“It’s a Wonderful Life” has been my favourite holiday movie for quite some time now. I honestly don’t remember the first time I watched it but I cried at the end and still do…every time. I prefer the black and white version but will occasionally throw in the colour version to mix it up. I have it on DVD just in case I miss it on TV. It has become my Christmas Eve tradition: pour a glass of wine, finish any last-minute wrapping, and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
This year, things are going to be a bit different due to COVID-19 and I’ve been wondering how to still make the holidays special, not just for my girls but for myself as well. Spending time with friends and family is what it’s all about and that will be limited, so what will the holidays bring this year? How can we keep the magical spirit of Christmas alive? What other memories can we make in order to forget that we would normally be spending time with the people we love?
The typical things I would do with my kids to celebrate include: skating, decorating the tree, building a snowman, sledding, watching holiday movies or shows, writing a letter to Santa, and baking cookies. These are all things that we can still do, with any luck. We would get a photo taken with Santa and while that’s not going to happen this year, I can honestly do without the lineups and craziness. Here are a couple of ideas that you may have done before, but that I’m adopting this year to make it more memorable:
- Spend more time outside–we recently lost our dog but I’m planning to still go to the dog park or to the conservation areas that we used to take Maggie. We all enjoy it and we can collect items to make wreaths or other decorations.
- Walk/drive around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights and trees. There are a few areas that are well-known for excellent displays!
- Go through toys, games, and other items to make a donation bin.
- Make a 2020 album to reflect on the good things that happened this year.
- Play games or share a beverage with family online.
- Have a virtual movie night with friends, playing the same movie at the same time and having a video call.
- Take advantage of outdoor visits whenever possible. For example, I kept my fire pit out this year and will use it for outdoor distancing visits in the driveway. Bring your own lawn chair and beverage!
- Some Santa Claus parades are still running “drive-by” style in rural areas where you can park and stay in your car to watch.
- It may be corny, but go back to some of the simpler, more traditional activities, like singing Christmas carols and playing board games (which we like to do anyhow).
- Take a family photo in front of your Christmas tree, outdoor lights, snowman, or any other festive backdrop.
Throughout the pandemic, we have spent more quality time with smaller groups of people and maybe engaged in some self-care or independent hobbies. This holiday season will be no different. And not unlike “It’s a Wonderful Life”, the message is to appreciate what you have: your immediate family, your health, food on the table, a roof over your head, and a bit of love in your heart.