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Home For The Holidays

As the saying goes, “there’s no place like home for the holidays” – especially this year! For all of us, this will be a very unique holiday season. We may not have our traditional celebrations, office parties, or special get-togethers with close friends due to the current pandemic. But for some neurodivergent folks, celebrating on a lesser scale may be a blessing in disguise. The American Psychological Association found that 38% of people say their stress increases during the holidays but that stress may decrease this year due to less social pressureSo in the spirit of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness, let’s focus on the ways that a holiday season in a pandemic may actually be just fine! 

If you are someone who loves consistency, this holiday season may feel easier. There is likely to be less of the holiday chaos, and fewer festive events that you may feel obligated to attend.  

It seems that most people will be preparing small dinners with only household members in attendance. But there are still creative ways to share your holiday meals with those who can’t be with you in person. You can email recipes to your friends and families so everyone can prepare and eat the same food at the same time. Then connect your laptop to the TV, get everyone together on Zoom, and dine on the couch so that it feels closer to being in person. 

With less people coming over for a holiday dinner, there is less stress about preparing a perfect, Instagram-worthy holiday meal. So why not try a new recipe, or try baking an indulgent dessert? If you are celebrating with your family, you don’t have to worry about being judged and if things really go awry, you can always order a pizza. But for those who love to cook, why not prepare extras of your favorite holiday treats and share with your neighbors. Just remember to wear a mask and disposable gloves for delivery! 

For those of us who are not comfortable with a lot of physical contact, this will be a much more relaxed season as there might not be any hugs, kisses or handshakes. This is the year for a fistbump or an elbow bump to say “hello.” And if even that level of contact is not comfortable for you, just give a friendly wave and warmly say, “Happy Holidays!” 

And although we are in a quarantine situation, you can always go for a walk outside. A fun afternoon activity is going to a local orchard to pick apples or take an early evening stroll to admire your neighbors’ holiday decorations. You can even drive to the beach and watch the sunrise or sunset. The fresh air will feel great! Just remember to wear a mask and maintain social distancing guidelines. 

Being home also means you can wear your comfy clothes and not max out your credit card buying fancy outfits for holiday parties or trying to win the “ugly sweater contest.” And you may be pleasantly surprised how much fun you can have hanging out with your family. Plan movie nights, or watching sports nights, or binge-your-favorite-show nights. You may feel quite content hanging out with your family and watching TV from your couch. 

And if the holidays make you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself that it takes true strength to ask for assistance. Reach out to a trusted person in your life such as a parent, good friend or Life Coach. Let them know you need support during the holiday season. And as always, there is no “right” way to celebrate the season, do whatever it is that works for you.  

From all of us at Advance LA, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons and all the best in 2021! 



Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.