2020 has been quite a year! The Covid-19 global pandemic has changed our world in more ways than one. Most holiday seasons are filled with travel, celebrations with family and friends, visiting loved ones, and social gatherings. This holiday season will be marked by the coronavirus. Many children and adults will be disappointed this holiday season because they are unable to travel to loved ones and celebrate with family and friends.

CDC Risk Levels

Celebrating with members of your own household who are following the CDC recommended COVID-19 guidelines poses the lowest risk for spread. For family members outside of your household consider celebrating virtually through video calls. Gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk depending on what precautions are taken. If you are gathering with people outside your household the CDC recommends mask wearing and meeting outside whenever possible.

According to the CDC, some people should not participate in or host in-person gatherings.

  • Anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Anyone at an increased risk for severe illness
  • Any older adults or people with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or if live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness

COVID-19:  Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings

Family Discussions

It is important to have honest conversations with your children about your disappointment this year. They may look forward to gathering with relatives and friends but that may not be a possibility this year for many families. Really listen to them and validate their feelings. Don’t be afraid to express your own feelings. Talking about expectations ahead of time can help children come to terms with the fact that this year is different than years past. This will give them time to process everything before the time comes.

Focus on the Positive

Discuss new ways you could celebrate with your immediate family or those in your household and how you could make this holiday season special despite the limitations. Brainstorm with your children what holiday traditions you can still do together. For example, families can decorate together and prepare a special meal. Appreciate this time to relax and focus on your children.

Recommendations By Age

  • For children ages 0 to 3 focus on quality time with them and your family. These children will not be able to remember the details of this holiday season in the future.
  • For children ages 4-6 create new holiday traditions with your immediate family. Try to be understanding of their disappointment in not being able to see family and friends as they did in previous years. Emphasize the positives of the situation and demonstrate this for them. Consider doing video chats with family and friends if in-person gatherings are not an option.
  • For children ages 7-12 empathize with them and listen to and validate their feelings of disappointment. They will likely remember years past when the holiday season was much different. Ask them for their input of how you can make this holiday season more fun.
  • For teens, be a listening ear and ask them to share their honest feelings. Many will miss seeing friends during this time. Encourage them to participate in socially distanced activities with friends.

Stay Positive this Holiday Season

This is a difficult time for all of us. Give yourself and your children grace to feel disappointed and try to make the most out of this holiday season. Appreciate this time to focus on your immediate family or those who live in your household.

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