Changes in Attitude

JXHyluo%SGWcmbt7MgVpvgTraditions have always been a big part of my holiday celebrations.  We always use our good china for the meals at Easter and Thanksgiving, my Christmas tree is lit with the old-fashioned bulbs of my childhood, and champagne must be served on New Year’s Eve.  I go a little overboard when decorating my house at Christmas, but the actual process goes quickly because I put the exact same decorations in the exact same place every year.

I suppose I like my holiday traditions so much because they remind me of  the happy celebrations of years past.  Carrying on traditions of my childhood might also be a way of honoring family members who have passed.  (This could be why it was years before I was able to ignore my father’s strict rules about decorating a Christmas tree:  smallest ornaments on the top, biggest ornaments on the bottom, a white light bulb at the top of the tree, and if icicles are used, only one strand may be placed on each branch.  I felt like true rebel the first time I hung a large ornament near the top of the tree and dared to put three strands of icicles on an especially bare branch.)

But for whatever reason, I’ve always held on tightly to my holiday traditions, and only changed them when I had to in order to accommodate the changes in my growing family.  But then the year 2020 happened, and I decided that it’s rather pointless to try to hold on to traditions in a year when the world has been basically turned upside down.

So this year, we had our family dinner with just our kids on the night before Thanksgiving, and my mother joined my sister and her husband for their own separate dinner.  My husband and I spent Thanksgiving day putting up our Christmas tree and hanging our outdoor lights, adding a new string of Christmas lights around our patio. While I have absolutely no idea how we’ll be celebrating Christmas this year, I do know it will be very different from years past.

And you know what?  I’m mostly okay with it.  Sure, I worry about my 90-year old mother’s emotional health if she has to be alone on Christmas, but I’ll do everything in my power to prevent that.  (Because when you’re 90, “staying apart this year so we can be together next year” has a very hollow ring to it.)   But I’m also learning that different doesn’t always mean worse.  And there’s something kind of liberating about knowing that I can’t keep up with all my traditions this year, because that means that I’m free to think of new ways to celebrate the holidays that work in these strange and trying times.

I’m truly hoping that next year we will be able to celebrate the holidays however we please.  But this year, I’m going to have to rely on a major change of attitude and expectations to get me through the season.  And who knows?  In the midst of all this craziness, I just might just find a new tradition that is worth keeping long after this pandemic is gone.

104 thoughts on “Changes in Attitude

  1. It’s nice to hear someone say they are mostly okay with it. I feel the same way. So many people seemed really sad about the holidays or worse, still, gather and risk their health. I see this as a one-off. It’s not ideal but we are going to make the best of it.

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    • Yeah, we can cope with about anything for one year! I think that’s why I hate hearing people say that this is going to last for many years….that takes away people’s hope, and I think it also makes them less likely to make the necessary adaptions to keep everyone safe. A vaccine is coming, and so are more effective treatments, I believe. We just have to hang in there a while longer. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. I know our Christmas celebration will be vastly different this year, but I’m ok with that. I guess holiday traditions aren’t as important to me, now that I think about it, but I love traditions in general. I’m going to think this out. Nice post!

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  3. I’ve been fine, even a bit guilty feeling as I’m still seeing my girls and grandchildren. But Christmas Eve is a big deal at our house for us and our friends. I won’t have our open house. Let’s just be safe. But as I begin decorating I have a pain in my heart for the friends I may not see this year. I’m trying to plan a drive by cookie pick up so they can still get my hubs cookies. I hope you find the perfect way to spend Christmas with your mom! Thank you for sharing the feelings we all experience.

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    • Thanks, Lorie! I’m mostly okay with all of this, but there is certainly a part of me that is sad I won’t be able to have my annual party, or invite friends to come over to our house as I usually do. And having a 90-year old mother complicates everything, because I want her to be both safe and happy, and that’s not easy in a pandemic. I think we just need to acknowledge that it’s okay to be a little sad over what we’re losing, and then find creative ways to stay safely connected. I love your idea of a drive by cookie pick up!

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  4. I have been having some of the same feelings. We celebrated Christmas with variations of the same things every year for over 30 years, but recently it had become more me trying to create a certain experience. It was hard for me to imagine something different, but it was was stressing me out, and also my daughter. Last year we had moved, so although we had time with our 2 kids it was different. Now this year. It may be just my husband and me alone, and zoom visits with the kids. I am OK with it. I too am learning it is good to be flexible and adapt and come up with new traditions.

