During the pandemic, when each day seems to blend into the next, I’ve been trying to make holidays and birthdays stand out a little more. This is not an innate skill for me. I’m not sure if it’s laziness or perfectionism or if the thought of putting away and storing all of the decorations is so unpleasant that it saps the pleasure I feel in the decorations themselves, but it seems to take a lot of work for me to make things special.
I really tried this Halloween. I bought more Halloween decorations—lights for the front of the house, jack-o’-lanterns to hang in a bunch of our windows—and talked early and often with my children about costumes, virtual alternatives to trick-or-treat, and homemade treats to make up for lack of candy from strangers. But I don’t have enough interest in the holiday to carry the full weight of initiating everything, so when my children didn’t take some initiative things just kind of fizzled. I figured if they weren’t into it, I wouldn’t push it.
Then around 7pm on Halloween they looked up from the episode of She-Ra they’d just finished and said, “Man, I wish we’d done more for Halloween!” It was too late for most things, but not too late to carve pumpkins, so they did that just before going to bed. They turned out pretty nice, too.
We’ll toast up the seeds tomorrow and postpone putting away decorations for one night so we can enjoy the lit jack-o’-lanterns for an extra evening. Maybe they’ll remember this experience when it comes time to plan for winter holidays and will be a little more active with planning. I do think I need to put a little more effort into connecting them with family and friends, but it’s difficult. All of our family members live 2000 or so miles away, and most of them aren’t as cautious about COVID as we are so they get together with each other and with friends in person, and there’s not much room in their schedules for virtual get-togethers with California cousins. But since we’re not traveling for the foreseeable future, it’s probably a good idea to prioritize those second-best gatherings.
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