“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs 

as to what those events mean.” 

~Tony Robbins

2020 Holidays will likely look different this year.

As we approach what many call the ‘first’ traditional American holiday of the Fall/Winter season, our thoughts are likely around what we will do to celebrate. As a parent of a child with special abilities, you might have struggled with the traditional ‘Trick or Treat’ activities of October 31st. When I was a practicing Behavioral Therapist, I recall numerous times of working with children whose parents just wanted them to go out with the family and stick out their bag or pumpkin for some treats. Few expected the words “Trick or Treat” or the wearing of some costume that was probably itchy or just not going to happen. They just wanted the experience and memory of the evening as a family—warm apple cider (Gluten-free version) and maybe a neighborhood gathering.

As Robbins’ quote reminds us, it isn’t the doing of the thing, but what it means to us that quietly motivates our desire to keep them present.

With so much giving up of events that we have gone through this year, it might be even more vital to find a way to keep your upcoming family tradition alive and well this season. Indeed, it will be quieter, but that is a plus for many special abilities families. The slower, more predictable, and conscientious opportunities you can create this year might just be even more meaningful and memorable for your family. 

But what are some of the fundamental beliefs we can keep in mind as we plan our upcoming ‘Pandemic Holidays’?

Here is a list of four thoughts that can help you bring added vitality and definition to your planning and production. As you read them, I am confident that you will know they are not that mindblowing or difficult. These are simple reminders of parts of your life that never change and can support all of your favorite traditions.

First, revisit your values.

Family, creativity, knowledge, fun, service… What do you find important in life? Our values cement our understanding of who we are and what we want. They lead us to the people and opportunities that fill our lives with meaning and joy. Remember these as you look to find ways to celebrate and observe traditions this season. These will remain long after the last bag of trash is taken out, and the lights go off.

Second, use this time to reconnect with loved ones old and new.

We all enrich the lives of others. Our people give us memories and share laughs with us. They pick us up when we’re down, point us forward when we’re looking backward, and remind us of what’s important when we’ve forgotten. They’ll help us through this crisis.

The urgency of the current climate can give us a nudge to reintroduce ourselves to our family and friends. We can discuss the things that matter to us. Connect on a deeper level, since, for many, emotions are close to the surface. It’s okay if we needed the extra push to reconnect. Use the holidays as the nudge you need.

Third, engage in meaningful activities.

Our lives are more limited, and we can’t always control what we have access to. Because time and access are a factor, engage in meaningful activities. The holidays can become a flurry of busyness and added stress. This year, use the pared-down options as a way to find what is most valuable in your traditions and make them the centerpiece of your activities. Who knows, it just may change the way you face holidays forever.

Lastly, use this year to recreate milestones and events.

Many things may be canceled, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the crucial moments in our lives. They can still mean something even if they don’t happen normally. Maybe you have a “Silliest Halloween Ever” 2020 gathering or an online bobbing for apples. Build a social media page where you and your connections can share their carved pumpkins and choose a winner. Never have we ever been given such an opportunity to be creative and just be present in the season. Let’s not take it for granted, and never allow the challenge of this year to dampen or diminish their meaning in our lives. 

Meet Joy!

Joy is originally from the Central Valley of California, where she was raised on a farm and discovered her love for growing things. As the mother of a blended family of 7 adults and the grandmother of 9, she's learned many lessons about supporting the growth of people.

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