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    • I’m glad you’ll at least have your husband, but I’m sure you’ll miss your kids. We’ll enjoy our holidays this year, I think, but we’ll also be a little sad for what we can’t have. On the upside, as you say, sometimes trying to keep traditions going just stresses us out, so maybe what we’ll learn from this year is to only honor the truly important traditions, the ones that really are meaningful to us, and to let the others go.

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  5. We didn’t travel for Thanksgiving this year. The Covid numbers in the area are just too high, and I couldn’t risk the possibility that I’d carry it and infect my mother. My mother celebrated the day with my sister and her husband, but not with my sister’s daughter and family, because the daughter is a nurse… Rick and I celebrated a scaled back Thanksgiving with just us. It’s our first time doing so. Ever since we met we’ve done Thanksgiving as a pandemonium holiday–lots of bodies, lots of noise, cooking for a crowd. This was quiet and nice with just the two of us.

    So far, we are undecided about Christmas. The numbers will make it or break it. Neither one of us is a Christmas freak–so we’ll be okay, either way. I’m already preparing my mum…just in case. I will see her, even if only for a brief drop off. In her mid-eighties, my mum is getting a puppy. I live closest to the breeder, so when said puppy is ready, I’ll pick her up and deliver her (it’s an eight hour drive.) If Covid is under control, we do it for the holiday. If not, it’s a puppy delivery (mostly achieved out doors) with an immediate turn-around. Sigh.

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    • Yes, there was actually something nice about our early, and much smaller, Thanksgiving this year. And as for Christmas, we’ll just have to see too. It will be a matter of how high the numbers are and how tight the restrictions are, mostly. I’m glad you mom is getting a puppy (she’s brave!) to keep her company, and I hope that the numbers are low enough that you don’t have to do a sixteen hour round trip to deliver it. One way or another, you are a good daughter!!

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  6. My husband and I haven’t had a “normal” Christmas for years so this one won’t be a big change. We won’t have any parties to go to – or host – and no travel options to consider, but we do have each other so we count ourselves as lucky. I think the promise of a vaccine in the not too distant future makes us feel as if this is just one odd holiday season to get through. I hope you and your mom will be able to be together. I agree, that’s so important.

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    • Thanks, Janis! I also take hope with the development of the vaccine. I know it’s not perfect and it will take a while to be widely available, but at least there’s hope on the horizon. And I wouldn’t worry so much about my mom if she didn’t live alone and/or she knew how to navigate the internet. I call her often and have been seeing her (outside) at least once a week, but now that winter’s coming, it’s going to be harder to do even that kind of visit. And isolation is so hard on the elderly that it worries me. Her retirement community had lots of social activities when she first moved in, but of course they have almost all been cancelled due to Covid.

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  7. Good post Ann. We have all had to change the way we do things this year and it has become a bit of a challenge. A challenge that we are up to…Thanksgiving and Birthday visits over Skype, playing games on Skype, dining with lifelong friends on Skype, sharing a Japanese mal with relatives 4,000 miles away on Zoom and then watching our 2009 travel film to Japan after the meal. Tonight, we were supposed to be dining out in a restaurant for my Patty’s birthday, but we opted to cancel and do takeout from the same restaurant. It was delightful. We change, we adapt, we thrive and we are thankful that we do not have Covid. Our son (a front line health worker) was home with symptoms awaiting test results and we all held our breath for 2 days, until he got a negative result. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Christmas will be alone, but we will Skype with the kids. And when this is all over, we will never stop hugging them. We will change and we will survive. Stay well. Allan

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    • Thanks, Allan! I agree that most of us are up to the challenge, but I know that a few are not, as evidenced by the big increase in demand for anti-depressants and other, sadder, statistics. But for those of us who don’t live alone and are financially stable, this is absolutely doable. I’m sorry you haven’t been able to see your children, and please pass along my thanks to your son for the hard work he is doing in fighting this pandemic. I’m glad his test was negative! My mom can no longer navigate the internet, so her options are limited, but I can still call her daily and when the weather permits, we meet outside for a brief visit. One way or another, she will have a happy, if different, Christmas! Thank you for your encouraging comment, too…that helps!

