This past spring, my family laid out a nice tablecloth, set a beautiful table, got the meal on the table and dialed into our family Passover seder. It was certainly a Passover like no other, but trying to take turns and all the “What did you say?” did not fill me with a holiday spirit.
Zoom is nice to have, but moving all of our life events to a video conference leaves something to be desired. It’s always going to feel lacking when what we want is our special people seated at our table or eating our mother’s chicken soup.
So how do we move forward? Can we celebrate in Covid times? Of course. We still get to love our people and applaud milestones. We have been doing it for months already, but the shift to a new season, the coming cold, makes it feel more essential that we commit to joy.
How about Halloween? Plan around the mask. Start by writing down a list of every masked costume that your kids can think of and see where that takes you. Last year my son was a bioluminescent jellyfish - and it turned out to be a rainy night so his clear umbrella (with battery-powered twinkle lights) made him the best dressed kid. He has already told me he wants to be a jellyfish again. (A+ for social distancing with the umbrella, and a sparkly mask will go perfectly.) Does it make me heartsick that my kid will have to wear a mask to trick-or-treat? Eh, a little. Does it make me heartsick that I am supposed to check over his candy before he eats it? Eh, a little. Does it warm my heart to see how delighted he is to tell people that he is a bioluminescent jellyfish? Absolutely.
How about grandparents, cousins? And the friends we don’t get to see? How do we celebrate with them? In a digital world, I expect that paper is going to feel like a celebration. A tangible moment of connection. Photo prints, a postcard or a handwritten letter are treasures to receive, even – maybe especially – if people have to wait a few days. Post a picture to social media, if that’s your thing, but still send a print. Or, for your own family, keep a family almanac to mark daily accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be a forever commitment – just start today and contribute when you think of it (it helps if it’s in a prominent spot in your house).
If all else fails, dessert is my family’s way of marking every milestone or celebration. Big or small, we are delighted to celebrate with a cake or pudding after dinner. Mom rocked a big presentation for work? Kiddo read a chapter book on his own? Dad won a raffle? Pass the cookies!