How Do We Get Through The Holidays Since Things Are Different?

This has been quite an interesting year with all that’s going on. Now that the holidays are upon us how do we keep the old traditions while living in this new way of staying home?

Here are six ideas to help you and your family…

Savor the season: This tip should be first, not last. It’s easy to be overwhelmed during the holidays, so make this your mantra: All I want for the holidays is time. Time to savor delicious treats you don’t usually eat, time to prop up your feet and watch a corny holiday movie with the people you love. Time to string popcorn and cranberries. Time to read to your children, play silly games and hug them every chance you can.

Write a heartfelt letter: Give your partner or spouse a letter outlining all the reasons he or she is important to you, and be specific. The infectious way he laughs, the way her eyes catch the light, his corny jokes or her terrific sense of style. Write it on your nicest stationery and scent the envelope with his or her favorite fragrance.

Plan a special movie night: Find a few of your “sigother’s” favorite films (the ones he or she rarely get to watch because they’re your least favorite) and then create a movie night gift that includes popcorn or a favorite movie snack, and a printout of trivia about the actors, directors, writer or filmmaking process. Make sure you set specific dates for viewing.

Tell your child’s story in photos: For as little as $10 and some computer time, you can create a book for your children featuring their photos and stories. If you’re really ambitious you can retell your child’s favorite story using photos of him or her as the hero.

Create an imaginary vacation: If you can’t go to Legoland in Carlsbad, bring Legoland to you. Pair a gift of Legos with a stay-at-home dream vacation to Legoland . Provide special foods, virtual tours, books, crafts and activities that recall special times at the theme park. Other dream vacation ideas: Disneyland, New York, Paris, Hawaii.

Read holiday books: Set aside family time each night to read books such as Charles Dickens’ short classic “A Christmas Carol,” Raymond Briggs’ ”Father Christmas” and even merrier “Father Christmas Goes On Holiday,” Chris Van Allsburg’s “The Polar Express,” Dr. Seuss’ ”How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas,” Eric Kimmel’s classic “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” and more recent “Hanukkah Bear” and Angela Shelf Medearis’ ”Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa story.”

During the holiday season remember to be open, be cautious of expectations that cause resentments. Why not this year keep it simple, be open and enjoy the gift of the Present Moment and the greatest gift that is our life, our breath, and our loved ones.

Margaret Riley