The streets have begun to look lively again and happy hour has made its comeback. However, the pandemic is still forcing many reunions to be put on hold. In doing so, many of us have been struck with these questions: How long is the pandemic really going to last? Do we actually need to come up with new holiday traditions or (gasp!) forego traditions altogether?
While others are relieved at letting go of holiday family traditions and the hassle that they come with, some may still find it difficult. Some have embraced the idea of spending their Christmas or New Year’s Eve at the beach. Others lament that they won’t be gathering to open presents or light sparklers together with their extended family and friends. Whether you’re the type to dilly-dally and revel in the pretty holiday atmosphere or not, it’s nearly impossible to do it. We’re still reminded of the need to return to the safety of our homes or to get away from crowds.
To be fair, keeping or replacing the old holiday routines and staples isn’t a dilemma that only came with the pandemic. We all eventually outgrow the Christmases of our childhood. We’ve all chosen between trying out new trends or sticking with the decor and Noche Buena slash Media Noche dishes we’re fond of. But what makes the changes that we face now feel more significant is this: Where and who we’re spending our holidays with aren’t entirely up to us.
What can holiday celebrations be about other than being surrounded by loved ones? How do we get into the holiday spirit when we’re alone or in an unfamiliar place? It may seem like we need to redefine Christmas and the New Year. But perhaps a better way to approach it is to look at the other things that the holiday season offers—chances to slow down and reconnect with ourselves.
For me, the most important thing about the holidays (apart from getting boozed up and sending gifts to my loved ones) is the much-deserved break we’re entitled to and how it’s an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments we might have looked over while we’re busy sprinting towards the end of the year. There’s no time like the holidays to let “Hey, I’m alive and maybe I’m happy to be” really sink in.