5 ways to get into the holiday spirit

What will your holiday look like this year? For many seniors across Canada, the answer may well be “different.” The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us apart from family and friends, yet it’s also prompting us to come up with creative ways to celebrate cherished traditions and take part in the holiday activities we love.

Here are five senior-friendly ways to keep your holidays full of cheer:

  1. Watch a virtual performance of The Nutcracker
    The Nutcracker ballet is a time-honoured festive tradition, with many senior devotees now taking their grandchildren to performances. This year you can watch it free online. Bardavon, an American not-for-profit heritage theatre organization, is streaming the New York City Ballet’s performance on YouTube between December 24 and January 1, 2021.

  2. Host a “Gratitude Gathering”
    Because it’s been such a difficult year, the holiday season is the perfect time to find the silver lining in challenging times. If you are tech savvy, host a family video chat—or ask your family or staff at your seniors’ residence for help in setting up a group chat. Have everyone come prepared to talk about what they’re thankful for this year. You can branch off from there, asking what favourite activities, shows or foods have helped your loved ones get through this time.

  3. Create a memory book or album
    The holidays can bring back many good memories of times past. Why not create your own memory book to document your festive traditions and holidays in words and pictures? All you need is a scrapbook and your photo collection. You can add written or recorded anecdotes or stories, as well as recipes, drawings, cards, and anything else that represents the holidays to you.

  4. Enjoy a little festive (competitive) spirit
    If you live in a retirement residence or can get together virtually with friends and/or family, it’s always fun to get into the holiday spirit through a little friendly competition. Host an “ugly holiday sweater” contest, in which everyone finds (or embellishes) a gaudy, funny, or outrageous festive sweater, hat or even a face mask. Or hold a cookie decorating contest; buy or make sugar or gingerbread cookies and have fun with icing, candies and chocolate chips.

  5. Help others
    The holidays are all about giving, and giving back is one of the best ways to feel a true and meaningful sense of the seasonal spirit. If you are a knitter, can you make blankets or hats for babies in the neo-natal unit of your local hospital? Perhaps you can you sew face masks for friends or essential workers? Although in-person volunteering may be off the table for now, contact your local community organizations and charities to see how you can help.