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      • It is up to all of us who can cope to call hose older friends and relatives who may be living on their own and all those who are suffering. We have a regular rotation of people we keep in touch with. Communication has never been more important. Stay well. Allan

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  8. I’m going to be posting in a few days, Ann, about our family’s decision to have a giant Thanksgiving/Christmas gathering in July – Turkey, lights, small gifts, maybe even a tree! 🙂 And Everyone together for a long weekend. This year is a bust and looking forward to a big celebration is seeing me through. I’m so glad you’re doing well with the adjustments and maintaining a good attitude. This virus is going to end and until then, staying safe is our best option. We’ll get there. <3.

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    • That sounds wonderful! I’m also hoping for a big party that will encompass all the holidays and birthdays we haven’t been able to celebrate properly, and I like your idea of adding a turkey and Christmas lights into the mix! (Christmas in July has always been a “thing,” hasn’t it?) And until then, I’ll take care of Mom as best as I can to keep her spirits up and to keep her healthy.

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  9. I liked the way you emphasized family tradition in preparing for the Christmas Season, Ann. I brought a few of my German Christmas traditions when I immigrated to Canada. When our children were small they liked celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve, even if it was for getting the present earlier than their friends in the neighbourhood. Today I made an advent’s wreath out of real fir branches and four candles. Have a great and blessed Christmas, Ann!

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  10. Good for you sticking with tradition, I’m a rebel as I prefer to break them 🙂

    I totally get you about that “hollow ring”, I try to explain this to people and they just don’t get me! Will have to dig deep and find better wording 🙂

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    • I know! It’s easy for those of us who are young (ish) and basically healthy to say that, but for someone my Mom’s age, the fact is that every holiday may well be her last. So that has to be considered as well….I get the meaning of the phrase and agree with it. We just have to remember that it doesn’t offer comfort to everyone, I think.

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      • I don’t think it offers comfort to anyone but when staff get officious about isolating everyone over sixty they cannot be reasoned with.

        Some of our nursing homes have been in total lockdown for nearly a year … no family visits, no entertainment, not even a decent cuppa or a different meal! So I point out that with limited life expectancy surely they can ease off a bit and they go ballistic 😦

        Seems rather cruel to me, and many deteriorate rapidly under such severe lockdown!

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        • It is absolutely cruel, and completely ignores the fact that Covid is not the only thing killing people these days…it’s not even the number one killer, especially among the elderly. Depression and suicide is way up in that age category, but nobody wants to talk about that. Or the way that seniors who were having minor mental issues suddenly got much, much, worse after the lock downs kicked in. Yes, I take Covid seriously, but I don’t agree when we focus on it to the exclusion of all the other problems we face.

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    • I agree. We can keep our favorite traditions and also incorporate change. After all, every tradition was a new experience at one time! A few years ago my daughter started inviting us to a Christmas event each December, which we would attend as a family. Now that’s something I look forward to very much! We were even able to do it this year, because we attended a light show at the local zoo. It was outside, everyone wore masks, no contact required, and you had to have a reservation so it wasn’t at all crowded. Sometimes we just have to get creative!

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  11. You’re right, Ann. Having a bright, brilliant Christmas after a year like 2020 is … essential. I love traditions at holiday time, even though they always don’t materialize. Tradition rings in a sense of stability in an unbalanced world. Memories of warm Christmas past brings most of us closer to peaceful inward places. There’s something to be said about it. Happiest of celebrations!

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    • Thanks, Alan! I’ve always been a little like Chuck Griswold of “Christmas Vacation” and this year I’m adding to the decorations. But I feel as if it’s needed to lift our spirits. I’ll keep the traditions that still work (they do offer comfort and stability), and make some new ones that adapt to this year’s situation, and as for next year: I’m hoping that we can celebrate normally!

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  12. Hi Ann – yes the holidays are already different. Thanksgiving was just our little group, but it was very nice and free from stress. We all sat around in the family room and ate a lot of turkey. I’m thinking that Christmas will be the same. Maybe our holidays will take on a simpler theme even after this is all over. I would be okay with that. I’m glad you had a nice celebration and hope you will find a way to have your mother with you on Christmas.

