With the 2020 holidays in our rearview mirror, now is the time to look back on the changes we endured – possibly for the better. Perhaps the typical big family celebrations giving way to simpler moments taught us something. The year we learned to adapt just might be the start of something new and hopeful.

What We Had

Holiday traditions have been passed down over generations, and our emotional attachment to them is what has made them special. We associate Thanksgiving with fond memories that include gatherings with family and a delicious feast with turkey and pumpkin pie. The idea of Christmas or Hanukkah conjures the scent of spiced potpourri and baked goods, the sound of carols and laughter or the lighting of the menorah, and warm evenings by the fire with loved ones.

All of that changed in 2020, when COVID-19 made it less safe for us to gather. To celebrate. To eat, drink, and be merry. Together.

In years past, the usual holiday hustle and bustle was just that. Most of it involved a lot of planning and a busy rush of cooking fancy meals and baking all the cookies, cleaning the house to host friends and extended family, and shopping for and exchanging gifts.

So many demands in such a short time span can be exhausting. Stress levels often increase around the holidays due to doing or expecting too much. Spending too much time with family. Indulging too much, whether that be eating, drinking, or spending.

Maybe a break from all of that would alleviate some anxiety and pave the way for new traditions.

What We Found

With the restrictions in 2020, there was likely less planning, less activity, and less work leading up to the holidays. We learned to adapt and do things differently because we had to. And while initially that idea didn’t seem so ideal, perhaps it made us realize a few things.

Maybe we discovered how to slow down and worry less. We didn’t experience that rush to tidy up and deck all the halls to make a good impression for visitors. Maybe these holidays offered us the time to calm down, to move at our own pace, and to savor the moment.

Perhaps we cooked and enjoyed a quiet meal with our immediate family on Thanksgiving, allowing us the opportunity to talk and laugh and be together. Perhaps we were even more thankful for the little things.

Maybe we slept in on Christmas morning and relaxed and stayed in our pajamas all day. Maybe we finally had time to watch that list of movies we’ve always said we would watch around the holidays. And maybe we relished in the quiet time and plan to, going forward, set aside the day for our personal familial bubbles.

What Gives Us Hope

Most of us remember what happened after the Grinch wiped out all the decorations and gifts and toys from Whoville: Christmas came just the same. And he realized that these celebrations aren’t about things. What makes these times special is the spirit of the holiday and the hearts of those around us.

For many, Zoom meetings and FaceTime with family replaced our regular gatherings. But you know what? We were still together. And sure, it was different, but maybe now we can use this technology to reach out to loved ones more often and not simply for special occasions.

We learned to appreciate the little things – a phone call or a curbside visit. We learned to tell others how much we love them, because saying and hearing those words matter. And we learned to recognize the power of a hug.

No matter what the next holidays look like, we will make it. We have already shown that even with the toughest challenges, we have learned to adapt, to stay safe, and to stay connected.

Perhaps through the discord around us, we found peace within ourselves. We gave ourselves permission to let go and do less, and we actually enjoyed it more! But if you find yourself struggling to find that harmony, we understand. The Calli Institute can help you find your mind, body, and spirit balance. We encourage you to reach out today.