With Covid here I have been pondering what Christmas can look like. We are creating new memories and new traditions that will change our future Christmas celebrations. In years past we have gathered and seen a majority of our extended family and many friends in the days surrounding Christmas.
We had large meals and parties every weekend, sometimes more than one. There were office parties and gift exchanges. And we even wondered how we would fit all the gatherings into our busy schedules. This year is much different.
But Christmas is still a pivotal holiday. It’s a time to remember the Savior and His birth and His love and sacrifice for us. We had an online Stake Fireside tonight as our Christmas Devotional. We have weekly Sacrament meetings on YouTube. And at Thanksgiving we ate our meal as a household. Then we joined multiple zoom meetings to see the extended family we missed eating with.
But what will Christmas look like?
A friend told me that for a recent family gathering she and her extended family planned to meet at a church parking lot. They would quickly exchange gifts and then sit in their individual vehicles and share a conference call.
It sounds like a delightful way to see people and still get to socialize a little bit. And it also sounds like a safer way to gather with the global pandemic in full force. But there is still something missing with that arrangement.
In our family we usually have a gift exchange with all the little cousins on my husband’s side of the family. They each draw names and get gifts for each other. It is so cute to see them get excited to share with their cousin and get to see the joy when they open their gift.
Creating a Gift Exchange over Zoom?
I have been wondering how we will get a chance to see those happy little faces when they open their gifts. I enjoy Zoom calls more than a conference call. So, I think adopting my friend’s suggestion is good with a little revision.
I think we will have representatives from the family meet a few days before Christmas to disburse gifts. Then we can have a Zoom call and see people open their gifts. Otherwise, these little faces will be blocked by a mask and all the joy will be hidden behind it.
This year will be different. There is a vaccine for COVID that they are working on. I hear they could have it out in a month. But Christmas is only two weeks away. And planning to keep the traditions you love will help Christmas not feel too weird. I’ll be honest the Zoom calls are my new favorite thing. I get to see my brother across the country on the holiday, and usually we must catch up afterward.
What traditions matter most to you? What do you want to make sure doesn’t disappear behind the social distancing and masks? Thinking ahead will make this Christmas more meaningful and will preserve the joy of this wonderful season.
We have been creating time to drive through a local neighborhood that goes all out for Christmas lights. And it has been wonderful. Usually, we have one night we go looking at lights. But this week we have already gone twice!
I have also noticed more neighbors are putting out more lights this year. Driving around the neighborhood to “Ohh” and “Ahh” is an easy family activity. The lights are always my favorite part of Christmas, so I’m taking more trips this year to see lights.
Creating Christmas Matters
Creating Christmas this year will be different, but it will still be wonderful if we keep the Savior at the center of our celebrations. We also need to be sure that even if gathering is not on the agenda that we find ways to make the season special.
That will look different for you than it does for me. But it still matters that we celebrate, and reach out in love and kindness.
May your Christmas be warm and loving. And may the Spirit of Christmas touch your heart.
About Abby Christianson
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. Having completed training to be an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) for ABA therapy she is beginning to understand her son. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that the challenges can be overcome, and there are blessings in autism. You or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.