Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - My Holiday resolutions in the time of COVID

Long time readers may remember that I have published a "Sunday Before Thanksgiving" post for at least eleven years.  In it, I shared about the year I realized I had to enter the Holidays having written out what is most important to enjoy each year.  I will link to last year's post below but obviously while it has been updated through the years, it would have to have been tweaked too much for this Holiday season.

This year, we cannot go into places like restaurants and in the Midwest, it is now too cold to eat out of doors.  Crowds are either discouraged or illegal, according to where you live so no parties, no parades in many towns, and most large concerts and church activities are changed or cancelled.  

So far Thanksgiving dinner still looks like it will happen for us.  Our son and his family purchased a house in town and moved in completely over the weekend.  We are beyond happy to have them close again.  We will then celebrate the birthday of two year old Oliver a little late, Christopher's birthday just a few days late, and my daughter-in-law's birthday a little early.  I have something for four year old Piper so she does not feel left out, we both celebrate birthdays in July.

It was a favorite pastor on a video recently who reminded listeners that it is not only okay to be sad this year but grief is appropriate.  We are grieving the loss of what was normal in our world.  Some have lost loved ones, many have lost jobs, and almost everyone has lost their usual Holiday traditions.  At least those that range from difficult to impossible to accomplish.

Sometimes I honestly feel like I went to sleep one evening and woke up in a dystopian novel.   While there may be a resemblance, and we indeed have experienced a TEOTWAWKI event, most of us can go on with our day to day activities... no, we must go on with our day to day activities.

So, what does that mean for this Holiday season?  I've been pondering this a lot and what I have come to realize is that we need Christmas more this year than usual.  I need to give more thought to my plans after Thanksgiving but I do know some already that I hope to accomplish.

When I look at the list on the blog post from previous years, I realize many of them are no longer possible to do, long before COVID.  Some people are no longer with us, favorite places to eat with the family have closed, and I find the Food Channel has changed to where there are few shows I enjoy,  So, it is not with great sadness that I'm refocusing my Holiday list.

I'm breaking my long standing rule of not decorating until after Thanksgiving.  Instead, I plan to put up our small artificial tree early this next week and decorate it.  Then each day, a little at a time, I will bring out some more decorations.  Not everything perhaps, but those that mean a lot to me.

I will continue to light candles and sip hot beverages as I have been doing since the beginning of September but I will love sipping my first morning coffee to the light of the Christmas tree. A favorite tradition that costs nothing.

I also plan to dust off the Christmas music.  This year I need nostalgic music more than ever but there will be room for new favorites.  I even have some Christmas music YouTube videos that I have come to enjoy.  I hope they are still available.

I have a small collection of Christmas DVDs and they will be chosen one at a time to watch.  I started collecting the DVDs when many old favorite Christmas movies were no longer shown on television.  There are Christmas movies that play on TV from Hallmark to channels like Turner Classic Movies.  Some are good and some are... not.  

Although Christmas baking used to be for kids at home and close friends, today I still love to bake a little at a time.  I can no longer do those long cookie making marathons but I can bake a couple kinds of cookies for the freezer on days when having the oven on will feel lovely.  I can drop off packages of cookies... staying a good distance, of course... to people this year.

Except for Thanksgiving, I have decided this year Holiday meals will be simple.  Especially when it is just my husband and me at home.  Last Easter, I had already purchased everything for the meal when we realized we were not going to be able to have family over, so I made the meal for just both of us. It worked fine but I think having less dishes to wash would be a gift to myself. 

Most of all this Holiday Season... more than any other time in my life... I need to surround myself with those things which will draw me closer to the Lord.  After all, it is that time of year when even the world has to hear about His birth.  ;)

I'm still putting together books, music, and video that will serve this purpose.  Carefully.  Determined to walk this Season with Him because it is the only way I can find peace and joy.  I will let you know what I come up with.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving if you are an American and enjoy giving thanks wherever you live!  

Mentioned in this Blog Post

My annual Sunday Before Thanksgiving blog post from last year... here.

Image:  Autumn Rain (Blog readers told me the artist is John Sloane, I will have to check out his calendars.)


Judy said...

Thank you, as always, Brenda.

This Christmas I'm reminding myself that dear Mary and Joseph were living through inconvenience and turmoil, under a foreign government that had imposed a census that required travel during very late pregnancy. Jesus birth, whilst it was (and is) wonderfully good news, did not happen in the context of ease. For that very reason his coming was message of comfort and joyous hope.

Good wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving. And what happy news that your son and his family have moved close to you. That must be a great happiness for you.

Terra said...

