2020 has been difficult for many of us, and it’s hard to believe we are officially in the holiday season of this unprecedented year. At LR-J Health Solutions, we know it’s the holidays not only because we are busy helping Arizonans and Californians enroll in benefits during Open Enrollment Season, but also because it’s the time of year when we get to celebrate with some of our most favorite family traditions. This year’s holiday season may look a little different than most, but we think it’s more important than ever to celebrate with loved ones and remember what’s important.
Our Holiday Traditions
As a health insurance broker that is humbled to serve clients in both Arizona and California, my best blessings come from the traditions I enjoy with my family during the holidays. Every Thanksgiving, I host my family at my home, cooking my own turkey and ham, and making some of my grandparents’ favorite recipes like macaroni and cheese, stuffing, lemon pie, and sweet potato pie. It’s one of the only times of the year I get to put my formal dining room to good use, and the meal always kicks off with a toast and a tribute to those that are no longer present. Squeezed around the table, everyone says something about what they are thankful for, and this year will be no different. This year’s toast was especially meaningful with the passing of some close loved ones, so everyone brought items to share that help to keep their memory alive.
The Christmas holiday is usually spent “at home” in San Diego. My boys and I spend Christmas Eve with the family at my mom’s home and we enjoy a gift exchange. My boys used to wake up at midnight to open presents, but now they all enjoy sleeping in on Christmas morning. Christmas day is spent with immediate family, and enjoying delicious food and maybe a mimosa or two. This year, the Christmas holiday may be a bit different, but my family and I are still looking forward to counting our blessings in having each other.
How To Safely Celebrate This Holiday Season
It’s understandable that this year may look a little different for many families, and maybe a LOT different for families who are coping with the loss of loved ones. After an unprecedented year full of uncertainty, isolation, and stress, we all want to spend the season celebrating close to our loved ones. It is still possible to celebrate safely, whether virtually, or in some cases, in person. Since eating together with people who live outside your household is considered a higher-risk activity, it is recommended to plan a virtual gathering this year. Here are some tips we’ve rounded up for how to minimize the risks COVID-19 brings:
- Plan a virtual holiday party! There are countless digital platforms, and you’re probably already used to navigating most of them as 2020 has been the year of virtual meetings for both school and work. This holiday season, you can still come together to wish each other well and even have some holiday fun. Here are some suggestions to make your virtual holiday party one to remember:
- Share a special toast or prayer together. No one wants to eat a full meal while on camera, but why not Zoom with family to share a special toast or a family prayer together? With some planning, you can all even toast with the same brand of special vino or bubbles.
- End on a sweet note! If cocktails aren’t your thing, zoom during dessert. Everyone loves dessert! If your family is local to you, you can deliver some homemade goodies for everyone to enjoy “together,” safely via zoom.
- Send goodie boxes. An idea we love is sending everyone who’s invited to the virtual celebration a goodie box about a week before the party. Some suggested items for the goodie box: hot cocoa mix, a holiday mug, cookies or holiday treats, holiday accessories like headbands or hats, activities such as puzzles or crafts or games, gifts cards or online subscriptions. If food is really important, order individually boxed meals to be shared together while on Zoom and playing a game or listening to the holiday playlist.
- Have a Zoom background competition. For many of us, it’s been fun (okay, and a bit stressful) learning how to use all of the features different virtual platforms offer, including adding digital backgrounds! Why not challenge family members to create their own backgrounds? You can set up some sort of contest that rewards homemade prizes for originality, attention to detail and overall vibe, to name a few.
- Incorporate some entertainment. Missed having the family attend your son or daughter’s holiday recital? If you have young ones who are willing to do so, you can still treat the family to a performance during your virtual holiday party.
- Play some games! There are plenty of options to play virtual games with your family near and far this holiday season! Scavenger hunts, BINGO, trivia, charades, and Heads Up! are all great options!
- Don’t stress – allow for “free time.” You don’t have to go to great lengths to plan an over-the-top virtual party for your family. Set up a zoom call and let everyone enjoy time to “mingle” and converse with each other naturally.
- Participate in a local food drive. Holidays are a time for giving, and 2020 has been extraordinarily difficult for many families who have faced unemployment, uncertainty, and the loss of loved ones. Research local charities and food banks so you can donate food and toys to those who really need the extra help this season.
- Consider the risks. If you are going to meet in person with loved ones, consider the risks involved and take the necessary precautions. Per the CDC, it’s advisable to consider the rate of COVID cases in the community where the event will be held, as well as from the areas where guests will be attending from. You can check out their guidelines and suggestions here: Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings.
LR-J Health Solutions Wishes You a Healthy and Safe Holiday Season
No matter what this season looks like for you, at LR-J, we hope you focus on staying healthy and happy. Licensed in both California and Arizona, LR-J is proud to serve all communities in both states – we are confident that we can collectively overcome this challenge and are committed to doing our part to keeping our communities healthy and protected. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your healthcare options; we can also be reached via phone at 480.779.8253 or via email – [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!