I can’t believe today is Day 18 and Christmas is just a week away. I continue coming up with ways we can celebrate Christmas together, apart, since so many of us won’t be with family and friends this year due to Covid-19. I hope you will add your comments on my Facebook page to let me know if you have any suggestions.
The activity for Day 18 is to nurture your inner child. You have a strong innocent, fun-loving, feeling part of you that lives deep inside you and needs to be acknowledged, nurtured, and validated. Especially since you’re living in a pandemic and stress is high, it’s really important to take care of your inner child.
How do you do that? It’s different for everyone. Here are a few suggestions, but you will know what works best for you.
snuggle a doll or a stuffed animal or a blanket and feel like you’re hugging something
build a fort in the middle of your den and sit inside of it for a while
watch a children’s movie or read a children’s book
There are lots of options for nurturing your inner child, and it really is important not to neglect that part of you. Have fun and be creative as you nurture your inner child.
The affirmation for Day 18 is “I acknowledge, nurture, and validate my inner child.”
As Day 25 draws closer and closer, the activity I chose for today is to set boundaries. Setting boundaries and saying no when you need to seems really important right now as Covid continues to spread. Today I was coaching a client who was invited to a friend’s for Christmas dinner and didn’t feel comfortable going. However, she was struggling with how to say no.
Saying no is perfectly okay, and you are not obligated to make excuses to others. Simply saying no is a healthy way to set boundaries and take care of yourself. The pleaser part that lives inside wants so badly to say yes in order to be liked by others, but then the regrets begin when you hang up the phone and are mad at yourself for saying yes.
You are not obligated to say yes just to please someone else. One way I have learned to deal with setting boundaries is to tell the person, “Let me think about that and get back with you” which gives you time to decide if it’s really something you want to say yes to or not.
Practicing with a couple of friends is really helpful as you learn to set boundaries. Saying no becomes easier the more often you do it. For a Christmas gift, give yourself permission to say no when you really want to say no.
The affirmation for Day 17 is “I take care of myself and say no when I want to.”
Day 16 is already here, and the challenge for today is to begin to make your plans for Christmas Day. If you spend the day with family and friends most years, this year may be very different.
Waking up on Christmas morning and not having any plans for yourself will most likely be a big letdown. Having a plan in place can help prevent grief, loneliness, and any depression that you may feel.
What sounds like fun to you? Cooking your favorite Christmas fare and eating on your china with a friend on Zoom might appeal to you, or maybe you want to eat pizza on a paper plate and stay in your flannel pajamas while you eat on Zoom with a friend. Perhaps you want a quiet day alone and want to read while enjoying some hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music.
What you plan to do isn’t nearly as important as simply having a plan. Be sure you know ahead of time how you want to spend the day.
The affirmation for Day 16 is “I take care of myself by planning my days ahead of time.”
Today is Day 15, and the activity for today as we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, is one that was suggested to me by a friend. Her idea is to dig up a couple of your favorite recipes that you like to make each year, even if you don’t plan to cook or won’t be sharing a Christmas meal with others.
Her idea is to think about the recipe and where you first tasted it, or where you were when you first asked for the recipe from someone, or when you first used the recipe. Think about the friends and family you’ve shared it with and what was special about it. Perhaps you have special cookies you like to make and decorate each year or maybe you like to bake and give gifts from your kitchen to others.
Holding on to memories through sharing recipes with others is an important way to feel more special at Christmas. My friend suggested having a Zoom meeting with a few other friends and exchanging your favorite recipes so you all have more to choose from next year.
I hope you have fun going through some of your favorites. One of my favorites is one I just discovered a few years ago as I was looking for a recipe to use up some eggnog that was about to expire. I found a recipe for Eggnog Bread which is a quick bread and is light and fluffy. I added some cranberries to one of the loaves and my family enjoyed it on Christmas morning.
Please consider sharing your favorite recipe on your Facebook page or on my page and most definitely share it with your friends.
The affirmation for Day 15 is “I treasure my memories with family and friends.”
As we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, the activity for Day 14 is going to be a good one to do with children in your life. You will also like it if you’re creative and somewhat artistic.
I’d like you to use a sheet of paper and draw a big star on it, or if you think you’d like to hang the star on your Christmas tree, you might want to draw several smaller stars.
Think about a few of your best qualities, characteristics, or things you like about yourself, and write them in the points of the stars. You will need at least five of your best traits in order to fill all five points of the star. Then decorate the star with glitter or add some designs to it and hang it on your tree to remind you of how special you are.
This exercise is a good one to do in person or on Zoom with kids, as they need to be able to identify and own their good qualities. Share your star with them and ask them to tell you about theirs or to send you a picture of it. Validating yourself is important especially if you’re isolated more than usual because of the pandemic and aren’t receiving validation from others.
The affirmation for Day 14 is “I am unique and special.”
As we continue to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, I want to thank you for sharing your stories with me. Hearing about how you’re taking part in some of these activities with friends and family is encouraging to me, and I also appreciate those of you who are sending me suggestions to use for my 25 Days series.
