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5 Tips to Find Joy During the 2020 Pandemic Holiday Season

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To say the holidays are looking a bit different this year would be an understatement. Gathering family members and friends from near and far, under one roof, sharing food, making memories and warm embraces…what was once the recipe for a loving holiday is now the CDC’s recipe for disaster. Yikes!

There’s only so much that video chatting can make up for this season, so here are a few other ideas to keep you connected to those who are far in distance but closest to your heart.

Participate in a Dish Exchange

It can be lonely - and sometimes challenging - to make holiday favorite recipes for a small number of people (anyone else still eating Thanksgiving leftovers?). One way to minimize this, and still feel connected with your loved ones at dinner time, is a dish exchange.

In a dish exchange, everyone makes a big batch of a certain recipe and gives a small batch of it to the other participants - in exchange for a small batch of everyone else’s dishes. On the day of the exchange, everyone meets up, brings their dishes, and goes home with everyone else’s. At dinner time, simply heat everything up, and it’s as if you have a small reminder of each of your loved ones right there in the room!

To make sure everyone stays safe during this, it’s best to pick an outdoor meeting place - maybe at an outdoor park, or outside someone’s house - and, of course, everyone should wear masks and wash their hands before and after the exchange. To minimize risks even further, you could initiate a “contactless exchange,” where everyone places their dish in the trunks of each other’s cars.

Swap Recipes By Mail

If it’s too risky to meet for a physical dish exchange, or distance precludes you from doing so, another option is to send recipes by mail.

But don’t stop there! Rather than just printing a recipe card and placing it in an envelope, you can personalize this idea by handwriting the recipe and including specifics, memories, and even past mistakes that you don’t see in recipe books. For instance, “Bring milk to a boil (when I did this in 2017, I forgot about the stove and the milk overflowed! Last time I walk away from a boiling pot again).” Bonus points if you can include photos of not only the finished product, but of you in your process.

Doing this last minute? Email works, too!

Turn Your Holiday Cards into Heartfelt Letters

If you’re usually one who sends cards during the holiday season -or if you thought this may be the perfect year to start - consider making an upgrade.

Take some time to sit down and make a list of the people who you have missed the most during the pandemic and with whom connecting is the most significant. These are the people who you’ll send letters to.

Devote one day to each letter. These should be more than “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and “Warm Wishes for the New Year.” Instead of saying to this person, “I’m thinking of you during the holiday season,” tell them why you’re thinking of them.

“I have missed our monthly dinners so much this year.”

“I hope to attend your holiday party next year.”

“I recently watched a movie that reminded me of the time you and I did ____.”

Match Game: Coordinate Fashion, Mugs, and More

This one takes a little planning and a little effort, but the results will be a lot of love and a lot of laughter. Pick out matching shirts, sweaters, or pajama sets with your loved ones. You may even get a set of matching mugs and agree to use them. On the day of, snap some photos of yourself in the apparel and share with your loved ones. Whether it’s full pajama sets or a pair of silly socks, this will give you a constant reminder of your loved ones during the holiday.

This could also be an opportunity to support small businesses, if you decide to opt for a customized family t-shirt, for instance!

Something To Look Forward To…

Let’s face it: the 2020 holiday season is less than ideal. But one positive aspect to consider is that it forces us to be creative and cultivate new ways that we can connect with our loved ones. So rather than writing off this year and cancelling the holidays, dive headfirst into making this one all the more memorable for a whole new set of reasons.

Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with looking forward to what’s to come! This too shall pass, and one day, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll be back to gatherings of the biggest kind - complete with a house packed full of family and friends, hugging, sharing, and no social distancing.

This year may be a great time to plan what your ideal holiday would look like, whether it’s resuming old traditions or coming up with some brand new ones.

Have you always wanted to host Christmas Eve, but someone already does that every year? Is there a recipe you’ve wanted to incorporate into your family’s long-standing Christmas dinner ritual? Do you wake up every year on the morning of the holiday and wish someone in your family had planned a brunch?

Maybe it’s your turn to host the holiday, change up the menu, or plan that brunch. You may talk about this with your loved ones or just keep a private list of ideas for the future to yourself.

Whatever your plans are for the holidays, all of us at Clever Yoga are wishing you the most wonderful, joyous, and peaceful season of all!

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