By the time you read this my family will have already celebrated Thanksgiving dinner together.
Our family couldn’t all be together on Thursday, Nov. 22, so we celebrated early. This might have seemed strange to me at an earlier time in my life but now it makes perfect sense. Thanksgiving is a time to express our gratitude for all of our blessings.
Two of our three greatest blessings happen to live in different states now. To adjust to this reality, we decided to create a new tradition of celebrating the holidays whenever we could all be together instead of lamenting our separation on a designated day.
Many families experience additional stress during the holidays as they try to juggle multiple schedules to get everyone together at one time. This year, let’s take a different approach to the holidays and focus on how we can share these special times even if we aren’t physically together.
You might be a couple who alternates spending the holidays with each other’s extended family, or you might have a loved one serving in the military or one who lives in another part of the country. Maybe money is tight and you can’t travel as you have in the past.
Here are some simple suggestions to create memories with those family members you can’t be with during the holidays:
- Phone calls are an obvious point of contact. Put the phone on speaker so everyone can share in the conversation. If there is a song that has special meaning to your family, play it while you are all on the phone and enjoy it together.
- Mail might be an old-school communication style but there is still something very special about receiving a personal note or card from someone you love. Don’t underestimate the impact of a hand-written note.
- Taking advantage of technology makes staying connected even easier. There are e-mails, instant messaging and digital cameras to name a few helpful tools. My personal favorite is the use of web cams for live visits.
- Make a pact with your loved ones that you will all volunteer on the same day to help people less fortunate in your own community. Share with each other your experiences.
It is important to remember that whatever changes your family is going through during the holidays you are all going through them together. If you work together and support each other you will all have a more memorable holiday season.
Mrs. Christiana is coordinator of the diocesan Marriage Preparation and Enrichment Office.