A Different Kind of Christmas in 2020

Author:
Sharon May, Ph.D. and Alan Hart

Part one in our series "How To Make Home For The Holidays in 2020 Happier."

This holiday season will be different, very different. Amidst the delicious smells, beautiful sights and wonderful sounds of Christmas, we will all be challenged to face the many changes and losses that come with COVID-19 precautions… without losing the holiday spirit.

But how can you keep your celebrations meaningful and merry in the middle of a pandemic? How can you fill your heart and home with the Christmas spirit during this unprecedented time?

We would like to suggest keeping four things in mind with the hope it might set the stage for a happier holiday.

1. Share your story. The year 2020 has brought unique challenges, changes, losses, and stresses. We are not designed to face these struggles alone. We were created for community, to share life with a few meaningful people. So, reach out to a friend or family member and share your 2020 story. Feeling seen and known by someone else is life-giving. Being alone in your struggles fosters fear, hopelessness, and depression!

With 2020 has come an increase in anxiety, depression, and suicide. In dialogue with someone who cares, your thoughts are clarified, things are put into perspective, solutions are discovered and in return, hope and comfort is found. Social distancing doesn't mean you should no longer share your heart, hopes, and struggles through conversations. Wearing a mask and washing hands helps stop the spread of the virus. But a listening ear and a kind word during a good conversation is important, too, because it helps build your inner emotional immune system.

2. Grieve what you won't have this holiday season. It is good for the heart to acknowledge the festivities you will miss, the financial strain you feel and the instability of an uncertain future. People will be traveling less, meaning smaller family gatherings. There will be fewer friends stopping by to say hello, fewer parties to attend and restricted Christmas services. These might seem like small losses, but don't underestimate their impact. When you name your losses, you can face them and deal with them.

3. Enjoy what you do have. Appreciate what you still have rather than dwelling on what you may be missing. Less money? Adjust your expectations for gift giving. Fewer Christmas gatherings? Connect with friends in creative ways. The COVID-19 restrictions have potential to rob you of your joy, but what are the small things and rituals that can fill your heart with joy and gratefulness? Focus on these!

4. Bring the Christmas spirit with you wherever you go. What small and meaningful things can you do to create the Christmas spirit around you? Focus not only on what will bring you joy this season, but also those around you. Be intentional about waking up each morning with a joyful and happy attitude. End your day with a few thoughts about what you are grateful for. Keep your house filled with the smells, sounds, and sights of Christmas, expressing thanks to God for His gift of love and life.

From all of us at Safe Haven Relationship Center, we wish you a Merry Christmas! We hope your heart and home is filled with great joy as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He came to give us an example of how to live a good life, to show how we can be the best version of ourselves, and how to find the courage to do it. Jesus came to encourage us to live with integrity. And best of all, His sacrificed life gave to us the gift of eternal life. Wow. That is truly worth celebrating!

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed." Luke 4:18 New Heart English Bible Translation

Read part two in our series, How To Make Home For The Holidays in 2020 Happier: Who Won't Be Home for the Holidays?

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