Connecting with Family this Holiday Season

As the holidays are fast approaching, many of us are wondering what our celebrations will look like this year. So far, we have made it through Easter, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labour Day, and Thanksgiving with modified celebrations. The winter holidays are different though: kids are home for two weeks, businesses are closed, and the tradition of traveling and connecting with our loved ones is something many of us look forward to. But the reality that faces us in this second wave of the pandemic is that we need to limit our interactions with others and celebrate with only those in our households. While this may not be the way we had dreamed of spending the holiday season, there are still many ways to stay connected with loved ones and enjoy this time in the best and safest ways possible. 


Get Outside (Of Your Head)

Sometimes it’s best just to accept the hand we have been dealt and make the most we can with it. This may require a reboot, of sorts. Tuck away technology for the day and do some activities with your household that require hands-on work. This will allow you to shift your focus onto the present and fully enjoy the moment with your loved ones. Try doing arts and crafts, scrapbooking, exercise, puzzles, or playing in the snow to fully enjoy the blessings that the season has to offer


Call and Check-in

We may not be able to visit everyone we like, but we can still make phone calls! So many people rely on texting for communication these days that the thought of making a phone call is almost lost on us. Whether you use video applications or not, hearing someone’s voice and fully engaging over the phone can have a positive impact on someone’s day. Set time aside this holiday to speak with friends and family that you may be missing. This simple gesture can go a long way, and help all those on the line feel more connected during this time of year.


Outdoor Visits

While sitting outside for long periods of time isn’t the most fun in cold weather, there are certainly ways to make it worth your while! Many people did driveway visits or parades this year to show their love on special occasions, and this is certainly a great way to enjoy a person’s presence when gathering numbers and social distancing is respected. Gather around (6 feet apart) by an outdoor bonfire! Bring your own marshmallows to roast, have a nice hot cup of cocoa, and enjoy the presence of others. If you want to engage in a more physically active activity, strap on some snowshoes and take a hike through one of Ottawa’s great trails. When wearing a mask and respecting social distancing, these are great ways to enjoy the company of others in a safe way.

This is a magical time of year, and staying connected is a fundamental human need. It is important to scale back our expectations so that we don’t feel a sense of disappointment with ourselves or others under these circumstances, as they are out of our control. Talk about your feelings, emotions, and air out any frustrations with a trusted contact, but don’t let it take away the joy that the holiday season brings. Be proactive and mindful when setting up activities, and exercise your sense of kindness and gratitude toward others. COVID-19 may have hit pause on high-fives, handshakes, and hugs, but it cannot take away the joy of the holidays with our loved ones (near or far).