Even with the constraints of a masked, socially distant holiday season, staff at de Beaumont are finding ways to make new memories and update their traditions in a COVID world. See what we’re planning and get inspired for your own celebrations.
“On one side of my extended family, we usually have a big Hanukkah party; on the other side, we have a big Christmas Eve party. We considered trying to do a distanced, outside version of these events, but with cases as prevalent as they are in our area, and with so many high-risk family members, we decided to play it safe, spend the holidays with our households, and focus on keeping everyone healthy for 2021.” —Gabrielle Nichols
“The holidays have always been hectic with lot of social gatherings and travel, as typically it‘s the only time of the year my geographically disparate family and I get to be together. Earlier this year, I had to miss my brother‘s wedding in California, and we had hoped we‘d be able to get together around this time for a belated celebration. Unfortunately, it‘s still not safe to do that, so instead we‘ll be mailing care packages with our annual holiday treats, like Dad‘s Chex Mix, Aunt Chris and Ray‘s pizzelles, and Mom‘s peanut butter blossoms, and planning video calls. While I will miss the time we usually spend together, I am grateful for everyone‘s continued health and safety.” —Christine Kudrav
“This year will be the first time that my immediate family won‘t be together to celebrate Christmas. My sister is getting her PhD in neuroscience and cannot travel home and risk getting COVID. We have sent her packages of all the things we normally eat on Christmas morning as well as some pajamas that match the rest of the family. It has been hard to imagine her not being here, but we are thankful for our health and are hopeful that next year it‘ll be safe enough for her to be here with us in person.” —Natalie Mulloy
“I‘m planning to spend my Christmas and New Year‘s holidays solo this year! While I usually visit family members or travel, I’m going to spend the month of January working remotely from my brother‘s farm in rural Washington State. Because of COVID, I haven‘t seen him, my sister-in-law, or my older niece in a year — and I still haven‘t met my newest niece, who is four months old! So that I can safely spend this time with them and travel in accordance with Washington State public health guidance, I will be self-quarantining for two weeks, which means maintaining distance for the holidays and connecting with others over Zoom. It will all be worth it to snuggle my baby niece with peace of mind — not to mention getting to celebrate a very special 3-year-old‘s Winnie the Pooh-themed birthday in person at the end of the month!” —Melissa Monbouquette
“I have two sisters and between the three of us, we have a total of seven kids, ranging in age from 13 to 23. We have always gotten together to decorate gingerbread houses, sometimes making them look really nice, and sometimes making messy, falling-down shacks that are covered with excessive amounts of icing and candy. This year I am mailing gingerbread house kits with a bunch of extra candy to my sisters, and the kids are going to decorate together over Zoom — two in Maine, three in Maryland, and two in D.C.” —Katie Sellers
“Before COVID hit, my husband and I had planned to host both sides of our immediate family for Christmas for the first time as newlyweds. We won‘t be having that kind of celebration this year; our plan is to video call those who we can‘t see on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We‘re all in strong agreement that it‘s better to be safe.” —Robyn Spincic
“This holiday season, we’re not going to see our immediate families in person. Usually this entails a big family gathering with aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces at my parents’ house in Maryland. After lunch, my husband, daughter, and I all drive to Pennsylvania to see my husband’s immediate family. We all sit around and watch the children open their presents, bake cookies, and lounge around in our pajamas. It’s a joyous day that will be going virtual this year. In an effort to create a sense of connection, I ordered all the cousins matching holiday shirts that proclaim their membership in the ‘Cousin Crew’! The plan is to have the kids wearing these as we connect virtually and they open presents together. Things may be different this year, but we are taking comfort that everyone is safe and healthy.” —Emily Yu