I like how you take a look back at the year, each year, just before Thanksgiving. It is a rough year for all of us and yes, grief is appropriate. I have a lot to be thankful for, and even attended church today, outside. We can do that in California, the day was sunny. The church has outdoor heaters and a huge tent/awning for when needed. Like you, I aim to decorate for Christmas earlier this year, the tree always glows with joy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Margie from Toronto said...

So happy for you that your son and his family are now so close bye.

I think you have a wonderful plan for the holidays and that you are very wise to take things slowly and to simplify things this year.

Canadians had Thanksgiving in Oct. and, while I had planned a dinner with one other friend she was ill so I ended up dropping off dinner. We will try again for Christmas - she will do Christmas breakfast at her place and I will do dinner at mine. We live in the same apt. building and as singles we are allowed to stay within our bubble.

I have already brought up some Christmas decorations and will start putting out a few things this week and then I will write out my cards. I have already promised friends that I intend to throw a "Christmas in July" party once we've all had our vaccines.

Best wishes for a joyful Thanksgiving.

ellen b. said...

So many folks are starting Christmas early this year. All the Hallmark Christmas movies might be contributing to that along with wanting Covid to be behind us. My thoughts more and more are to dig more dig deeper into God's Word, The Truth, The Bible. How wonderful that your son has moved close by. Enjoy your celebrations!

Vee said...

Lots to ponder this year for sure. I hope that it's okay to feel profoundly sad because I do. My family will be joining me for Thanksgiving... my son and his wife and his boys and my daughter. I have had happy times getting ready for Thanksgiving, yet...

This is the first year ever that I am not feeling Christmas at all. This strikes me as odd because so many are needing Christmas more than ever...decorating early. Each of us is different so I am just leaving these feelings with The Lord. If my tree is up and decorated next weekend as per usual, I will be shocked. ☺️

So glad that your son and daughter-in-law have bought a home nearer to you. Those grands grow so fast. I don't know what I'd do if my son were not in town. He is very helpful, though I try not to bother him any more than is absolutely necessary. It's just that sometimes it is.

Have a blessed week...

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I loved the painting at the top of your post. That little house looks so cozy. Do you know who painted it?

My husband and I are isolating for Thanksgiving, but will still have a delicious Thanksgiving meal. We will visit with our family and children via Zoo, or telephone.
I can tough it out for Thanksgiving, Christmas will be more difficult.

Deanna Rabe said...

It’s so important to celebrate the Reason for the Season! So glad your sons’ family is back in town!

Marge said...

A few weeks ago I was dreading the upcoming holidays. Nothing would be the same...and I like my traditions! But I have slowly come around. Minnesota has been experiencing a huge spike in cases, and members of our immediate family have, and are, suffering. It seems all are recovering, and we pray for a return to normalcy. Therefore, I am more thankful than ever! It will be a wonderful Thanksgiving! Certainly different than last 7 kids, spouses, 18 grandkids, many with spouses, and 14 great grandkids, one who is only 4 weeks old and who we have not seen, will gather together as is the norm. But if everyone is healthy and happy, we will say our prayers of Thanksgiving and look forward to the time we can be together. I am making the whole turkey dinner with all the trimmings for just hubby and me, and we will get through it. Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving!

Dana said...

Thank you for another lovely post. We need Christmas more this year than usual. Yes! Simple pleasures... and deep joy in the true meaning of Christmas, the incarnation. Just a friendly correction. The wonderful image that you used is named "Gathering" by John Sloane. It is on the calendar hanging in my kitchen right now. I find it very comforting and cozy. I am a big "fan" of John Sloane's art work.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post as always. Beautiful cozy little house in your header.
Please check your email—sent note. Thank you. Blessings, Sharon D

Anonymous said...

Love the sentiments in this post reminding of our need to celebrate Christmas - and the reason for Christmas, Christ Jesus Himself - maybe now more than ever! I also love the picture at the top of the post ... I thought I recognized it! It's the November scene on my John Sloane "country seasons" calendar hanging on my kitchen wall. Susie@persimmon moon cottage, hope that helps! (-:
-Joy said...

It certainly is wonderful news that your son and family have moved closer to you again!
I agree about the food channel not having many shows now that are worth watching, too many competition type of shows. I did however record many of the old shows and watch them again to get ideas. A particular one of Thanksgiving leftovers was so nice to watch as they did a day after Thanksgiving with their activities and then the ease of leftovers to eat and enjoy each other. We will eventually get back to being together in the future. We have hope.
Yes, a lovely photo on your header, I've done a few puzzles that look like that. Thank you for continuing to share with us.

Marie said...

Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful posts. I feel as though I've had a visit with a friend. :) So glad your son and his family will be close by! What a gift to you!