What if we thought about this year’s very unusual holidays as an opportunity to create inspiring new memories or traditions, rather than as having to give up traditions or diminish our activities?

This is a shift in image that can allow us to acknowledge the major impact of the pandemic on our social lives and at the same time affirm and celebrate the situation.
(See how images affect behaviour in this post https://ica-associates.ca/image-change/).

For example, many of us have family members or dear friends in distant places that rarely see us or each other at holiday times. What if we connected with them on Zoom (or Facetime, or some other familiar connection platform) during the holiday time, and did some fun or meaningful activities with them? This is an opportunity to bring our extended family together in a new way.

Some activities (only a start) we can do together connected electronically:

-Eat dinner together over Zoom. One family has celebrated Thanksgiving and several birthdays online together this year – they cook similar food in each house, and park the laptop on Zoom on the other side of the table so that it feels like they are all sitting at the same table.

-Share meaningful rituals such as attending a virtual religious service together, sharing the screen.

-Watch an online concert, play or a movie together by sharing your computer screen on Zoom. Make popcorn and drinks in each location. It’s like sitting next to each other at the theatre. Many events or movies can be viewed for free.

-Play an online game. Search for “online board games” and find one that your group enjoys. Do a trial run if necessary to make sure everyone can connect. One family found an online version of “Boggle” that is free.

-Invent games that can be done separately yet together. For example, a scavenger hunt that has people find an object in their home and bring it to the screen to share and tell a story about – eg “something that makes you happy”, or “something that reminds you of your childhood”, or “something that you always include in your holiday décor”.

-Have a virtual conversation reflecting on the past year and perhaps gathering stories for an annual holiday letter (see accompanying sample conversation)

-Or not virtual — if you are physically close enough to each other, meet in a safe outdoor space and do some outdoor activities together, appropriately distanced, such as hiking or skiing, or having a snowball fight.

Above all, do safely what brings you all joy at this season!

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