Adaptation during the holidays

COVID-19 has changed the way we celebrate the holidays. 

Read how a bunch of Occupational Therapy Students are adapting their usual holiday plans this year…

Celebrating COVID-19 style

In years past, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving in Texarkana at my parents’ house. We usually do a traditional Thanksgiving lunch with my family and dinner with my husband’s family. Then on the Friday after Thanksgiving, my mum makes homemade pizza and margaritas. It has been her way of giving the extended family that lives out of town time to spend with their significant other’s families on Thanksgiving Day then spending time with us on the following day. My mum is one of six siblings and all are married with children and most have grandchildren typically there ends up being about one hundred and fifty people at my parents’ house after friends join in as well. It is something that we, as a family, look forward to each year. This year, my mum and her brother discussed moving pizza day to New Year’s Eve and doing smaller groups for Thanksgiving. Everyone agreed, my immediate family has been planning to spend Thanksgiving in Mesquite, Texas (Dallas area). Recently the Dallas area has been named as a COVID-19 hotspot, which made us rethink our gathering of about 30 people. I suggested setting up a Zoom call so that we can all at the very least see each other on the day that we have celebrated together for decades. In reality, I’m not sure what this holiday season holds, but I do know that I am thankful for the life I live, my health, and my family. 

Author: Katelyn Thomas

Being safe in COVID-19

I am incredibly excited for Thanksgiving this year. I’m sure almost everyone else is just as excited as I am for a few days spent eating outrageous amounts of comfort food and focusing on family time instead of the crumbling world around us. While most of the world is most likely restructuring how they are celebrating the holidays with COVID-19 still being rampant, my family is not. In fact, I am almost having to push them to make changes in how we are interacting to try and keep everyone safe. I am from a very small town in Missouri where there have been less than 10 COVID cases in the entire county over the course of this year. In these small towns, my family reports that hardly anyone wears masks. However, in Dallas, Texas, I am required to wear a mask everywhere I go. This has become my new norm because I am constantly around people who I do not know. 

To protect my family, I plan to socially distance and check my temperature each day I plan on being around them. If my grandma lets me, I will wear a mask to protect her and my other family members around me. When we eat, I plan to ask my grandma if I can serve everyone while wearing gloves instead of our typical buffet and passing it around the table style. As a tradition, we always play cards after we eat our Thanksgiving meal. My grandma is still insisting that we play as usual so I will be bringing a large container of germ X and disinfectant to regularly use throughout the day and share with my family. 

I do not judge my family for not being fearful of COVID-19, but I will still take the steps needed to make sure the most vulnerable (my young nieces and nephews and elderly grandparents) are protected at the very least. I hope that others will be considerate, but it is out of my control. Sometimes it is frustrating how stubborn they all are, but I love them nonetheless. 

Author: Emily Shaw

Being together 

I have not done much planning for the holidays this year. We usually keep our celebrations small to begin with, so this year will not be much different. For Thanksgiving, we will have about five people together, which is about par for us. And for Christmas, it will likely just be my husband, my son, and me, which is what we did last year and the year before that. However, in the spirit of discussing modified holiday celebrations, I can share some past experiences. 

About four years ago, when my mum was going through chemo and radiation treatment for colon cancer, she was instructed not to leave the house because she could not afford to get sick. We rigged up the laptop to the TV with facetime and planned our Christmas dinners to be at the same time so that we could sit together for Christmas dinner and enjoy opening presents together. (That was a long facetime call.) 

This year for Halloween, my mother-in-law came up with a creative way to hand out candy without coming in contact with so many people. She put candy on sticks and poked them in the ground all over her yard. She got all dressed up and sat on the balcony to see and talk to all the kids while they picked the candy they wanted. 

Being together is important, and I really love seeing the creativity in making it happen despite the current situation. 

COVID-19 and the holidays 

In case you did not already hear…it is the year 2020. That means ANYTHING can happen, good or bad. The holiday’s this year, specifically Thanksgiving and Christmas, will likely be spent a little differently than normal for everyone. 

This year for Thanksgiving, my family has decided to not do a big gathering with extended family. Instead, we are opting for a more “intimate” feast with only our close family. Personally, I am looking forward to that quality time…especially after the time I feel COVID-19 has robbed from so many of us this year. 

Working in skilled nursing is hard because of how careful we must be when we do decide to get out into the world. I have missed nearly the whole first year of my nephew’s life, birthday parties, vacations, the list goes on. Despite all of that, I know things could be so much worse, so this year, I am thankful for mine and my families health and I hope that everyone can find a way to celebrate regardless of what is going on in our crazy world!

Author: Kylee House (@kyleejoanne)

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