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IT'S OUR TURN: Keeping Christmas during a pandemic

Discover new ways to make Christmas special this year.

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Visiting Santa's Village in Fargo with my niece Anna from Oregon was part of family time last Christmas. This year will be a quieter Christmas, but there are still many opportunities to celebrate the season in new ways.

This Christmas will be different than any we have experienced in the past.

In other Christmases, my brothers and their families have flown into Fargo. Together with me and my sister and parents who live in Moorhead, we have enjoyed Christmas Eve candlelight church services, many fun times and lots of homemade meals and goodies together.

This year, we will be connecting on Skype to wish each other a Merry Christmas and having a much quieter holiday.

Christmas is usually a busy time of year, with school programs, choir concerts and other community events. This will be a quieter Christmas.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t have this Christmas, another way to look at it is to see this year as an opportunity to slow down and create new traditions.

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When we were children, mom made each of us a homemade advent calendar that we hung by our beds. Starting on the first of December, every morning when we woke up we looked forward to opening a door to see the picture inside she had picked out just for us.

One story I read recently in a Guideposts Christmas publication, called “The Merry Month of Christmas,” suggests writing something to look forward to in each square for the month of December.

The possibilities are endless: baking cookies, creating a homemade gift, listening to a concert of Christmas music at home, reading “The Christmas Carol,” going for a walk under a blanket of winter stars.

Make sure to include yourself on your Christmas list. Set aside time for self care and things that make you happy. Recently, I ordered a pair of caroler candles that remind me of when I would set out ones just like them on the piano to welcome the Christmas season at home when I was in elementary school.

Watching Christmas movies you enjoyed as a child is another way to reconnect to the magic of past Christmases. Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch and “The Christmas Story” can all help you reconnect with your inner child.

The website “Our Homestead” has some additional tips for creating a simpler Christmas.

  • Simple decorations. Display a few items that bring joy. A nativity scene, a poinsettia on the mantel and a tree decorated with pine cones, cranberries and popcorn are a good start.

  • Simple traditions. Whether gathering around the fire to make popcorn, taking a drive or walk to look at Christmas lights or going to cut down your own Christmas tree, traditions bring a sense of comfort and connection from one year to the next.

  • Simple giving. Find a local organization in the community and make a donation with everybody in the family contributing or as a gift in honor of someone on your list.

  • Simple shopping. Giving family members something they want, something to read and something they need.

  • Simple cookies. Instead of spending hours baking a bunch of different treats, have each family member choose one or two favorites and bake them together.

This poem also comes from the Homestead website: “This Christmas season let us try
to do some golden deeds, to carry someone’s burden, to help someone in need. There are always those who need us as we journey on life’s way, and the friends we win by helping make us richer every day. So when you see a saddened face as Christmas time draws near, do your best to lift the load and spread the word of cheer.”

Christmas isn’t just a day on the calendar but a spirit of caring, love and giving. Everyone has been under a lot of additional stress this year, and showing extra grace, patience and understanding to the important people in your life may be the best gift of all.

Related Topics: CHRISTMAS
Opinion by Lorie Skarpness
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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