Column: How to spread holiday cheer amid pandemic

Morgan Dowler | Contributor

By Carson Lewis | Assistant Digital Managing Editor

As we return home for the holidays, it can be hard to remember that we are living through a global pandemic. For those of you who worry about taking COVID-19 safety precautions, here are a few ways to be jolly from a safe distance.

Set aside special time for new traditions – digitally.

A lot of us have personal traditions that accompany the season. For me and my family, we have a different kind of Christmas Eve dinner. Instead of a fine meal, we cook a bunch of small snacks, such as bagel bites or curly fries. Luckily, this tradition just involves my immediate family, so it should continue as normal in this weird new world.

However, many of us have treasured rituals that we partake in with a lot more people than should be safe. What to do then? I recommend creating new traditions, or altering existing ones for use in a safe, digital environment. The benefit of this is that it can also be used to gather together new Baylor acquaintances. Bring your friend group closer together by coming up with activities that cultivate the spirit of the season. Perhaps a Netflix party of holiday classics or a gift-wrapping chat might tickle your fancy? All of these and more can be done from the safety of your room. Give it a try, and see what you can come up with!

Decorate your personal space and think of doing an advent calendar

It can be easy for the chilling weather and surging COVID-19 numbers to bring about feelings of loneliness or isolation, especially if you’re indoors for extended periods of time. Put some effort into making your personal space fit the seasonal decor. Colorful lights are fairly cheap, and that small tree in the corner of the Christmas tree lot won’t cost an arm and a leg. Creating an environment of joy is important to maintaining a good attitude during times when things don’t go exactly how we would have liked.

Also consider maintaining an advent calendar during the days leading up to the holidays. Have your friends (or yourself) buy little gifts or snacks that can be opened up on each new day — making the season have a little bit of spice each time the sun rises yet again.

Try to find ways to be generous and give back.

We should always be concerned about our fellow man, but the holiday season amplifies those feelings. Many are struggling now, having trouble paying rent or keeping up with bills. It’s important to look toward the holidays not just at what we can get out of it, but also how we can give back. Support local food pantries as the weather gets chillier, and look into other outlets to benefit others with your time and money. Perhaps you can organize a food drive with your neighbors or friends back home to benefit your community. Having a positive impact during the season can do a lot toward feeling joyful despite the things that might be missing.

I hope for the very best holiday season possible to all our readers, and will be praying that everyone can be safe during this difficult time. Have good cheer and make sure to enjoy the break.