Tips for Celebrating the Holidays When You Can't be with Your Older Loved Ones

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Tips for Celebrating the Holidays When You Can't be with Your Older Loved Ones


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Tips for Celebrating the Holidays When You Cant be with Your Older Loved Ones

While it’s already difficult for some people to be with their older loved ones during the holidays, this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be a reality for many more people. 

If you aren’t able to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones in person this year, don’t despair. There are many ways you can bring the seasonal joy you’re used to experiencing, even if it looks a little different this year.

Here are some of Marjorie P. Lee’s best tips for celebrating the holidays, even if you can’t be together.

A Caregiver's Guide to the 2020 Holiday Season

1. Plan More Calls and Video Chats than Usual

Throughout the pandemic this year, you’ve likely gotten pretty good at chatting and video calling with your senior loved ones. Whether you’ve created a monthly or weekly schedule or something completely different, consider increasing your frequency during the holidays. They’d love to hear from you more often, and you can bring them into your holiday celebrations. If you decorate your home for Christmas, for example, try to schedule a video call with your loved ones to show them your beautifully decorated winter wonderland.

2. Make Holiday Treats Together - Virtually

Yummy holiday treats are often a crucial part of holiday celebrations for many families. If you’re making Grandma’s cookie recipe this year, consider calling her while you’re making it. She might be able to give you some extra tips to make sure they come out just the way they would if she made them! Or, if your loved ones have access to a full kitchen, too, you can each make the recipe. Then, enjoy your finished product with a nice warm beverage and chat about your favorite holiday memories.

3. Deliver Holiday Meals & Treats

Depending on where your loved ones are and whether you’re local to them, this may or may not be possible. Some retirement communities have limits on dropped-off items at the moment, but if you can bring treats to your loved one, consider doing so. Whether you want to share a plate of Christmas cookies or some of your Christmas Day feast, getting some of your goodies to them can help everyone feel a bit more involved this holiday season.

4. Find & Recommend Church Services

If your older loved ones enjoy church services — especially around the holidays — make sure they can access those, if at all possible. Even if it’s not a good idea for them to attend in person, many places of worship are streaming or recording their services this year. Do some research, find a good option for your loved one, and then explain how to access it. If you’d like, you can even watch at the same time as them to give them a greater sense of community.

5. Tune in to Live-Streamed Holiday Events

Are there any local holiday light shows your family loves to see? There might be a virtual option this year! 

Do some research to find any fun holiday celebrations that will be on TV or online. For example, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will look a little different this year, but there will still be performances, as a sampling from The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet. Consider watching these “together” while on a video call with your loved ones so you can chat about them as they occur.

Caregiving and celebrating the holidays look a little different in 2020. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t all still have a memorable time this holiday season! As has been the case throughout this year because of COVID-19, video calls are of the utmost importance and can make everyone feel a little bit closer. No matter how you celebrate with your loved ones this year, remember that spending time together — even if it’s virtually — is the most memorable part of the season.


Kristin Davenport
November 24, 2020
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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