Thinking of you during this very different holiday time. Christmas is a time for family and friends, food, get-togethers, fun and laughter. 

This year, of course, is different for many of us. Families are being careful to not put Grandpa and Grandma at risk. Their love looks like staying away rather than gathering close. Grandma and Grandpa may be enjoying their turkey alone, and visiting with children and grandchildren online or by phone. 

How do we find joy? We are missing being in close contact with those we love!  

The need for social distancing has gone on for far too long. For some, the isolation feels exhausting and overwhelming. 

Special holidays like Christmas in normal times can be painful for some people. 

Missing those who are not with us is brought into sharp relief as we remember happier times. This year, even more people will feel the longing to embrace and enjoy those we love. 

So, how do we cope? We are faced with tough circumstances! 

Some people will choose to ignore the warnings and gather together with family and loved ones. It is hard to imagine that someone we love could possibly be carrying the virus. They appear perfectly healthy! We have gotten away with family gatherings so far, we should be fine. Yet, the experts warn us that letting down our guard, even for one gathering may cause up to 50% of the people at the gathering to get sick from just one infected person. It’s really a guessing game. One wrong move could be catastrophic!

Others will choose to stay away, but feel the unfairness of the situation. 

They may wallow in self-pity, thinking that it just isn’t fair to be alone at Christmas.  They may suffer in silence, or even share their complaints with others. Simply put, they have a miserable Christmas, and just want the day to be over so that they can go back to their regular way of altered living.

The third type will choose to make the best of the situation.

They will count their blessings rather than grumble about what they have lost. They will see how they can make a positive difference in the lives of others. They will reach out to those who might be lonely or missing family and friends. They might make phone calls, drop gifts at the doors of loved ones, or write notes, telling them how much they mean to them. They have likely donated to a charitable cause to help someone who they don’t even know. 

Here are a few other suggestions:

  1. Plan a caravan to see the Christmas lights. Everyone meets in his or her car at a specified place and time. The organizer has already emailed the map of the route. Afterwards, people can gather online to discuss their favourites.
  • Have an online craft party. Send everyone a Gingerbread House kit, or make decorations or paper snowflakes together. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!
  • Agree to watch the same Christmas movies. Go online afterward to discuss. 
  • Play games online. One suggestion is charades, or using an online app such as Houseparty.
  • Plan ahead for each person to share their favourite funny Christmas story about family and friends online. You may want to include a story about how a Christmas tradition came into being. Be careful to not share something embarrassing or that is going to make someone feel badly. You may want to ask them in advance if you are not sure how the story will land for them. 
  • Meet outside for some social distancing activity, such as skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, or simply walking. If possible, enjoy a bonfire afterwards. Everyone brings their own hot chocolate and smores. 

Lastly, reflect on how this is (hopefully) the last time that we will spend the Christmas season alone.

Let’s stop often and reflect on the beauty and majesty of the holiday. If we remember to give thanks for a season that has been much more peaceful and restful, it will add to our happiness. Let our hearts be filled with joy that our families are healthy.  Because we have been willing to sacrifice a little this year, we will be ready to celebrate together next year. 

If you need a little extra support during this time, please feel free to reach out to me. My Christmas gift to you is a free first session. 

For those who are feeling the financial pinch, I also work on a sliding scale. Simply email me at:, and let’s talk.

What are your plans for the holidays? How do you plan to stay connected with loved ones? What are you doing to brighten someone else’s Christmas. Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

Merry Christmas to all. With love, Arlene

Arlene Geres

I am out to change the world, by practicing love no matter what the circumstance! Although I may fall short, I continue to aim toward this ideal, and encourage others to do the same. I am a Licensed Clinical Counsellor, with a Masters Degree from Yorkville University. I specialize in Addictions, Marriage and Family Counselling. I also put on Retreats and online courses in these areas. I look forward to meeting you either in person or online!

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  1. Great post Arlene! Helpful information
    After my diagnosis of breast cancer, surgery, treatment and a summer to reflect, I feel fortunate to be here, to be relatively healthy, have good health care and grateful my family & I have been safe from Covid.
    I cannot feel anything but gratitude. When I thought I might want to feel sorry for myself one day, another wave of gratitude & happiness washed over me. Where did that come from? It still makes me smile.
    So even though I cannot be with my family, (they live far away) I am shifting into another tradition this year. I’m Holiday Decorating and although unable to volunteer my time, I am donating (financially) to an organization in hopes it will bring a child a full tummy a sense of hope that someone out there cares!
    What a glorious feeling! Yes, happiness is in giving.
    Merry Christmas, Blessings to you and yours and everyone reading this. 🎄💜 🙏

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