For Day 13 of the 25 Days, your activity is to think about a Christmas that was special to you. You may think about it, write about it, make a video telling about it, or call up someone who shared that special Christmas with you to tell them about it.
Think about some of these questions as you remember that special Christmas. What about that Christmas was special? Was it the people with you? Was it the location? Was it where you were in your life emotionally that year? Was it a particular event that made the day special? Was it just a feeling you had? Maybe you felt loved or cared for? Maybe you showed care to someone who needed to feel cared for or accepted and that made your Christmas special.
I encourage you to share your Christmas story. Special days need to be celebrated and remembered. Of course, not everyone can remember a special Christmas because you haven’t had one. If you have not, write about what would make your Christmas special.
The affirmation for Day 13 is “I remember and celebrate special moments.”
I continue to present you with activities and ideas to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, and I appreciate those of you who are letting me know that you’re participating. I’ve learned from you about new movies and new Christmas poems and other things as you have taken part in this effort.
The activity for Day 12 is to do a little research about the holidays other than Christmas that are celebrated during December. I celebrate Christmas as a Christian, and other holidays during December include Diwali, Los Posadas, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and the Winter Solstice. Check out some of these and other holidays celebrated during December and learn about them and the culture of those who celebrate them.
The other part of the activity for Day 12 is to take a little time to reflect on how you’re feeling. Are you weary, depressed, or sad about not celebrating with friends and family? If you need to reach out to someone to talk, do so. It always helps to have support from others.
Rest a little on Day 12, learn about the December holidays, and check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling. Also, check in with your friends and family members to see how thery’re doing. Reaching out will be good for you and good for the other person as well.
As I continue to come up with ideas and activities for the 25 Days of Christmas, I am also aware of how rampant Covid-19 is in the U.S. Please be careful and stay safe.
The Day 11 activity is one that will definitely keep you safe and help you stay calm and worry-free. The activity is to watch a Christmas movie. Perhaps you like the traditional Christmas movies and you want to watch one that you know and love. However, a quick Google search also turns up several new movies for 2020. You can find movies on Lifetime and Hallmark that you can watch all night and all day, or you can find some new ones on Netflix and Amazon Prime and other places.
You might want to fix some hot chocolate, string some popcorn or cranberries, snuggle under a warm blanket, and relax with your movie. Taking some time to relax is something you need to do as it will help you stay calm and rested as you prepare for the upcoming holidays.
Enjoy your movie and don’t forget to let me know what you’re watching by posting it in the comments on my Facebook page or sending me a message. I hope you enjoy your movie time.
The affirmation for Day 11 is “I rest and relax and stay calm.”
As I come up with ideas for us all to celebrate the 25 Days of Christmas together, apart, so that we feel connected to each other, I’m more aware each day of just how many people are feeling depressed, lonely, sad, or a little bit blue. I know more of my friends are canceling their travel plans to spend Christmas with family and friends, and I just want to acknowledge how difficult it is for so many of us to have a quieter Christmas because of the risk of Covid-19.
For Day 10, I have an activity that won’t alleviate the loneliness and despair, but it will at least add some merriment and fun to your holiday time. The challenge for Day 10 is to go online and search for “virtual Christmas events December 2020”. I think there are enough events that you could find a concert, a play, a ballet, a comedy show, a fundraiser, or a sing-a-long for each night from now until Christmas. Most of these online events are free, though some of them have a fee.
At Eventbrite and Facebook, lots of events are listed that are free of charge. Also, many symphonies, churches, and other groups are offering events if you go directly to their pages. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and Washington Cathedral are having events and many radio stations are offering concerts that you can listen to online or on the radio.
I am scheduling several of the musical events for the next two weeks to listen to online because I love Christmas music. I challenge you to schedule several events that you might enjoy, and ask a couple of your friends to sign up, too, and then discuss them by phone or on Zoom after the event. Sharing events virtually isn’t the same as attending in person, but with so many events offered online, I think everyone can find something they like.
The affirmation for Day 10 is “I take care of myself by scheduling my time wisely.”
Welcome to Day 9 of the 25 Days of Christmas, as I continue to suggest activities and ideas that we can do to celebrate Christmas together, apart, since so many of us won’t be able to be with family and friends this year.
The activity for Day 9 will be fun. I suggest you take a selfie of you, or you and your dog/cat, or you and whoever lives with you. Send your selfie to family and friends that you usually spend time with at Christmas but won’t be able to see this year. Post the photo on your Facebook page, send it to friends by text or email, print it and send it in a snail mail card, or print it and put it on your door.
You may even want to use that selfie as your picture on Zoom or Google Meet when you have video meetings with others.
Have a little fun with your Christmas selfie. Put on a silly Christmas sweater, put a bow in your hair, wear a Christmas hat, put on your flannel pajamas, or hold a cup of cocoa. Challenge your friends/family to send you a selfie of themselves, too.
Sharing photos is a good way to feel like we are connected when it isn’t safe to be with each other physically. I hope you will also share your selfie on my Facebook page!
The affirmation for Day 9 is “I treat my friends well and stay in touch with them.”