5 Ways to Prepare for a Covid-Conscious Christmas
Undoubtedly, Christmas is going to be more than a little different this year. It will present a host of new and perhaps unexpected challenges, but whatever your plans for the day itself, there are a number of things you can do to make a festive season amid Coronavirus a little easier to manage.
At CourseSight, we’ve been working closely with one of our mental health partners, Mates in Mind, to develop some suggestions of ways to ensure that Christmas remains a special and joyful time of year. Over the next five weeks in the lead up to Christmas, the CourseSight team will be sharing a helpful tip each Monday of ideas on how to prepare for a Covid-Conscious Christmas.
1. Address Any Health Anxieties
With the end of the second national lockdown fast approaching next week, you might be starting to think about the prospect of beginning the bulk of your Christmas shopping. If you’re worried about encountering an enormous and chaotic Christmas crowd as you undertake this task, which will likely be larger and more frantic this year than most, think about dodging the masses raring to go at the starting line on 2nd December and leave it for another week.
Make the most of the vast array of online sites available for personalised Christmas gifts and double check whether any of your local shops are selling their wares online this year. You could also avoid big and bustling retailers by supporting smaller businesses on platforms like Etsy and they will certainly appreciate your custom more! If you absolutely have to go out to do your shopping and you do have health concerns, then avoid peak times and try to maintain social distancing when possible.
2. Confront Your Financial Concerns
Christmas is always an expensive time of year and for many of us this fact of life feels more pronounced this year than most. Firstly, there are a number of ways you can get creative with your present-giving (read below) - but if your finances are feeling a little tighter than usual, there are a number of excellent resources you can use to make things a little easier. Consider useful options to help with everyday cash-flow, such as using alternative payment methods when buying gifts, like Klarna or Afterpay, which allow you to pay for presents in interest-free instalments.
3. Seize the Opportunity to Embrace Your Inner Creative Flair (however deep down it may be!)
This year presents a unique opportunity to reinvigorate your long since neglected repository of creativity, which is just waiting to be tapped into. If you’re on furlough at the moment, you could use this as the perfect opportunity to put some extra thought into your gifts, sometimes thoughtful and homemade gifts are the best kind. This Christmas might be just the time to get those creative juices flowing and could also be an easy way to make some savings. Or you could suggest doing a Secret Santa instead? This would allow everyone in a family or group of friends to focus on getting the best present for just one person, instead of embarking on the sometimes-overwhelming task of finding presents for what can feel like the whole world (and their great aunt Bess’s dog)!
4. Use the Chance to Spend More Time in Nature
Sometimes Winter can feel like the worst season to spend time outside, but Britain’s four distinct seasons offer a fascinating insight into nature-in-motion and once you’ve tuned into it you’ll start to notice some beauty in the apparent bleakness! It’s also important to get out of the house, especially when you’re spending more time indoors than usual this year. So, breathe in some fresh air and go on foot to look at the local Christmas lights.
5. Get Back to the Essence of Christmas
If you’ve found yourself mourning the loss of the customary Christmas parties this year, why don’t you think about using this Christmas to return to the basic meaning and message of the holiday in these final few days and do something for others within your community. Think of those local to you who might be especially lonely this year if they’ve decided to spend Christmas without their families to shield from the virus. The smallest gesture of a card through the letterbox, or wave on the doorstep, will let them know they aren’t forgotten and could make the world of difference to them, and isn’t that really what Christmas is all about?
Even if it isn’t the Christmas you had hoped for, it’s certainly going to be a unique one this year and there’s something to be said for making the most of that. Less glitz and glamour perhaps, but who knows, we might look back on this year and remember a Christmas of reflection and thoughtfulness and doing what we can to help others and that’s no bad thing. If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are so many people you can reach out to for help, or if you wish to learn more about mental health first aid training and useful methods to help you support colleagues or loved ones, please make use of Mates in Mind's helpful resources here.