly, do not forget to use COVID to get out of things you do not want to do:
- You can use COVID to get out of interactions you do not want to participate in. You do not want to go to that “small, low-risk gathering” with family members? Don’t go. Blame it on COVID. We should be social distancing. This is the year that you not attending it perfectly acceptable.
- Are you tired of spending money on meaningless gifts for people that do not appreciate it? Don’t buy any. Blame it on COVID. I am not sure if you had the same experience, but whenever something is out of stock in a store, I am told it’s because of COVID. So…let COVID be the reason you could not get any more shopping done. Case closed and money saved.
I hope that you found at least one helpful hint in this write-up. If so, pass it on to another. Stay safe. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and I will see you in 2021!