Well, despite what we thought in March about how long COVID would stick around, the reality is that it is still hanging out and the holiday season is rapidly approaching. Mamas, this is a tough one for me. The reality is that those of us with high-risk family members are going to be doing a lot of saying, “no” to invitations to gatherings over the next couple of months and some of your friends and family members are probably not going to understand and might even get offended.
The good news is, there is still so much you can do at home to make the holidays a memorable experience.
You can still make a fancy meal – or NOT! A little secret about me, I am not here for Thanksgiving food. Turkey is gross, cranberry sauce makes me squeamish, and anything with canned mushroom soup makes me want to run for the hills. Basically, my ideal Thanksgiving foods are mashed potatoes and pie, so basically I have the palate of a child.
This year, instead of pulling out all the stops to make your traditional Thanksgiving food (that maybe you don’t even like), make a meal where each person in your family gets to pick their favorite dish. If you’ve got a handful of kids like me, you might end up with both mac and cheese and pizza on the table, but who cares? Get your kids involved in the kitchen and let them help make the dish they chose. Feast away on everyone’s favorites. Repeat at Christmas.
Once December rolls around, there are plenty of things to do with just your family at home or in a small group. My favorite memories of Christmas as a child are things we did at home with just our immediate family. Decorate the tree while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. Make a train out of the cardboard boxes from all the Amazon purchases you’ve made in quarantine and watch The Polar Express. Get in the car and drive around the city to look at Christmas lights. These are things we did year after year, and last year I started to do with my own kids.
Don’t forget about Zoom! I know, by now we are all kind of “over” Zoom. But you have to admit, it’s pretty helpful when multiple families want to talk at the same time. Set up your computer near your table to all eat “together.” Get presents dropped off at the houses of your extended family and find a time for your family to log in and open gifts together. You could even add an extra layer of fun to your Zoom call by having an ugly sweater contest or something similar.
I want to end this post with a little reminder (that is for myself just as much as you). This year it is probably going to be even harder than ever to keep everyone in your family happy with your holiday plans, but remember that you are THE MOM.
You know what is best for your family. This year, it is going to be even more on the shoulders of the parents to make sure our kids have a fun and memorable holiday season, so don’t forget about your own well-being and mental health. Don’t forget to find some time for yourself this holiday season, whether that be going on a walk, drinking hot chocolate with a friend in your driveway, or taking a little drive to see those Christmas lights alone. We’ve got this one, mamas!