Celebration and Connection in the Midst of a Pandemic
This has been a year of profound loss and uncertainty. For most of us, 2020 has challenged us in ways we never imagined.
Now, the holidays are upon us and we’re faced with the question: How do we celebrate in the midst of a pandemic?
The answer, as it is always is, is LOVE. It’s that simple.
We must turn our attention, as we do every Thanksgiving, to our deep gratitude and appreciation for the people who make our lives meaningful and rich, joyful and fun.
Will this look like it normally does? Probably not.
For many of us, our Thanksgiving love is expressed in the ritual of gathering and sharing a meal with close friends and family. In my family, we always hang the holiday wreath on the door Thanksgiving morning. We always have Aunt Anita’s green bean casserole. We go around the table and say something we’re grateful for. We listen to Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain.” We all watch football together. We take a walk to Hawk Hill. We sing Amazing Grace before the meal. We take flowers to Grandma Nia in the nursing home.
Due to stay-at-home orders and Covid-19 safety precautions, most of us won’t be gathering with our clans; but we can still celebrate and connect.
Showing care and creating deeper relationships is not about how much money you spend or how shiny the objects are. It is not about having to be wildly creative or being the “right person.” Deep love can be expressed in small moments of authentic connection. Your intention plays a large role in that.
Closing your eyes and thinking about someone you love can lay the foundation for what you want to create in the moment for that person. If you take the “bird’s eye” view and imagine yourself at age eighty, how would you feel about this person? What would you wish you had expressed? What would be in the top of your mind about why this person matters to you?
Okay! So, here’s where my favorite expression comes in handy: “Don’t wait; say it now!”
Below are five unique ideas for holiday connections from afar. Remember, what is most important is the love you feel and your ability to be present with people you love – even from a distance.
- Voice Your Love
One simple, quick and memorable way to connect with a friend or family member is to create an audio note then text or email it to that person.
If you have a smart phone, you likely have a recording app that allows you to easily make and share audio. You could play a favorite song that you and your friend listened to back in high school. You could read a meaningful quote, poem or passage from a book. You could talk about a memory of a Thanksgiving past in which you were together and experienced something special together. You could even grab an instrument and sing and strum!
An audio note can literally take one minute of your time to make and it doesn’t cost a penny. Yet, what it does is land you straight into the room with your friend or family member. As soon as they hear your voice, they will feel so connected.
- Send Simple Snail Mail Magic
One of the ways that we can surprise people we love with joy and color is to send greeting cards and letters via old-fashioned postal mail. Who doesn’t love to see a handwritten envelope in that pile of circulars and junk mail that arrives in the mailbox each day?!
Now’s the time to commit to keeping in touch in this very personal way that will delight the recipients. All you need to do is make or buy some greeting cards. For an added touch, print out photos that depict good memories with your loved ones to include in each card. (You can print photos on your home printer or use a service through stores like Walgreens or Staples.)
To add an added layer of love, create a calendar of birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. This “perpetual calendar” will prompt you to remember the people you love throughout the year.
- Organize a Greeting Card Bonanza
If you know someone who is elderly and alone at the holidays, this is a wonderful long-distance gift: A Greeting Card Bonanza. Just email everyone you know who might be willing to send a card to your loved one. Ask them to write a cheery message or include their favorite quote.
You can stagger the cards so they are being sent over several weeks or a month. Your friend or family member gets the pure joy of receiving messages of love every day for weeks! What a pick-me-up!
- Reach out to someone in grief
Even in the best of times it can be difficult to connect with people who are grieving or ill. Many of us feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say.
Now, more than ever, it is essential to show up with love for people when they need it the most. The pandemic has isolated people and removed some of the healing rituals we have relied on in the past.
Your presence is truly the best gift to give and the most meaningful way to show gratitude for having this person in your life.
- Express Love Explicitly
Yes, we want to be with the people we love in person; but when we can’t, we can spend some time thinking about our favorite things about them, why they matter so much to us, what makes them unique and the best times we’ve shared with them.
Doing this kind of reflection makes us feel close and connected. It is calming and brings a sense of peace and well-being.
We can turn those reflections into a one-of-a-kind gift that will last forever! Create a Love List™ and share it with that person and experience gratitude in action!
If you want to join my Love List workshop (via Reimagine) happening on 11/27 – check out the link in my bio. I’ll walk you through the process and you will leave with a ready-made gift!