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As the year comes to a close, many are facing the reality that this holiday season looks and feels a bit different. Whether it means celebrating or worshipping at a distance, focusing less on gifts and more on time spent together, or foregoing much loved rituals to keep everyone safe, we are all doing our part to keep our community safe while still holding onto some joy. Despite COVID-19, the 2020 holidays offer an opportunity for communication, positive reflection and perhaps even some new traditions.

Here are a few tips for navigating this year’s festivities:

Have a conversation. If you are a parent, you may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed about how you will make the holidays feel “normal.” Don’t be afraid to talk with your kids and make sure they understand why things are different this year. Let them know it is okay to feel sad or disappointed that things will not be exactly what they expected. Discuss what is important to your family, and decide what things you can do to celebrate the season.

Get creative. Together, brainstorm new traditions and make an action plan! Making a plan gives everyone something to look forward to, and helps everyone feel like they are an important part of making it happen. It could be dividing up tasks for cooking a special meal, watching a favorite movie with candy and popcorn, making your own decorations, or doing some socially distant caroling or holiday karaoke. Having a holiday that is different can still be fun.

Share the spirit. Make an extra effort to reach out to friends and family and tell them what they mean to you. This may include a phone or Zoom call, sending a card or an email, or making signs to put in someone’s yard. It could also include sharing holiday treats like latkes or cookies. If you have the capacity to volunteer, make it a family activity.

We know that this year has been challenging in many ways, but we are all hopeful that a new year will bring some positive change and maybe even some new traditions! Happy Holidays!