Getting creative with the Holidays this Year

Amy Keslinke by Amy Keslinke Additional Needs

Amy Keslinke

Amy Keslinke

Amy is mom to 2 small children, one with developmental delays, hearing loss, and a congenital heart defect. She writes at

We’ve probably all come to the realization by now that the holidays this year are going to look different than they have in the past.

Different, however, doesn’t mean the holidays can’t be the joyful, fun events that make them something so many people look forward to.

I’ve got three tips to help you make the most of the holidays this year, no matter your circumstances.

First, start by naming what is important to you and your family.

We have done this in “normal” years (at the suggestion of one of my favorite podcasts, The Lazy Genius), and it’s incredibly helpful. The holidays can be a crazy time with lots of invitations and plans, so naming what is important to you long before the busy season begins can help you pick and choose how you’ll spend your limited time.

For us, one of our big priorities has been to have a lazy Christmas morning with just the four of us.

While that shouldn’t be a problem this particular year, having that priority identified long before we started talking with family about plans helped us know what to say no to so we could protect that time that was (and is) so important to us.

Once you’ve got your three (or so) priorities named, you can start to get creative about how to make those things happen. Maybe one of your priorities is a big white elephant exchange or seeing extended family.

When you know those are on your short list of priorities, you can start to think outside of the box as far as how to do them via Zoom, some creative outdoor gathering space, or some other way to create those things that mean the most to you.

Then, remember to keep it simple.

More than most times of year, the holidays tend to become over-the-top.

We try to do all-the-things and do them in the best, fanciest, most exciting ways. In any year, but especially a challenging year such as this, remember to keep it simple.

Outlining your priorities first is so helpful when it comes to keeping it simple, because it helps you define what you can (and should) say “no” to.

For some reason, we tend to say yes to every invitation and gift exchange and end up completely drained before the big day even rolls around.

Make sure, though, to keep your priorities simple too.

If you have a page of holiday priorities, you’re not going to be able to honor each of them.

Keep your priority list down to about three to avoid overwhelm and allow yourself the space to really enjoy them all.

Finally, set boundaries.

The holidays, more than any other time of year, tend to be a time when we feel like we have to be everything to everyone.

Use your holiday priorities to help you set boundaries. If something doesn’t fit into your priorities, don’t feel bad about saying no or changing the plan.

When we try to be everything to everyone, we actually end up ruining a lot of the fun for ourselves.

In my family, we also find it helpful to define our COVID-guidelines before we are asked.

For us, we stick to outdoor gatherings with almost everyone, and we have one family who is about as socially-distanced as we are that we agree to get together indoors with.

Since our guidelines are the same for everyone, we are able to set an objective boundary without hurting feelings and making people feel like we are leaving them out.

When you take some time before the holidays begin to do a little planning and groundwork to keep your focus on what’s important to you and your family, you’ll notice that your holidays feel much more free and fun.

And, isn’t that what it’s all about?


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