Executive Director Reflections: 2020 brings a difficult holiday season

We have learned to do a lot of things in new and different ways since the start of the pandemic. Now, with the holidays approaching, most of us will be sorting out plans that will not look like they have in the past. This year, there may also be difficult and challenging conversations that we’ll be having with friends and family around things like the election and responses to COVID. I find myself thinking about the what and how my family and I will celebrate. The logistics and menus seem easier to focus on, even though I haven’t settled on much yet.

I am realizing that the combination of post-election exhaustion, the emotional impact of the holidays all being different, increases in COVID cases, and a fear of not seeing loved ones in the traditional way, is creating more upset and worry in me than I had recognized. I sat back this morning, quite literally, to consider what I need during this time. I hope that sharing these ideas might provide a starting place for others to pause, consider what they really need, and how they might go about getting those needs met. Let me know what you think!

I want to celebrate the holidays by:

  • Making decisions! Settle on things like time, menu, and who is doing what so I can ground myself enough to let emotions emerge and be faced.
  • Hosting or joining gatherings that feel safe, joyful, and celebratory. Limiting attendance to our “bubble” and simplifying to the things I really enjoy doing.
  • Having conversations before and day-of that acknowledge that things are different but that this also provides opportunity for new traditions to begin.
  • Setting some ground rules! Ask my friends and family if we can agree to what we will talk about or leave aside this year, especially, so that we can focus on what will feel safe and comforting for all of us.
  • Reaching out to people. I just pulled out a small stack of notecards and am going to write notes to people I will not be seeing, as well as those I don’t ever see on holidays but who matter to me. A simple short note to say I am thinking of them!

We can count on “different” right now, and probably for some months to come, but hopefully that is not all bad – maybe unique, changing, or distinct. However we see it, whatever we’re experiencing, perhaps a sprinkle of optimism or hope on top, as well.  I will be trying to do that and encouraging my loved ones to do so too.

My best,

kathy signature
Kathleen C. Marchi
Executive Director

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