This is the first holiday season where I have absolutely no plans. I won’t be going to my grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve lunch or Christmas dinner, I’m not exchanging gifts with friends, and I didn’t even put up a Christmas tree in my own apartment (a tradition I had carried on for the past decade as an adult).
The holiday season this year marks the first after my grandmother’s condo sold in May, a place that held many special holiday memories for me over the years. It’s also the first time I am not working in an office and have co-workers to exchange gifts with. A lot has changed this year, including friendships that I once believed to be unbreakable.
As I embrace the holiday season in my own way, I’m reminded that there are plenty of people for whom the holidays are a hard time of year. To those who have lost loved ones or are estranged from family, I’m thinking of you. And, to those who have had to create their holiday memories with friends as family, I see you, too.
With less than ten days until Christmas, here’s how I’m finding new ways to create special moments:
- Decked the halls with lights: Even though I didn’t put a tree up, I did pull out the Christmas lights and found a unique way to incorporate them into my apartment. I also added a Poinsettia to make it feel a bit more festive.
- Put up a wreath: I only began decorating with wreaths a couple of years ago. My local Home Depot has become my go-to for holiday wreaths (they have a wide selection at decent price points).
- Visited the Christmas tree in town: For the last couple of years, my town has put up a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. Despite being able to see it from my apartment two blocks away, I had never visited it up close. That changed this week when one night, after spending time with my grandmother, I decided to walk over. I have to admit that seeing it in person put me a bit more in the holiday spirit.
- Got gifts for staff at the nursing home: Since the nursing home has become my own home away from home lately, I decided to get gifts for some of the staff on my grandmother’s floor. I’ve become close with many of the aids I see every night as they help care for her, so it only feels right to get them something special for the holidays to say thank you.
- Listened to old holiday music with my grandmother: I’m not much of a singer, but my grandmother has been comforted by music these days. When I go for my nightly visits, I’ve been playing holiday songs from Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis. It brings her such joy, and it’s amazing to see how she’s able to sing along and connect to the music all these decades later.
So this holiday season, whether it feels hard, stressful, or exciting, remember to check in on those you love as you create your own new memories.