Long-distance Family Gatherings for the Holidays

My adult children live in the same town I do, for which I am grateful and don’t take for granted. But my daughter is an elementary music teacher, teaching around 350 students a week. And her son is attending kindergarten. Although they are taking pandemic precautions, they have a potentially higher exposure than is comfortable for us. We have agreed we will not be gathering in-person on Thanksgiving Day, which is a first. We do visit them outside, but we do not want to attempt an outdoor Thanksgiving meal. At this point my son will join my husband and I, and we plan to make the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
I am sad to not have the Thanksgiving gathering we have had the last few years. I have enjoyed it as we gathered with my daughter, her family and her in-laws. We split up the menu, and my husband and I made about four sides. I have a couple of favorite recipes: a Vegan gravy for the family vegetarian, which I ironically will use on top of a serving of turkey, and this version of Cranberry Sauce. I highly recommend both!

I have been mentally coaching myself since we made the decision several weeks ago, that I indeed will be okay, even though I am sad we are not gathering together. I will enjoy being with my husband and son, and be grateful we are healthy and able to hang out. And although the meal takes forever to prepare, then devour, there will still be some of the Thanksgiving Day left over. I intend to have some possible things to do to fill some of those moments. Thanksgiving is close enough now to see the extended forecast, which looks favorable for our two-mile walk. This is a guaranteed mood booster for me; I love walking outside with my husband. And a video call with my daughter and her family will fit into the day, I’m sure.

A few days ago, in one of my sad moments, I came up with some ideas of how to connect long-distance with those you love.

Here’s a list:

  1. Do a video call bake-off. Set it up however you want. Make the same thing, and race to see who gets it done first. Or no race, just enjoy baking at the same time, as though you were in the same kitchen. Screen shot the video call, to remember this hopefully unique time in the future.
  2. Some families share what they are thankful for before they eat the Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, write notes to your family members about why your are thankful for them. Mail , email, text, make a video telling them, or do a video call with each other, sharing what you wrote.
  3. Buy candles. Get them to your loved ones, and agree to light them at the same time. Or, video call to light them.
  4. In the same vein of writing why you are thankful for them, write a memory of past gatherings. Or several memories! Again, mail, email, text, video or video call to share those memories.
  5. Make a holiday craft together. Several ideas on how to run this: Make the same thing, and send the crafting material to your loved one. Pick something, like from Pinterest, and see who can make the “best” Pinterest fail. Or pick a craft, with the restriction of only making it from your available crafting stash at home. Video call while making it, or when finished.
  6. Pick a movie to watch, either a new or old one. Each person either writes a review or makes a review via video. Then swap reviews. Or video call and have a Siskel and Ebert type session.

I know there are families who have been living far apart for years and have found ways to connect. Please share them here!

Published by Lorna

I spend time hanging out with my husband, those two young adults I had the privilege of momming, and two grandchildren. I love connecting with my friends and talking about what’s important to us over a cup of local jo. You can find me outside taking walks, bicycling, tending our wild yard, or inside cooking Gluten-free yummy food, knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading, and catching up with my large extended family. After exploring approaches to life, I have decided the guide for me is Love. And that keeps me grinning.

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