As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, keep these key suggestions in mind.
Since COVID-19 burst into our world, we’ve been dealing with much more uncertainty than we’re used to. This might mean we’re less organized than usual in our Christmas preparations.
Making decisions in this sea of doubt is a bit difficult—what social distancing measures, commercial shutdowns, etc., will we be dealing with?—but we can take into account some well-established important safety measures:
- A drastic reduction in the number of people at our celebrations
- Taking extra precautions when together
- Engaging in fewer Christmas activities outside the home (parties, concerts, etc.) and doing more special things at home as a family instead
If anything is going to be contagious in our households this holiday season, let’s make it be nothing but love, good humor, solidarity, positivity, and kindness.
Besides these three basic measures for a healthy Christmas, we can ask ourselves the following question: How are we going to organize our activities?
Organization will help us relax and enjoy
Being organized at home is key to achieving a basic level of peace and calm during the holidays. Our celebrations will be different this year, but they need be no less meaningful and joyful.
The whole family (especially both spouses) should be involved in organizing festivities, and our plans should be open and flexible. Once we have guidelines and a plan to follow, it clears our heads so we can deal with unexpected changes. Everything is easier!
12 ideas for better organization
To make it easier to prepare for this Christmas in a pandemic season, I’ve collected 12 suggestions that will help us achieve the kind of safe and family-centered environment we all hope for this year.
1Entrust yourself to Mary
If anyone had a Christmas full of unexpected events and discomfort, it was Mary. She even received unexpected visitors, including the shepherds. Let’s not lose sight of her guidance this holiday season. Let’s make her our guest of honor!
2Paper and pen
Get a notebook with different colored sheets or tabs. Assign a color or section to each of the different categories requiring organization: menus, gifts, plans … Or if you’re more digitally oriented, use an organization app. There are many note-taking and list-making apps that allow you to share your lists with family and friends, which can be helpful for planning.
3Plan out a calendar
Highlight the important dates, which include Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Include things such as grocery shopping, deadlines for gift shopping, and so on.
4Communicate in advance
Call or text the people who will be hosting family gatherings to find out ahead of time what they plan to do. It’s also a good idea to organize a family video call. The idea is to make sure everyone is on the same page about things like dates and times, health precautions, and which celebrations will be held together or separately.
5Make a to-do list
When you are clear about which days you’re in charge of an event (whether it only involves your household, or other family or friends), it’s time to go over the tasks. Divide and delegate tasks, and you’ll conquer.
6Prepare the menus
Come up with a simple menu but one that’s a crowd-pleaser. Don’t make it too complicated (unless you’re an extraordinary cook and want to show off!). Remember to buy groceries in advance so that you can find better deals and go to the supermarket at less crowded times.
7Make a gift list
If you’re buying gifts, make it easy for yourself by finding out what the recipient wants. You can ask them directly, or ask one of their close family members or friends.
Take advantage of online shopping to avoid going to malls, or buy from a local small business that’s likely to be less crowded and to need your business even more than big companies with deep pockets.
Don’t forget the gifts that aren’t the kind you can wrap: actions and attitudes that make spending time together pleasant for everyone.
8Prepare the table
First of all, you should take the table settings you use for special occasions out of the cupboard and make sure they’re complete, clean, and enough for everyone.
Then, cover your table with your best tablecloth and place a Christmas decoration in the center. But don’t forget something else that’s essential this Christmas: Keep the appropriate distance between diners if they are not living under the same roof. It can also be a good idea to prepare a disinfectant kit for each guest.
Make a list of Christmas activities for all ages that you can do at home. This could include watching a movie with popcorn, baking and decorating cookies, donating toys to a local charity, or supporting a local food bank. Let simplicity and generosity be your goals.
10Stock your pantry
Keep a good assortment of drinks and Christmas cookies or other treats in a cabinet in the kitchen. This year, it seems that the smartest plan will be to have few visits of a brief duration. Visits should be short but sweet.
11Prepare your entryway
Turn the entrance of your house into a “disinfection zone” for when you or guests come in from the street. Prepare a basic kit containing a disinfectant spray, sanitizing gel and spare masks. What about winter coats, hats and scarves? For the appointed day, place a hanger in a ventilated area.
12Pray in the evening
Turn off the main lights, and only turn on the lights in the Nativity scene and your Christmas tree. Alone or with your family, in the presence of the Lord, thank Him for how your day went. Imagine that you are one of the figures in the scene, and kneel down in your heart next to the manger to venerate the real Gift of Christmas.
No pandemic can extinguish the light of Christmas!: Pope Francis
COVID-19 can’t stop Christmas