Holidays in 2020: Reclaiming Joy

The holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, but unlike celebrations of seasons passed, festivities this year are going to look substantially different.

Suffice to say, 2020 has seen a radical change in all of our lives from almost every aspect. It’s been a politically charged year with unexpected outcomes, a year of handling a global pandemic with no formative ending in sight, a year of losses, wins, and new normals.

With the holidays approaching, tough conversations, hour long Zoom calls, and different shapes and forms of festivities are going to be new guests at the table.

For those going home there’s the dreadful election talk with politically opposed family members, that research has shown to be a cause for rifts in many families.[1] There’s the always awkward talk about love lives and marriage, there’s the guilty feeling of eating too much food, and everything else that we sometimes hate about the holidays.

On the other side of things, is everyone that’s staying in their dorm rooms or apartments in cities that are miles away from home, checking in on the family gathering through their screens. Several airlines have announced that travel tickets for the holidays are drastically low, standing at only a third of last year’s ticket sales.[2] The pandemic means that holidays are going to be really lonely for a lot of people this year, who might be replacing roasted turkeys with frozen pizza, or who have emptier seats at the table back home.

Knowing what you need to be okay during this time is crucial

There’s a lot of anxieties, loneliness, and change in this 2020 holiday season, but there is also still a lot of joy that can be found beneath it all. With that being said, here are some of our wellness tips and tricks to navigate through this holiday season, that’ll hopefully help in finding the joy.

If you’re not going home this year…

  • Try to recreate any subtle traditions that remind you of being at home. Maybe it’s cooking your favorite meal that your parents make, lighting a fire, or having some hot chocolate, whatever it is that makes you feel at peace.

  • Play some online games with the family over Zoom! Different games like Jackbox are free to download and can host all your family members and friends for a night of board games that’ll feel just like the real thing.

  • Hang out with friends that are also staying back this year. You can have your own Friends-giving or any other festivity, to keep each other company and make new memories together.

  • Watch all the Thanksgiving or Christmas related episodes of your favorite sitcoms. The Office, Brooklyn 99, and Friends have some of the most memorable holiday episodes that are bound to give you a laugh.

If you are going home for the holidays…

  • Remember to be gentle on yourself. Sometimes conversations can get heated or uncomfortable, and it’s completely okay to take a step back and avoid environments you don’t want to be in.

  • Take breaks alone every now and then. Text people that are safe spaces to you, go outside for some air, or even play a quick game on your phone, to have a little bit of reset time for yourself.

  • Hang out with the cousins you actually like. There’s a certain joy in sitting in the corner and gossiping with your favorite cousins that only ever really comes during the holidays, make use of it and find the funny together.

  • Eat, eat, eat! This is the only time of the year where we get to eat all the food and drink all the wine we want, without getting judged. Enjoy it to your heart’s extent! You deserve it after going through this whirlwind of a year.

There’s a lot of ways to find the joys in the holidays despite everything that’s going on. Knowing what you need to be okay during this time is crucial, and working towards a wellness-filled holiday might just be the answer to that. Take the time to make sure you’re okay and don’t be afraid to find the joy and put yourself first.


[1] [2]