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General Interest

Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Despite Difficult Times

2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty. As it comes to a close, we’re looking at a holiday season that is probably going to be a bit different as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the festivities, you’ll just need to shift your perspective. Here are some tips from Epcon Communities on how to enjoy the holidays during difficult times.

First and foremost, follow the instructions and directions of your local and state health departments. Practice social distancing and wear masks.

Think positive.

Don’t brood! Rather than dwelling on the things you’re missing, consider the opportunities. You can still decorate your home for the holidays—inside and out—and get outdoors. 

Positive thinking can reduce stress, something that is dearly needed right now. Research also shows that looking on the bright side can boost your immune system and your resilience. Shake off the negative self-talk and convert it to the upside.

Organize a virtual holiday dinner.

Think back to all the years when certain people couldn’t join you for a holiday gathering. This year, include everyone on your wish list by hosting a virtual holiday dinner. Using Zoom or FaceTime, link up with friends and family, no matter where they are. Have your camera set up by the dinner table and enjoy your meal in the company of the people who matter.

The positive spin on a virtual holiday is that you don’t have to fret over cleaning your house, setting the perfect table and having everything come out like the photo in the recipe. In other words, take it easy.

Change up your holiday decor.

This year has been anything but “status quo.” Why not keep your agility going by rethinking your holiday decorating scheme? Change the color palette from “the way we’ve always done it.” Try something completely different or just choose different shades of your favorite holiday colors. You can also put holiday items in a different place than you usually do.

How about a 2020 themed tree, wreath or garland? Commemorate the year with mementos. Print some of your favorite photos and use them as decorations on this non-traditional holiday décor.

Host a neighborhood cookie swap.

Don’t miss out on the goodies in the 2020 holiday season. Deliver invitations to your friends and neighbors and include a cookie swap packet: resealable plastic storage bags, tags and instructions. Advise them to bag their confections in packets of six and mark each one with the name of the baker and the recipe. Be sure to ask them to note whether or not the cookies include nuts that could cause an allergic reaction. Give participants the date, time and place to drop off the cookies.

For the swap, set up a table in your garage or on your porch, patio or deck, keeping everyone outside and at a safe social distance. Set up a container for each person’s cookies, along with a supply of bakery boxes or bags where visitors can package up the cookies they choose from the swap.

Try something new for your 2020 holiday menu.

Do you always serve the same items for the holidays? Go rogue this year! You don’t have to give up the roast turkey, but you can switch to other side dishes and explore different dessert recipes. Substitute roast potatoes, au gratin or hasselback potatoes for the traditional mashed spuds. Replace the usual pie with a cheesecake, or swap the big pie for a variety of mini pies. 

The plus side is that since you’re not feeding as many people, you can cut back on the volume and prevent the leftover madness that crowds your fridge.

Help others.

It’s the season of giving. Give of yourself by volunteering to serve holiday meals at a shelter or mission. Work with your church to deliver gifts to families who might be struggling this year. Donate socks, blankets and warm clothing to homeless shelters. Include your children and grandchildren in your volunteer work so they experience the value of giving instead of receiving.

Be kind and respectful.

People feel rushed and stressed during the busy holidays. Take a moment every day to offer kindness to someone. Talk to the cashier who is ringing up your order rather than staring at your phone. Compliment a stranger. Let someone step ahead of you in a line. Acknowledge other people’s acts of kindness with a simple “thank you.” You might be surprised how good it feels when you do it.

In our Epcon Communities, we’re proud of the wonderful people who are so ready to help their neighbors—whether offering a helping hand or some cheer. Having a community of people around you is a genuine comfort. Make sure they know you appreciate having them in your neighborhood.

As we all look ahead to 2021, let’s think about where we want to be. If you’ve felt that your life has been out of your control in the past year, what can you do to change it?