Transitions With Jean Blog

Put your thinkin’ cap on for the holiday season

November 1, 2020

We have gone through a lot together since March. What we have not gone through yet is the biggest family-time of the year: the holidays.

Normally, my family would have a grand Thanksgiving dinner where Mom would be the center of attention. The same thing would happen at Christmas. This year, we all want to get together and celebrate. The CDC says don’t do it; resist the temptation to gather in one place and possibly spread the virus to the fragile folks in our community.

OK, so we won’t get together in the traditional ways. It is time to start some new (safe) traditions!

I asked friends to share ideas of how to make the holidays special for their parents and grandparents. There are great suggestions, some include technology, so, if they live in a senior community, call ahead, and ask the staff to help.

Here is what they said:

 Send pictures of past holidays and homemade cards... no buying… even from the adults. Especially, send cards from grandkids.

 Call.

 Drop off a box of holiday/Christmas cards that Mom can fill out for her own giving. Then pick them up and mail them for her.

 Send or drop off Dad’s special favorite dishes and ask staff to prompt him to warm up a small portion while looking at photo albums of holiday past.

 Do voice and musical recordings.

 Schedule with the staff at the senior community to set up a virtual meeting with your parents and the family, preferably on a smart TV so the picture is larger. We did it for a birthday last week. Dad didn’t have to do anything but enjoy himself.

 Make a holiday picture album.

 One reader said, “I am in that situation. My 86th birthday, in April, was one of the best. All day long I received calls. Each child found ways they could bring cheer. One brought a cake, one flowers, special groceries, and then surprise gifts in the mail. The day ended with chats and I felt loved. I never felt alone.”

 Have the holiday dinner with the group and with the same meal, via zoom. Say the traditional meal prayer together (if appropriate).

 On the phone, virtually or outside, open gifts together or do some traditional family activity.

 Call.

 Put together a video with pictures of past holidays and put a message from each family on the end.

 Bake Grandma’s special Christmas cookie recipe and drop them off.

 Make a cardboard tree or other sign to mount outside the window and each day turn on an additional lightbulb. Try battery operated lights.

 Mail Dad a new card each day to be posted on his holiday wall. Staff can help him form it into a cross, a heart, or just around the door like old times.

 Did I mention: call.

For my own mom: We will be Christmas caroling outside. Be ready for a good laugh. We are awful but bringing our love.

Readers, please send other ideas to me and we will share them next month.



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