There is one month until Christmas. So, I am sure that you have been making your Christmas plans.
If you’re already worried about Christmas…let me assure you that Christmas will be different this year. But, just because it is different it does not have to be crap!
That’s why I am suggesting that you develop a Christmas Care Plan.
What is a Christmas/Covide Care Plan?
A Christmas/Covid Care Plan is a plan for the Christmas season that helps us remember what is important to us. Ahead of time we can determine what activities will help us enjoy the season and how we will deal with disappointment, loss and the fatigue of COVID.
Who should prepare one?
Anyone can benefit from preparing the plan but it is especially helpful if:
>You have lost loved ones in the last year and are wondering how to get through Christmas without them.
>You are worried about what Christmas will be like this year without the usual activities in December.
>You are disappointed by the lack of big family gatherings that are happening this year.
>You are wondering how you can stay safe from COVID and yet still get through the season without a lot of extra anxiety.
When should I prepare this?
If you haven’t prepared a plan yet, now is the time. Now is the time to make sure that you have had family conversations about the Christmas season so that people can be less anxious and everyone can have meaningful expectations.
This is the time to break out your best reflective listening skills and understand the wide range of feelings that people will have about how the season is going to unfold.
Remember to share your ideas and concerns with your family. Help them know what is important to you. Listen to the concerns and ideas of your family. It is important to listen to and understand each person’s ideas and concerns before offering solutions. Then, when everyone has had a chance to express themselves and understand each other, it is time to develop an alternative plan that works for everyone.
Here are some ideas that you may consider as you are developing your plan. If you have some good ideas to share please pass them along to us.
Prepare for grief
There will likely be some moments of grief when you remember a loved one or wish things were different.
Plan to have handy some things that will be meaningful to you at this time like a song, or a journal or a photo. Perhaps have a treasure box of these items to have with you as you grieve.
Prepare for self care
Think about the things that you do to nurture yourself and be prepared.
>Have the bubble bath and candle ready for a lengthy soak.
>Have your gym bag packed and sitting near the door.
>Get all your winter gear purchased and organized so that you can easily join in outdoor activities.
>Get out your toboggans and skis and those thermal winter mitts.
>Schedule some appointments with a therapist or a spiritual director for support during the season.
>Check out and join online support groups for support over the season.
>Have the supplies ready for leisure activities.
>Download a great book for a snowy day.
>Have the supplies ready for your next project such as painting or crocheting.
>Have your favourite sports schedules handy.
Prepare to care for others
Think ahead to who you can serve this Christmas.
>Remember those who have lost loved ones this year and plan to connect with them.
>Don’t forget about those who could get left out of plans, like elderly grandparents or crazy uncles. Help them get Zoom set up for family zoom calls. Facetime them while you are baking cookies then drop some over to them. Watch holiday movies together using Netflix party or Prime Video party or whatever streaming service they have.
>Set up a weekly zoom time to check in with someone you love over the season.
>Support someone that is elderly or lives alone as they prepare for Christmas. Help a neighbour, friend or family member by shovelling their driveway and sidewalks in preparation for christmas. Offer to shop for them so that they have what they need over the Christmas season.
>Have dinner delivered to a friend.
Prepare to care for those who care for others
Plan to make a difference in the lives of a person or a community.
>First Baptist Giving Tree will be supporting these three organizations:
Camp Hermosa: Located just outside of Goderich on the shores of beautiful Lake Huron, Camp Hermosa is a Christian summer camp for all ages. We invite you to partner with Camp Hermosa through this Christmas tree project. www.camphermosa.org
CBM Emergency Relief Fund : “In this moment of history, the world has been rocked by the devastation of COVID-19, as well as other disasters such as locust attacks in South Sudan and the tragic blast in Lebanon. In many places of the world, democracy and freedoms are under attack. Hunger and food insecurity threaten more people today than five years ago.”
Now more than ever, CBM needs your partnership.
“There is a reserve fund at CBM for Emergency Relief. Over the years it has helped us to save and rebuild lives during times of crisis. It has provided food, water and supplies to the hungry during famines or other disasters. It has helped provide medical assistance to the wounded, rebuilt homes, schools and churches. “
This account is what enables CBM to take practical action immediately in times when compassion and solidarity are needed.
“But these funds have been drastically depleted. Your help is required now!” https://www.cbmin.org/fallappeal2020/
Chalmers Community Services Centre: The Centre offers food, clothing, diapers, bedding, sundry household items and mending to vulnerable and marginalized people in our community. Along with other organizations, they work on the larger issue of poverty that leads people to need their services. www.chalmerscentre.ca
>Check out this Advent calendar: (https://www.24gooddeeds.ca/how-it-works) A calendar that just keeps on giving. Every day you open it and a dollar is being donated to a specific charity. Great idea for a family advent calendar or a gift for teachers.
Prepare to start a new Christmas tradition
The following ideas are not meant to make you busy this Christmas. They are meant to stimulate your thinking about what is important to you during this season and to be ready to enjoy some seasonal activities.
For you less may be more. You may enjoy having fewer things scheduled this year and only want to plan a very limited selection of activities.
>Family Activities – www.fbcg.ca under Stay Connected/Christmas Activities
Check out our FBCG website for a calendar of activities for December. You can plan to join in from the website. Each week a pdf will also be sent to remind you of the week’s activities. Send us your pictures doing the activities or post them on our Facebook group so that we can enjoy the season “together.”
Spend some time “pondering” the story of Jesus’ birth. Read through the story a few times and then imagine that you are one of the characters in the story. How would you describe what is happening? How are you feeling? Does this character have anything to say to you in your life in 2020?
>Hope House – Christmas “Virtual” Joy Tour
If you have not added the Christmas Joy Home Tour to your Christmas traditions you are going to want to check this out. This tour supports the work of one of our community partners, Hope House. https://www.christmasjoy.ca/
>Have lots of kids in the extended family? Organize an online dance party.
>Missing all the usual parades, work parties and family get-togethers? Plan a “24 days of December” calendar and do a christmas themed project or activity every day leading up to Christmas morning.
>Create a new Christmas drink recipe and share it with us…or if you need help creating a special Covid/Christmas drink let us know and we will contact our resident mixologist to see what he can suggest.
>Drive around to see the Christmas lights. Check out Riverside Park – Guelph Sparkles in the Park, December 19, 2020 To December 31, 2020, Price: Free – Donations, This will be a drive thru event with modifications made for Covid.
>Drive around to see the Christmas windows. Exhibition Park and cooperating downtown businesses. https://www.epng.ca/events
>If you are feeling more adventurous…https://www.todocanada.ca/drive-through-and-drive-in-events-and-activities-in-ontario/
>Make a christmas playlist or bookmark your favourite online christmas playlists.
>Check out your favourite christmas movies from the library. How about trying some new ones this year? Share titles of favourite christmas movies with your friends. (Mine are Love Actually, Home Alone(1) and Die Hard). Watch a christmas movie online with others: Netflix party, prime video party.
>Get ready to become the next Mike Holmes or Marie Kondo and do that project that you have been procrastinating.
>Clean out the tool room or the hall closet. Donate unneeded items.