23 Nov December 2020 – Case Managers
Rethinking Traditions – Bring Back the Creativity!
The First Six Months: After the disappointment of not being able to have traditional celebrations for our spring holidays, there were more letdowns when we couldn’t celebrate festivities this summer. Weddings, graduations, anniversary parties and funerals were pared down, rescheduled or even cancelled.
Halloween came and went with public health recommending no trick or treating. Thanksgiving was sobering for many families who thought (or hoped and prayed) this pandemic would be over before the fall/winter holiday celebrations. Sadly, it is not. Looking back at spring, in addition to disappointment, there was also a lot of creativity and planning that happened. With that came variations of traditional celebrations such as drive by graduation parades, Zoom birthday parties and Facetime visits with friends & family. Though it wasn’t the same, it was a way to be “together.” In 2020 the words “together” and “attending” have whole new meanings! Here is how we can avoid cancelling everything because of the pandemic.
Be Intentional: As you think about the winter holidays I challenge you to be intentional. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, focus on what you can do. Think about ways to safely bring a smile to the face of a loved one. For some it may be sending holiday cards for the first time in years because there is actually time to prepare them. For others it may be creating an outdoor celebration with a small group or delivering traditional food to loved ones.
The Challenge: Here is a list of ideas of ways that we can safely celebrate with family & friends. I challenge you to find ways that are meaningful to you & yours!
▪Send homemade holiday cards
▪Call family to share what you are thankful for
▪Make cookies or dinner for someone, then make a safe “porch drop”
▪Schedule a festive dinner with loved ones over Facetime or Zoom
▪Mail gifts and use a video call for gift opening
▪Build a snowman or decorate someone’s yard
▪Plan a drive by parade for someone special
▪Plan a virtual NYE or football party
▪Create your own 12 days of Christmas in the way of giving
▪Plan a movie marathon
▪Schedule game nights with family over Zoom
▪Read a book to grandkids over phone, Facetime or Zoom
▪Write old fashioned letters and mail them
▪Take a safely distanced outdoor walk or hike
▪Make homemade gifts
▪Create holiday decorations for windows
▪Have a door decorating contest
▪Plan a window visit with someone who is isolated
▪Start a virtual book club
▪Create a watch party for holiday movies
Greetings! Here are two things I will intentionally be doing different this year. First, my extended family and I are going to each make 3 kinds of treats and safely share them with each other via porch drops in place of our an annual baking day. Second, I am going to recreate an old tradition of preparing holiday cards on the evening of Thanksgiving instead of taking a shortcut and posting them on social media. Let’s get creative! Whatever you decide to do, do it with intention and stay positive! We will get through this together!!! Stay safe, Julie
A Tiny Piece of Tinsel
By Vivian Stewart, Piedmont, Oklahoma, from Country Woman
Growing up, we never had an artificial Christmas tree—or a cut one, for that matter. Instead, about a week before Christmas, my parents would haul in a balled or potted evergreen that we would add to the landscape after the holidays. Daddy said it made “good cents.” Mother said it was a meaningful tradition. After we maneuvered the heavy tree into the house, Mother would conceal the bulky container with white flannel to make it look like snow. Daddy would string the lights and over the tree’s boughs, my sister and I would drape red and green paper chains, strings of popcorn and cranberries and other baubles we fashioned out of shiny red, green, silver and blue milk-bottle caps. Then we would hang tinsel—weaving one strand at a time between the needles—until our tree sparkled.
It took a long time, but decorating the tree was an exciting family event, and after we finished we’d gather around the piano to drink eggnog and sing Christmas carols. On a warm Saturday morning after New Year’s Day, we would all go into the backyard, pick a site and plant our Christmas tree, making sure to water it thoroughly to protect it against the January freezes that were sure to come. Each year the yard got a little woodsier as we continued to add new spruce or pine specimens. On summer afternoons when we’d play croquet or hide-and-seek in our evergreen grove, it was fun to discover birds’ nests in the branches and recall “this Christmas” or “that Christmas.” Best of all, on warm evenings, we loved to sit in lawn chairs and watch the fireflies flit in and out of the branches, as if trying to create their own Christmas tree light display.
One summer afternoon—some 40 years later—I drove by that childhood home and slowed down to savor the memories. The new owners were working in their yard, but when they saw me they stopped and came over to talk. When I told them that I had grown up there, they took me on a tour. The porch, front door and fireplace looked exactly the same. The kitchen had been updated and the screened-in back porch was now a four-season room. When we walked into the backyard, I caught my breath and fought back a tear. I was standing in a forest. The couple explained they were from California and had been drawn to the home because of the huge evergreens out back. When I walked over to admire a Colorado blue spruce, a glint of silver caught my eye. I could hardly believe it, but sure enough, a strand of weathered tinsel was still wrapped around a branch, sparkling in the sun. Somehow, through almost half a century of Oklahoma heat and cold, that remnant of our holiday tradition survived, much like my fond memories of our backyard Christmas trees—memories that have become more treasured with each passing year.
I hope that you and your families enjoy a happy & healthy holiday season. I look forward to seeing more of you in the new year. ~ Becky
In the future we find anxiety. In the past we find nostalgia. In the present we find peace. ~ Unknown
She sits up on her own (with the occasional tip over) and is even trying to walk! Still no teeth!!