The holidays are my favorite time of the year because it’s a time for joy, celebration, and gratitude. For some, the holidays may bring mixed emotions. Even in normal times, some may have feelings of sadness, loss, or loneliness. The pandemic does not make it any easier this holiday season for anyone. Whatever stage you’re in during this time of the year, it’s important to find moments of joy where you can. Here are a few ways on how to get through holidays and make the most of this magical season.

Rethink Your Expectations

So many of us have a picture in our head of what the holidays should be. This is because our society has high expectations of what the holidays should look like. The absence of a close family or a romantic partner may be more painful and magnified during this time of the year.  We end up disappointed when they don’t live up to those expectations. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect holiday or a perfect family. Try to find moments of joy or gratitude in those moments, even if things may not go as planned. You don’t need to be in a romantic relationship or have a perfect family to enjoy this time of the year.

Keep Up With Holiday Traditions

The holidays don’t have to change much even though things will be different this year.  You can still build gingerbread houses with your S.O (significant other). You can still send holiday greeting cards to family and friends via Paperless Post. You can still put up the Christmas tree and holiday decor. And, you can drive around town and look at everyone else’s holiday outdoor lights and decorations. Some cities even offer drive-thru holiday celebrations.

For Christmas dinner, dress up in that dress you’ve been wanting to wear all year. Cook a delicious dinner and pair it with wine. Michelin star restaurants all over the U.S. are offering meal kits for pick-up. You can enjoy a Michelin star meal in your cozy home. Enjoy your favorite traditions that you can still continue this holiday season. Stay positive, be joyful, and get

Stay Connected (Virtually)

Feeling lonely because you won’t get to see your friends or extended family? Round up your best girlfriends to video chat while preparing your holiday dinner. Schedule a Peloton workout with a few friends. You won’t feel so guilty when you have that second glass of mulled wine (Glühwein) later. Give a quick call to a loved one to check-in and see how they’re feeling about the holiday season. Stay connected with the people that you love in the ways that you feel most comfortable with. 

Acknowledge Your Loss 

If you’re missing a loved one, find ways to honor their memory as you celebrate the festivities. If you’ve lost a job, take time to find the learnings from that situation and be grateful for the time off. You’ll have more time to find a job or career that you’re passionate about. 

I recently lost my grandmother right before the holiday season started. She meant the world to me and I still think about her everyday. I’ve found ways to honor her memory by putting up my favorite pictures of us around my house. I also light a candle in her memory every night. Whatever your loss may be, take time to grieve and find what you can learn from that situation.