Well, the holidays sure look different this year, don’t they? Now that we’ve addressed the elephant in the room, I want to acknowledge how that may be making you feel. It’s been a mentally exhausting year and it’s finally coming to an end, which may be providing some sense of relief. Or maybe it’s all coming to a head at this moment and you’re fearful of what 2021 will bring. The holidays drudge up a whole lot of emotions for a whole lot of people in the best of years and let’s be real, this one’s been a real dumpster fire of “holy shit, is this even real life?!” So, how do we end the weirdest and arguably toughest year on a global scale on a high note? I’ve got some ideas!
Full disclosure, I’ve been mentally struggling these past couple of weeks. I took the Thanksgiving long weekend to check out and re-focus my energy on turning the volume up on the good shit and damn, it felt great! I find celebrating gratitude to be the best remedy for stress, fear, worry and sadness. It doesn’t mean it’s going to remedy the areas causing tension in your life, that’s down to you and the powers that be, but when you grab those reigns and take control of how you feel inside, you are so much better equipped to handle your shit. Point. Blank. Period.
When considering what to share with you guys as a solution for how to spend this final month of the shit show that’s been 2020, I was drawn to the double Gs… gratitude and giving. This is what the holidays are always about, but I think this year a little reminder wouldn’t hurt and perhaps some suggestions for a more creative approach to the giving part, because it’s been an economically tough year, as well!
1. Buy Gifts That Give
If you’re financially able to give gifts this year, try to shop from brands that give to someone in need with every purchase!
2. Support Small Businesses
We all know the struggle it’s been for small businesses to survive this year, so be conscious of where you’re doing your shopping and start on Etsy or at local/independent businesses!
3. Donate Your Time and Thought
If you are able to donate money remember, a little can truly go a long way. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars to make an impact. With that said, you can make a significant impact without spending a dime. Donating your time by finding places to volunteer virtually or by social distancing is going to be incredibly needed this holiday season.
4. Give as You Get
If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to give and receive gifts this year, donate 1 for 1. If your child receives x amount of toys from Santa and family, donate x amount of toys in good condition to a toy drive. If you receive new clothes, drop some off at your local shelter. You get the idea! My husband does this year round. He’s not one for surplus, he is an appreciator of “plenty” and it’s one of the many things I admire about him. If you can look at your life with eyes of abundance vs scarcity, it’s incredible what you’ll find you’re able to give to someone who needs it more!
5. Send a Card, Make a Day
Despite the digital wonders we’ve seen put into play this year to overcome the isolation this pandemic has brought, there’s remained a great void of human connection. Something about a handwritten card that says more than happy holidays will go a long way in bringing some light and a sense of connection into someone’s day. This card doesn’t just have to be sent to your family and friends… perhaps it’s sent to a retirement home where elderly folks will be spending the holiday on their own. Perhaps it’s sent to a hospital where the frontline workers of this thing have spent the year missing out on moments of connection with their own families to take care of ours. Get creative. It may seem strange to write a letter to a stranger but the glimmer of hope that could result from knowing someone you’ve never let us thinking of you is the magical kind of shit the holidays are truly made of.
6. Stay Connected
Play virtual games, have virtual movie nights, do a remote secret Santa, Zoom a meal together… you get the idea. It may seem odd at first, but make an effort to spend time with the loved ones who you can be with physically. You’ll get on one of those virtual gaming apps and in no time be laughing with your family, completely forgetting how fucking weird it is that you’re in separate houses for the holidays.
7. Getting Back to Gratitude…
Find it. That may come super easy to you or it may not. This year may not have been all that bad for you or it may have absolutely kicked your ass. Either way, I urge you to find it. Even for the tough stuff. It’s been a hard year emotionally and economically for the world but the challenges of 2020 have been fruitful when looked at in the right light. Angles are everything. I’ve lived my life on camera and can say with 100% certainty, the magic of angles (and perspective) is REAL. This year’s been full of lessons learned and personal growth. Celebrate that for yourself and celebrate that for others – it’s been a hard year for a lot of people, taking the time to celebrate the nuanced wins of this year with a text or a call could shift someone’ whole perspective just when they need it most.
Wishing you a positive and peaceful December… I hope some of these suggestions make you feel good and give you something to look forward to by doing some good before 2020 comes to a close!
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.