Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this holiday season is going to be different than last year. According to KFF, as many as one in three people in the United States have reported increased symptoms of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to just one in ten at this same time last year.
Considering that these numbers were from May-July and were increasing as the months went on, it seems safe to say that this holiday season, it may be more difficult to get into the holiday spirit than it was last year. It’s important to find ways to have your own celebration for the Christmas holiday to keep your mind in a good place.
Psychologist Steve McKeown says that the earlier you put up your Christmas decorations, the more likely it is that you’re a happy person. So, the magic of Christmas may just be the next step to getting out of that COVID-19 blues. The reason decorating for Christmastime makes you happy, according to McKeown, is that it reminds us of the holiday cheer we experienced during the Christmases of our childhood.
The Christmas holidays are a great time to try to make the best of this wonderful time of the year despite the stress of masking, social distancing, and COVID-19 raging through the U.S. Check out the following tips for spreading holiday cheer this holiday season.
1. Send out Christmas cards or holiday cards.
Are you from a family of “anti-maskers”? Then it may be best to send seasons greetings cards instead of visiting this year. Sending season’s greeting cards with Shutterfly is the perfect way to send season’s greetings and warm wishes to your loved ones and stay safe. Whether it’s Hanukkah cards, Christmas cards, New Year’s cards, Kwanzaa cards, or cards to wish everyone happy holidays, Shutterfly has perfect season’s greetings cards for you.
Bonus tip: since Shutterfly is probably the best place for personalized holiday cards, consider adding pictures of the good moments of 2020 to remind everyone that life is still full of warmth and gratitude.
2. Give the gift of hearing.
Do you know someone experiencing hearing loss and/or tinnitus? Make their holiday wish to hear properly come true by getting them an appointment with an audiologist through Hearing Health USA. By helping your loved one find a possible cure for tinnitus (or, at least an effective treatment plan to lessen the symptoms of tinnitus), you can give them hope for better hearing.
At the appointment, your loved one will receive a thorough hearing test and be asked about their medical history as tinnitus research has shown a link to triggers for tinnitus with certain medical conditions and medications (such as medications for balance disorders or the over-the-counter medication aspirin). Or there could be a link if your loved one has experienced a neck or head injury in their past.
If your loved one’s auditory system has been damaged to the point of experiencing hearing loss, then a hearing aid may be needed as a treatment of tinnitus. Other treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy, sound therapy, tinnitus maskers, and other types of behavioral therapy for stress management and biofeedback.
Bonus tip: since overexposure to loud noise is the most common cause of tinnitus, gifting noise-canceling headphones to prevent further issues with tinnitus is a good last-minute present.
3. Consider a Christmas vacation.
Finding the ideal place to spend the holiday will depend on what you’re looking for in destinations for a vacation over Christmas. For example, do you require a white Christmas? Are you looking for somewhere fun for the whole family or just a couple’s retreat?
There aren’t a lot of places in the U.S. better for a winter wonderland than New York City where you can take a sleigh ride through Central Park and see the whole city of New York lit up and blanketed in snow. Plus, let’s be honest — New Year’s Eve in New York is just epic. However, crowds are always an issue in NYC so be wary of this Christmas getaway considering the pandemic.
For the best Christmas vacations that are more isolated consider looking into places that offer things such as a festival of lights, personal cabins, and accommodations for safety protocols. Maybe look into ski resorts or plan a quick day trip somewhere special.
Important Note: Be sure to follow all the protocols outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including when to get a COVID-19 test and look into travel restrictions for your destination ahead of time.
4. Do something that’s a lot of fun.
Whether it’s taking a stroll to see Christmas lights, decorating the Christmas tree, having some hot chocolate by the fireplace, going sledding, watching Christmas movies like “The Grinch”, building snowmen, baking cookies for Santa Claus, or having a Christmas feast with your family, it’s important to find ways to enjoy the winter season to optimize your quality of life. The winter months can be difficult, it’s important to find relaxation techniques to cope. If you’re not in a great place, remember that counseling and looking into treatment options if you’ve been struggling with your mental health is always a good idea.