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    • Thanks, Barbara! I was just talking to a friend today about the same thing. Being forced to scale back and simplify our celebrations this year made us realize that our celebrations don’t have to be quite so complicated and busy, and that may well be a lesson we keep as we move forward. I’m glad you had a little group to be with too! That makes such a difference. I’ve provided childcare for my grandchildren all through this pandemic, so we were all in each others “bubble” already. I do feel sorry for those who don’t have anyone they can safely be with, though. Thanks for your comment!!!

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  13. Yes, it’s certainly going to be a different Christmas for everyone this year. But it sounds like you’ve accepted it, as I have too, and really, that’s all we can do isn’t it, go with the flow and make the most of however we can spend it. Next year will be better! Take care.

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  14. Wonderful post, Ann. Like the metaphor of a fast moving current, I believe accepting it and going with “the flow” is a lot easier than fighting it. I prefer to also see that creative new traditions aren’t necessarily a bad thing. For example, my picnics in the park with my daughter (instead of movies, restaurants, and shopping) were actually very special.
    I do miss the old times, but they will eventually return. Coping with the challenges of this pandemic is something I will never forget. I’m so grateful that my loved ones are okay and we are closer to the end now. But you reinforce something that I strongly believe in: mindset makes a huge difference with how we feel!

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    • The longer this situation drags on, the more I realize that attitude is the main thing I can control and that it also makes a huge difference. This pandemic, as awful as it is, has taught us some valuable lessons that I hope we don’t forget. And I have a feeling we won’t!

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  15. I a as always love reading your holiday posts. Strange as we don’t do trees, decorations, big dinners or any other of those things. But, your house looks ready for how you celebrate and is cozy for your holiday season. Each person has to do what will make them feel safe and secure and this year that is more important than ever! Just for your readers in St Louis area where my daughter-in-law works at one of your hospitals, they just turned her entire ward into a COVID unit due to number of infections coming through the doors. She is exhausted as is all her co-workers! Please help them get through the holiday season by being socially responsible. Celebrating can be done in large groups in the future. Ann- stay safe and stay healthy during this holiday season.😊

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    • Yes, this situation is hard on everyone but most of all those who work in the medical field and especially in the hospitals. So we all need to do what we can to help them by doing our best to make sure we don’t contact the virus or spread it to others. Within those limitations, we are free to enjoy the holidays as best we can! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season too!

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  16. What a year. I really feel for people who have elderly parents and relatives. It is so difficult. My husband and I are spending all our holidays alone. We just decorated the room we spend the most time in. I don’t enjoy decorating, so it is fine with me. This is one year and it will soon be over.

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    • Yes, the biggest stress for me is trying to make sure my mom is okay, both physically and emotionally, and that’s not easy in a pandemic. The elderly are hardest hit by this, in every possible way. I’m glad you’re just doing what feels right for celebrating with your husband this year. Personally, I enjoy decorating, so I’m doing more than ever, but that’s just my way of having fun. Next year just has to be better!!!

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    • I do think that’s why I like traditions at the holidays so much, especially because the holidays always remind me of the past and time spent with loved ones. I guess this year I’ll just have to work on creating some meaningful new ones!

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  17. What a pretty tree, Ann! I like keeping up with some traditions, but making new ones is good, too. My son and I put up Christmas decorations — inside and out — right after Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to wait longer because then, I’d have to do it all by myself — and doing stuff like that together is way more fun! I’m glad to hear you’re mostly okay with not celebrating the holidays as we all have in the past. After all, we didn’t get a choice in the matter, and railing against the way things are gets us nowhere!

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    • You’re right, fighting it does no good and just makes us unhappy. I’m a little sad, and I own that, but I also know that Christmas will be okay in its own way this year. I’m glad your son was around to help you put up your decorations, because it is more fun to do that together. And I’m very grateful that my children live nearby so I can safely see them (I’ve been babysitting my two grandchildren all along, so they are in my “bubble.”) Big gatherings are fun, but those have to wait. Meanwhile, we enjoy what, and who, we have now!

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  18. I’m going with the flow – decorating will be as usual but the parties will not happen. Instead I’m making more cookies, more fudge, more pies, and I may even do some special chocolate dipped items… And of course most of the shopping is happening online!

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    • Me too! Lots of decorating, but the usual social get-togethers are all cancelled this year. But I’m thinking that I’ll make extra cookies, etc., and drop them off on porches the week before Christmas. We may not be able to gather, but we can still show each other we care!

