How to Celebrate the Holidays during COVID 19?

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How I celebrated my Son’s birthday during COVID 19…

It was a rainy Wednesday and my little one, my baby, was turning 7. I was filled with expectation. How could I match last year’s birthday party? [His first one]. His little mind could not understand that gatherings are not allowed, after all, we are still going to school. He just wanted to meet his friends in the park…..

Well it turns out he is more sensible than I thought, and on the rainy Tuesday on the way to forest school when I discussed this with him, he said “I want to stay home and play games.” This sounded quite doable to me. So we spent the rainy Wednesday making a big breakfast, playing our memory bird game, opening a new Origami set and making birds and polar bears. We finally inched our way out the door to get flowers [one tradition we could fulfill since flowers are obtained at the grocery store]. So we made our way to the store, only get caught in rainy day traffic on our return journey.

Then friends stopped by to drop off birthday cards, and there was a surprise treat sent by Nani [food that he was craving]. I made Lasagna [the requested dish]. We cut the cake on Zoom with the grandparents – and shared the photo album that I gifted him. The album contained the photos from the previous year and so we had time to reminisce.

We said good night and he hopped into bed as satisfied as on any other birthday!

So what was our secret to success? I would say it was the opportunity for connection, good food and play. I think no matter what we are doing in COVID we are able to create all those opportunities [at least those of us in more developed countries – usually we have access to food – internet and our imaginations 🙂

Our second December celebration| more lessons for celebrating in COVID

Our second celebrations was a religious festival that I usually don’t have to plan for. We usually go to mosque and all is taken care of. And so, since it is not a super meaningful celebration for me I did not prepare anything. However, the loss of the celebration resonated in my Son’s heart. So I decided we would get Indian take out – as there are certain foods he associates with the holiday. As it turned out, everyone had the same idea? The store we wanted to order from was over run with orders….

We ended up getting take out from somewhere else near by and we went for a walk in the dark and saw the lights. This a shared hot chocolate cheered him up all the way and another holiday was celebrated in COVID 19. With a little bit of food and some cheer borrowed from Christmas lights all was made right 🙂

So again, plan some connection, food and play and I am sure you will have an awesome day.

On that note I would also suggest checking out Brene Brown’s interview of Priya Parker. Priya has written a book the The Art of Gathering which I have not yet had the opportunity to check out. In their conversations, towards the end, Priya gives some tips about what makes a good gathering.

She argues that most gatherings have a form. Something we are meant to do, and that we get caught in the form, that we forget our intention for gathering. If we redefine and make clear the purpose – then our events can be more meaningful and facilitate the connection that we so deeply crave. COVID 19 gives us the opportunity to do this because we have to reinvent gathering. So before adding a zoom call to the event ask: What is the purpose of the event? Will the zoom call enhance it?

Also, she mentions that zoom is just a platform; the more important question is: how is it being used? Is it facilitating meaningful connection [me]?

What are you thoughts? How are you planning to celebrate the holidays this year ?

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