Published on November 18, 2020

Family putting star on the tree.

Cherish old holiday traditions while creating new ones

This has been quite the year. The pandemic has challenged nearly every aspect of our lives and may be challenging your idea of the perfect holiday, too. Despite the challenges, we have found new ways to connect with one another and new and creative ways to celebrate special moments.

To help lift spirits this holiday season, consider serving up family traditions with a twist – or create new ones. Here are five budget-friendly ideas to help you make memories:

  • Decorate your home, prepare family recipes, wrap gifts, carol on your street, and engage in other traditional holiday activities that you may not have had time to enjoy in the past.
  • Use video to connect online and play games, try out cookie recipes, sing songs, make ornaments and engage in other activities with loved ones.
  • Organize members of your household to create a movie, perform a skit or concert at home, or host an online creative activity.
  • Make handmade gifts and treats to give and send to others. Engage loved ones in exchanging fun, unusual or themed gifts.
  • Write handwritten letters to the people who matter most to you. Instead of sending a duplicated greeting, personalize a message and let others know how much you care about them.

You can brighten the holidays by putting things into perspective, said Michael Raster, MD, a psychiatrist with ProHealth Medical Group and the medical director of ProHealth Care's behavioral health program.

“We still have many opportunities to create intimate, heartfelt moments,” he said. “We can accept that this season will be different, understand that the situation is temporary, find ways to experience joy and laughter, and make plans for a better future together in 2021.”

It’s as important as ever to practice self-care, eat well, exercise and get enough sleep during the holidays, Dr. Raster said. Mindfulness, meditation, journaling, reading, doing yoga and listening to music can help people cope with the pandemic and maintain a healthy outlook.

“If nothing else, consider the silver lining in this year’s holidays — you won’t get stranded in an airport or snowstorm, you won’t have to endure awkward gatherings, and instead of being over-extended, you could create one of the best holidays in recent years,” Dr. Raster said.