6 min read
Get Ready to Survive and Thrive During the (Virtual) Holiday Season
What if you could turn 2020 around in these last weeks of this year by creating a virtual winter wonderland?
While it may seem impossible to survive and thrive this holiday season—especially with a pandemic or if you’ve recently gone through a divorce—give us (and yourself) a chance to see that it’s totally possible.
You’ve probably heard people say how upset they are that they can’t visit family or friends in person during the holidays due to restrictions. In fact, many people, maybe just like you, are dealing with their first uncoupled or solo holiday season because of a divorce or separation.
Although statistics may vary, it appears the divorce rate in the U.S. during COVID-19 will increase by a minimum of 10% and possibly by as much as 25 percent. This stems from a mixture of friction during quarantine and the inevitable arguments over bills when people are losing their jobs at record rates.
For a year that has really kicked everyone globally in some way, it’s important you reach out to those who are important to you—and who make you feel better about the world. This is especially true for your children, especially if you don’t get to see them every day due to a child custody or parenting time agreement.
While celebrations may look different this year, getting back a little normalcy by “visiting” with friends and family is a sure prescription for lifting your mood.
Celebrate With All Your Family and Friends
Every year, you must decide which set of family or friends you’ll visit—and we all know that coordinating plans to see everyone can be stressful. This year, change things up and see everyone!
You can virtually “meet” everyone online in several different ways: Video chat tools such as Zoom or Skype, Facebook Live, Google Meet and more are popular choices. Send out a festive evite and get everyone together on a Zoom call to sip hot chocolate and catch up!
A great advantage of virtual holiday meetups is that you can do all of this visiting while sitting in your pajamas. And think of the savings! Even if your family lives within driving distance, you could potentially spend a lot of gas money. If they aren’t nearby, you’re saving the cost of an airline ticket!
This year, you’ll get to see everyone.
Tips for Gathering Everyone Together to Enjoy Celebrating Online
This year, lots of people and companies aren’t ditching holiday gatherings: They’re staying in the spirit of the season by moving these parties online. You can plan to do the same, with your Santa hat and bells on.
Check out these tips if you want to organize a meaningful holiday celebration:
1. Check with everyone before the scheduled date and time. Make sure everyone has equipment to join and knows what platform you’re using. Work out any bugs they may have ahead of time.
2. Begin thinking like a TV host. Get important info from each guest so if there’s an awkward silence or lull, you can announce accomplishments or happy news so everyone can celebrate.
3. Create an agenda. Let everyone know as they join what the agenda is. Just like at a real-life party, no one wants to stay at a boring online “party.”
4. Create a theme. Have guests wear or bring items that are theme related. Make Christmas cookies or cocktails from the same recipe together. Have a carol sing-off. Hold an Ugly Sweater contest. Organize a talent show. You can even set up a special appearance from Santa.
5. Set up a game so everyone can join in the fun. Need inspiration? Take a page from Kevin Hart’s Celebrity Game Face. You can also consider playing one of the popular Jackbox Party Games to liven things up.
What If You’re Celebrating the Holidays Alone for the First Time?
A lot of people experience depression during the holidays due to the hectic nature of the celebrations and the feeling of isolation and loneliness. This can be compounded with quarantining or as a result of divorce and separation.
Consider these tips if this is your first year facing the holidays alone:
1. It’s important to be patient and flexible. Remember that your focus needs to be on the kids and their wellbeing. Kids don’t care whether Christmas or Hanukkah is celebrated on the actual day or another one. They just care about being with you and having that connection. First, relax: If you aren’t able to see them on the exact holiday date, don’t sweat it. Instead, call your kids (or Skype if you can) and let them know you love them and you’ll celebrate the holiday with them soon.
2. Don’t overspend. Please remember that you can’t buy your children’s happiness. Divorce or separation has a huge impact on your finances. To maintain your pre-divorce lifestyle, you’d need a 30% salary increase. So, this is definitely not the right time to go crazy with credit cards. This is especially true when you realize that a second surge in COVID-19 could further impact the economy and cut back on your earnings.
3. Create new holiday traditions. When you do get to spend time with your kids, this is the perfect time to create new holiday traditions with them. Record holiday messages for their grandparents or other loved ones who may be shut in because of the pandemic. Make new food together or craft handmade 2020 ornaments. Turn your backyard into a “’winter wonderland” with tacky holiday lights and decorations. Whatever you choose, let the kids have some choice in it.
4. Focus on others. Another way to make this a memorable holiday is to put the focus on others. When you donate your time you have a better self-concept that can help you overcome any feelings of depression or guilt. With COVID-19 putting so many out of work, you might want to help by donating to a local food bank. It may not be safe to take part in a holiday soup kitchen because of social distancing, but you can still donate to the organization directly to support their work.
Want to Celebrate Safely With Your Co-Workers or Employees?
The holidays aren’t just about family. You don’t have to miss out on the holiday fun at work either. Give these great virtual ideas to your office manager or suggest these ideas as your co-workers will love catching up while having fun:
- Send out bonuses or gift sets to employees before the scheduled virtual holiday celebration.
- Do a white elephant or secret Santa gift exchange virtually.
- Schedule games such as a virtual scavenger hunt.
- Get that “in-office” feeling with your co-workers by creating your own Water Cooler Trivia.
- Recognize staff virtually. If holiday parties have traditionally recognized certain employees, continue the ceremony. If this is new to your company, suggest something akin to Michael Scott’s Dundie Awards. Should you need ideas for your own Dundie Awards, here’s a list of awards you can swipe.
Even though 2020 has been rough for everyone, it doesn’t mean that it has to ruin your holiday season. This year, you can regroup with virtual holiday visits, re-establish your relationships with your children after a divorce, and even bring some holiday cheer to your co-workers.
Contact the Compassionate Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Woodbury, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.