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  19. This is a wonderful post, Ann! We cannot change the world, but we sure can change our attitude! I think that whatever we can do to lift one another up is important. Seeing the Christmas lights in our neighbor’s houses and on their lawns is inspirational. Why not choose to make the most of things? Why not choose to find reasons to be happy? Being unhappy will not make anything better. Enjoy your traditions and decorating! It matters that you follow your heart…

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  20. A large ornament near the top of the tree? That’s a true rebel. 🙂

    I love your post. You are adapting to these changes and it is great. The whole purpose of traditions is to make one feel good and if you feel good by making some changes it’s great that you are taking that step. The situation is uncertain in the whole world and, if you can be comfortable with what you can do and what you can’t that is something to be proud of and embrace. Hugs xx

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    • Thank you so much! I think you’re right, being comfortable with what we are able to do in this uncertain situation is key. And we really should only keep the traditions that enrich our lives, and let go of the others. This year, I’ll even be letting go of some of the traditions I do enjoy, but it helps to know that it’s just a temporary thing. And thank you for your affirming comment!

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  21. Glad to hear that you and your family adapted to a scaled-down Thanksgiving this year. Although our kids and grandkids went to their grandmother’s house, my wife cooked a turkey and everything else just for us. But as it turned out, I wasn’t feeling well by evening, so she ate Thanksgiving dinner all by herself while I and the dogs watched from the sofa (lol!!!) Anyway, I hope she means it when she says it’s no big deal. I’m feeling better and eating a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers now which I think makes her happy.

    I’m anxious to read about how your Christmas goes. Hopefully Christmas gatherings won’t be illegal. It’s been a different year for sure!

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    • My guess is the restrictions will be worse for Christmas than they were for Thanksgiving, judging from the news media. But hopefully we can work something out that allows us to at least see each other. Right now, our area is allowed to have under ten people together inside, but we are strongly encouraged to only do that with people in our “covid bubble.” Since I have been providing daycare for both my grandchildren all along, they are in our bubble, which is why we limited our Thanksgiving to just our kids and grandkids. I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well on Thanksgiving, but glad you recovered quickly enough to enjoy the leftover turkey!

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  22. Ann, I like the way you respect and hold on to traditions whilst also not being bound too tightly to them if a change would serve you better. Sometimes, we can’t quite see all that God sees.

    I came from a family that had no traditions whatsoever for anything. Every Christmas was different and uncomfortably so. My husband, on the other hand, came from people who generation after generation faithfully held on to practices passed down to them. I loved being part of his family and decided that we would have our own traditions and hold on to them firmly. The delightful result is that we now have kids who more or less know what to expect right from the moment advent begins. They don’t have to wonder how Christmas would turn out, if the good mood would last, if family would come, if the bells would go up in our home. And for a long time, I was so happy that my husband and I had achieved this stability.

    But something changed last year. Some of those closest and dearest could not get Christmas leave and so our annual family gathering had to be called off. This sudden break with tradition hurt me deeply. Feeling frustrated and disappointed that God had allowed this to happen, I pressed God for an explanation. Imagine my surprise when God said, Mum needs rest. It was only then that I admitted to myself that I was actually feeling so exhausted from work and was secretly fearing a big Christmas do.

    God had long known what I couldn’t tell my own heart. And He knew what holding on to tradition would do to me last year.

    This year, with Covid, it’s just us again. We can’t meet with family, not even with my old aunts, and I cannot be sure if they will live to see another Christmas next year. But having had last year as a “rehearsal”, I’m okay with another quiet Christmas. In fact, I’m happy and looking forwards to it even more so because I know we can still have a beautiful time but with more rest – which is more important this year as 3 of us in the family have had a real tough year.

    I still believe that traditions are precious. I never want to go back to that life when every day felt like being on choppy seas. But sometimes, God comes to our door and takes our hand to follow Him down a different path because there’s something there that He wants us to know. It could be a little joyful thing. It could also be of sadness. And yet, seeing what we cannot see, He knows we have need of this change of path.

    It would be my loss if I said No to Him.

