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AARP Expert

#3 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Start NEW Traditions!


As we head into the holidays, which will undoubtedly be different this year, here is my 3rd tip for caregivers:

Start new traditions

Instead of focusing on losses and what you and/or your loved ones aren’t able to do this year, try doing something new!

  • Holiday Lights: Try driving through a holiday light display - you are safe in your car! They have become quite popular and this year I anticipate many communities will have them - you can look online for "holiday light displays" in your area. Even neighborhoods or streets on which most houses decorate make a nice driving destination (my family always does that)!
  • Concerts: Watch all of the holiday concerts on TV or computer. I'm guessing there will be even more available this year - my Dad loved watching them on TV. There are usually several on the PBS channel and you can check local listings and your streaming channels too. Some AARP state offices will even be offering holiday concerts online!
  • Video chat meals and more: If holiday gatherings aren't in the cards this year, have a video chat instead. The good thing is that many people who would never have done that in the past are now getting used to it. Set up the computer, phone or tablet and share meals, holiday baking, holiday concerts or movies (you can mute while watching and just unmute to make comments to each other - my sisters and I do this and it feels like we are watching together in the same room!). 
  • Decorate: Between caregiving and the pandemic you might not have time or energy for your usual decorating, so try a new tradition - one craft project you can do together, or choose the decorations that are most meaningful to you. If your loved ones aren't able to participate they may still gain a great deal of joy by watching you or admiring your handy work when you are done. 
  • Family videos: Start a home holiday movie night tradition — or watch old "home movies" (which is what my family calls the old movies Dad took of us when we were little and the more recent ones I took with my video camera). Everyone can participate! My sisters and I have done this - we all have a set of DVDs that I made of the old 8mm movies my Dad took, and we get on video chat together and agree to where to start and we all hit play at the same time. So we are watching the same thing at the same time even if we are thousands of miles away from each other - we have a blast and laugh a lot! Most of them are from holidays gone by so it' a great way to celebrate together. 
  • Make "old" is new again: Remember when we all stayed home more and families did a lot of simple decorations like stringing popcorn and cranberries? Think about some of the old traditions from a simpler time that have gone by the wayside and think about reviving them!

What are some new traditions this year that you'll start? 


Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving


P.S. - below are links to my others Holiday Tips and my latest column!


7 Ways Caregivers Can Create That Holiday Feeling Amidst the Pandemic


#10 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Ask for and Accept Help

#9 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Connect with Other Caregivers

#8 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Keep Up with Self-Care

#7 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Mind Your Holiday Mindset

#6 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Anticipate Holiday Hot Buttons

#5 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Approach Gift-Giving More Efficiently

#4 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Adjust Holiday Meal Plans

#2 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Simplify your Holiday Activities

#1 - Caregiver Holiday Survival Tip: Focus on What is Most Meaningful


Bronze Conversationalist

First RELAX  be thankful that your able to be there.Try remeniscing about years past and what things you remember. Have a discussion with the elders how things use to be when they were younger.       The wisdom and adventures they had could be very enlightening and finally thank God for giving us this oppertunity to be together and providing the means of who we are as Americans

AARP Expert

@Travis55Chevy so well said!!! It's a great opportunity to look at old photos and home movies, reminisce about holidays of the past and what things were like when they were growing up. Happy Thanksgiving to you - and Happy Holidays Gary! 

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