4 Secrets for Cultivating Holiday Togetherness in 2020

Written by Team Optimity

3 minute read

Dinners, brunches, decorating, shopping, wish lists, diminishing bank balances, rising stress levels… The holidays are a mixed bag of fun and frenzy. Sometimes, we confuse #holidaygoals (pop culture stereotypes of a beautifully curated, social-media-ready holiday) with holiday goals – our personal wishes for togetherness and connection during the social season this year. 

In our quest for holiday “perfection”, we can spend more money and time on material things, while missing out on what really brings us joy. But not this special year, right? Although COVID has made us reinvent our actions and ways of sharing with our loved ones, here are four secrets to cut the noise and get to the heart of the season, in a healthy and fun way.

Holiday secret #1: Connecting with others is the reason for the season

Got the urge to use days off to catch up on unfinished tasks? For a happier holiday, don’t. Instead, use your downtime to catch up with friends and loved ones. Here’s why:

Social support is vital to emotional wellbeing. Our support networks consist of those we trust, confide in, and feel accepted and validated by: family, friends, colleagues and fellow students, for example. Like any relationship, these connections require nurturing to stay strong. 

When work and responsibilities overwhelm, socializing falls to the wayside. Use the holidays to stay connected. Don’t hole yourself up baking or crafting… unless you’ve got some of your support crew in there with you! Embrace using video-chat software like Zoom or Skype and book a specific time to make calls to your friends and family to catch up, so you will have time to carry out other activities.

Holiday secret #2: Giving back feels great!

December is the perfect time of year to step back and evaluate our blessings. For some of us, that may include realizing we really don’t need more stuff, and that “giving back” is a better (clutter-free, low-stress, feel-good) option – consider donations to non-profit organizations.

Have you heard of virtual volunteering? It’s a new way to share your talents and skills with people who need them. Take on a variety of activities and projects – some require specific expertise; however, no need to be an expert to serve and return to others. You can give support through your phone with telephone reassurance volunteering and bring some light to someone’s day! If you want to know more about these volunteer opportunities, you can see them here.

Holiday secret #3: Presence is a present

While marketers push the holidays as a shopping bonanza, that’s no reason to overspend. Consider low- or no-cost ways of celebrating with your circle:

• Clear your head by hiking in a winter wonderland with your close family while respecting social distancing protocols

• Bond with the little ones by taking them sledding 

• Invite your friends to prepare a warm or cold Christmas drink from their homes virtually

• Try a virtual Secret Santa by sending gifts to your friends leading up to the holidays and open them together on virtually. Leave clues in the package but make sure not to include a return address

Holiday secret #4: Sharing is caring (even virtually)!

Finally, don’t knock yourself out aiming for a picture-perfect holiday dinner. The idea is to share good moments – even virtually can make a difference.

Share your holiday feast recipe with friends and family, or even better, how about a virtual family cooking class? Put your creativity to the test and invite your loved ones to prepare a meal with you virtually. As a gift, you can send them all of the necessary ingredients by mail, or send a fun invitation with a checklist of all the required ingredients that they must use to carry out the recipe. Schedule the event day and make this moment a special event!

What about you? Got some tips for a happier holiday? Share them below! Discover ways to stay connected with your loved ones over the holiday season here.

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