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    • Thank you so much for that insightful comment! It is so true….sometimes we just need to let go and trust that things are working out the way they need to, even if it takes us a while to understand the reason. As much as I love my traditions, our usual way of celebrating the holidays can feel overwhelming for me too, so maybe this year is the break I need as well. I’ve already gotten very good at distinguishing between what is truly important in my traditions and what isn’t, so that’s a blessing already.
      I’m glad that the break in your traditional family gathering turned out to be a good thing. And it very likely did prepare you to handle the situation this year so much better. Sometimes a different path is the perfect path…..

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  23. Ann, your tree is glorious, a beacon of light, colour and flare! I’m feeling festive just looking at the photo. How sweetly you describe your father’s tradition and what a rebel to change the decorations a bit! 😊😉 Like you, I am easy to change things this year. For the first time ever I’ll be doing Christmas but luckily my mother is in our bubble so she will be with us. When we can we will see the rest of the family and friends … good health and staying safe for now counts for so much and we are lucky to be able to do so from the comfort of our homes and surroundings.

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    • Thank you so much, Annika! I tend to go a little overboard on the tree (and all my decorations) but I do like the end result. Our trees cheers us up every time we look at it. I’m so glad your mom is in your bubble, because it is the elderly who have the hardest time with all these restrictions. The rest of us know there is a very good chance we’ll still be here next year when we can have our big gatherings again, and we also know how to navigate technology to stay in touch without actually being physically together. I hope you and your family have a wonderful, if different, Christmas!

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  24. I have been hosting Thanksgiving since my mom moved to the next state, but this year it was just our little household of four. I’m actually not a fan of turkey – don’t dislike it but don’t love it – so I decided to roast a chicken, only I couldn’t find a whole chicken at the two grocery stores I went to, so I baked a small ham instead. Luckily the weather was mild and the rain stopped by nightfall, so my son and pregnant daughter-in-law came over around 5:30 and we sat around a bonfire at a socially safe distance and drank hot, mulled cider that I’d simmered all day in a crock pot – this is something I’d like to make a new tradition, having friends over for after Thanksgiving dinner cider by a bonfire, weather permitting. The next day I put up our tree and decorations and the day after that went up to the family farm for pine cuttings and made my wreaths and pots of greens. I put out less decorations this year because I don’t want the house to feel too cluttered since we’ll be stuck in it all winter, and went and bought Christmas pillows to throw on the sofas for added cheer and twinkly lights for my pots of greens, plus candles and lights for the windows. I anticipate Christmas will be about the same as Thanksgiving, perhaps minus the bonfire depending on the weather. I admit there is a part of me that welcomes knowing I won’t have to clean and cook and shop and entertain a large crowd. Instead, I can actually use my vacation days for what they are meant, to relax and renew.

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    • I think that sounds like a great Thanksgiving tradition, Kim! And it just goes to show that some of the changes forced upon us can actually result in nice new traditions. Our family is seriously considering always having our Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving eve, as it would make it easier for our kids to have dinner with their in-laws without running from house to house on the same day. We’ll just include the rest of the family next year.
      I’m hoping you have a great, scaled-down Christmas this year, and your house sounds quite festive!

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  25. I know how you yearn to maintain your family tradition and see your family reunited, Ann. It seems that you have come up with a good solution for your mum though. Hopefully she will be given priority to get the vaccine in the next couple of months and then you can be together again soon.

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  26. It’s so difficult to let go of old traditions and make place for new! I appreciate that you’re willing to embrace change when it is called for. Something I could learn from you! Not many people celebrate Christmas in my country, I’ve always loved it, though. I really enjoy visiting the nearby church and putting up Christmas decorations and embrace the merry spirit!

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    • You know, sometimes being forced to let go of a tradition can be a good thing, as it does open the door for new traditions. I think that after this year, I’ll be more intentional about what traditions I keep and what ones I let go of, so that’s a good thing. This year will be different for sure, but we’ll make it happy. I’m glad you’re embracing the merry spirit too! And thank you for your comment!

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  27. When it comes to older people, I think allowing them to make the choice is important. If they’re of sound mind, simply laying out the alternatives, and the possible consequences, then letting them say “yea” or “nay” to visits is important. Taking choice away from someone because they’ve been defined by others as incapable of making decisions is dehumanizing. A dear friend of mine who’s 87 still lives in her home, gardens, and quilts. She has her daughter and son-in-law do her grocery shopping and such, but she’s perfectly willing to spend time with the occasional neighbor or friend. As she says, she’s been through everything that life has to offer, and if the price of staying alive is dying a little sooner, so be it.

