Memories of Christmas Past

Anyone else feeling like the holidays just crept up on us?? This past year has been a heck of a year for all of us. We all have one thing in common, we had to face what really matters to us, cherish it, and find ways to keep moving forward. I woke up today officially on holiday break through 01/04, and I am not quite sure what to do with myself, lol. Each day of this year I made sure to stay in action, move my body, meditate, and did my best to stay disciplined in that routine. It is what got me through the fact that out of the 365 days of this year, I maybe left the house no more than 60 of them.

Normally my schedule allows for no more than 4 days straight at home, and here's the truth, I found peace with it back in April. I told myself to just stay present, safe, and connected with those I love - that is all I need. I found content with my ability to function and serve during this time, but now that it is Christmas, I miss the ability to hop on a flight and spend a long weekend with my sister and our niece to create new holiday memories together and their ability to come be with us. I was looking through my photos from past holidays and each one had a memorable moment with them when we were able to be together. This year, we are going to have to create a virtual memory. 

I am fortunate that my Aunt and Uncle live down the street and my cousins are home and that we all have pretty much been seeing each other throughout this whole Pandemic year. The half of the 60 times I have left the house this year was to go to their house. This is why we moved back East two years ago, to be closer to family and easy access to be with each other when we desire. So this year, we get to drive up the street and have Christmas with them, it's going to be so fun! Although my holiday outfit hasn't arrived yet (anyone else trying to track their packages?)

The other night we were having dinner and my cousin started to play old movies, which reminded me of Christmas past. When her sister was around one and a half years old, my Aunt asked me if I would be Santa for Christmas. I was almost 15 at the time, and my cousin's baby sitter, so my Aunt felt that if I was Santa, she probably wouldn't cry. "Of course!", I said. I would do anything for this cutie baby girl, she was my outlet of unconditional love during a time when things at home were in turmoil. Putting on a Santa suit to make sure she didn't cry, easy! So you can get the full image into your head as to what lengths I go for the people I love...'re welcome! Classic right?! It's ok to laugh, I still do. 

When I recounted this actual holiday celebration and think about the year that was happening prior to this celebration, it was not the easiest year. Honestly, other than my time with my cutie cousin baby sitting or some moments with friends, I don't remember much other than trying to block out the circumstances around me and push forward to find glimpses of something to lighten the mood. This was one of them.

Family, fun, love, laughter - it is really what life is about. And even though this year I can't physically be with my sisters and niece to create new memories, I know some time in the future when it's easier to travel and be together without the risk of passing some illness onto each other or having to quarantine for weeks before we can see each other, we will go all out, and never take it for granted.

As I wind down to enjoy the holiday season, I am excited to let go of my disciplined routine that got me through this Pandemic year and create new memories with the family and friends near and far. We choose the energy we want to show up in daily and can make each day a dressed up Santa moment if we want to, that is our choice. If it can't be in person, leverage the tools and technology you have today, and make it fun! Let go of perfection or how it once was, and make it what it needs to be right now. Only you can make each moment memorable. I plan to. 

If you are looking for ways to create a virtual holiday celebration with your family and friends this year, here are some tips:

  1. For your family: Hire someone to facilitate a holiday gathering with games so you don't have to have the pressure of hosting via zoom and can just show up. You can also send each family member a holiday head piece to wear during the call to take a holiday family photo from 2020. (It's a time capsule moment)
  2. For your friends: Schedule a Zoom happy hour and think of at least 3 questions you can go around the room and ask each other (head pieces and photo for this one too would be a fun memory). 
    • What is something you want to make sure you remember about 2020?
    • What is something you definitely want to forget from 2020?
    • What is something you would love to see happen in 2021?
  3. Bringing young kids together: If you and your friends have kids that you normally celebrate with, create a story time via zoom where parents make hot coco or cider at home for each, everyone dresses up in their pajamas and you all gather around for story time. Each parent takes turns reading a story to the rest. And for gift exchange, do a fund raiser to help one of your favorite charities and celebrate with the kids on how they contributed to give back this year. 

Wanted to wish you a happy holiday and hope that you have a healthy and thriving New Year! I know that soon this Christmas will be one in the past that you will either choose forget or remember forever. I plan to lean into making it memorable because we only have the present time together. Hmm, maybe it's a year of going retro and I put on a Santa suit again?! Will share it if I do on insta (@kareenzwalsh).

Have a healthy holiday season!


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