    On the other hand, I certainly appreciate what you say about the need to adapt and change from time to time. My mother died in July, and when that first Christmas rolled around, I realized how many traditions were tied up with her. Rather than sitting at home trying to replicate what couldn’t be replicated, a friend and I went to Louisiana and spent Christmas there. It was a wonderful, week-long trip, and if I could afford to make it a new tradition, I sure would!

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    • I think that is a very sensible approach! And I agree about making decisions for the elderly as if they were no longer capable of making their own choices is dehumanizing. My mom is being more careful because she lives in a retirement community. It’s her own apartment, but there are many others in the building. But she is still being as social as she can, because what’s the point of living if you are alone 24/7? As you say, her opinion counts as well.
      I know what you mean about needing new traditions after a serious loss as well. Trying to do everything the same way must highlights the fact that a loved one is missing. I think it is very wise to mix it up a little bit, especially in the first couple of years. Love your idea of Christmas in Louisiana!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Ann, such important points. Yes, we all need to have a shift in attitude and an acceptance of the new reality that is out there this year. It is so very difficult for so many but in particular the elderly. My mom lives in an independent living situation and they basically have had everyone under quarantine for months now… the only outings they can take are doctors visits. Or, if they do go to a relatives house then they have to strictly quarantine for fourteen days. And the amazing thing, hard as it is, is my mom has adjusted her expectations and accepted what is and what cannot be changed.

    Loved reading about your christmas tree and the rules handed down by your father and how you finally rebelled. Wonderful story.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Peta! I’m so glad your mom has accepted her situation, as that is such a gift to the rest of her family. My mom’s facility is a bit more lenient, which helps, since I can visit her outside her building on the grounds, and in an emergency, I could go in as well. Mostly she accepts it, but she also has times when she forgets about the limitations and other times when she complains about how much she misses her old life, and that breaks my heart. Next year isn’t guaranteed for any of us, but it is especially iffy for someone who is 90 years old. I sincerely hope she is still around to enjoy it when things open up again!

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  29. I’m with you on the holiday traditions especially the Christmas ones but also agree about the liberating effect it can have to change if need be. I also think that with your mom being 90 it would be good to risk celebrating with her. You can still make it as safe as possible by going into quarantine beforehand or by getting tested (if tests are still around where you live. They’re rather short on that here.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luckily, tests are still available here, and I heard that the FDA has recently approved home tests, which would be a huge help. But no worries, one way or another, we will make sure Mom is not alone at Christmas. It may be that she spends most of the day with my sister and her husband, as she did at Thanksgiving, with just the three of them. But we are also thinking about having her over for just a short time, with everyone wearing their masks, as we open gifts. Then she can take the food home to eat at her apartment. Or it may be nice enough that we can be outside for a while, all together. Where there is a will, there is a way, and we will make something good happen this year. Because I agree, at her age, we can’t just say, “well, we’ll wait until next year.” We just have to figure out how to do it safely!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m glad your mother could be with your sister for Thanksgiving. Different certainly doesn’t mean worse. It will be that way for many people. Different can be good. I hope you do discover that something new this holiday that you can incorporate into your traditions, Ann. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Brenda! Yes, she enjoyed being with my sister, and we enjoyed being with just our kids. Having everyone together is nice, but our smaller groups this year were also nice. We’ll figure out a way to open gifts with Mom at Christmas, if nothing else. And then have a big gathering once this pandemic is over!

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      • We had a scare with my daughter (she’s in the US and we are in France). Her housemate tested positive, my daughter moved to a hotel (where she’s staying now), but tested negative as of last night!! Beyond thankful! Reunions indeed will be glorious when this terrible thing is over! There are many things I don’t believe I’ll take for granted when it’s all done. Take care!

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  31. you havea wonderful attitude and we ought to all adopt it. Our Christmas, will be different too. Like you, I expect beauty, just it may look different. This is coming from someone who LOVES tradition! We must all adjust and focus more than ever on the real meaning of the holiday. May your holidays be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you love family traditions just as much as I do, Michele! And this year will be different, but it will still be nice. We will probably celebrate in smaller groups, but we’ll still celebrate, even if we keep our masks on the whole time or do it outside while socially distancing. The spirit of Christmas is strong enough to transcend all these changes, I believe!

      Liked by 1 person

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