Creating new holiday traditions

By Teresa Jenkins, Chair, Charlotte County Democratic Executive Committee

December is full of family traditions. We think about those things that made the holiday season special when we were growing up including spending time with our family and friends, shopping at the local mall decorated with trees, lights and garland, holiday concerts, white elephant exchanges, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah services and gatherings, festive meals, hometown parades, and local tree lighting events. Our traditions are a big part of what makes this month special. But just like Thanksgiving, we’re once again spending our holiday at home with events cancelled and the need to practice stringent social distancing.

2020 has been a year full of anxiety, stress, confusion, frustration, fear and disappointment. Our overly qualified candidates didn’t win their down-ballot races and the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on our daily lives and volunteer activities. And for too many people, 2020 meant losing a job — or a loved one. Many understandably feel disenchanted about Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve when there’s a chance they won’t be able to carry out traditions that are a big part of these holidays.

Yet, maybe this is a time to create some new traditions. Members of our Democratic Party family delivered Thanksgiving meals to residents of the Veterans Village, while many more brought food to our office to be distributed to food pantries throughout Charlotte County. Some folks are shopping for a neighbor who can’t get to the grocery store or sending “Thinking of You” cards to those in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Our Democratic Women’s Club is providing gift cards to hundreds of homeless mothers in our county. Bakers Against Racism donates money raised through selling of baked goods to any organized group that works to end racism. Do you know someone who’s alone, sad or distressed? Flowers can make them smile. December 12 is National Poinsettia Day — perhaps delivering a festive Poinsettia to someone you know might lift their spirits, and yours.

Many of these things can transcend the holiday season. They can become a part of what we do to help others anytime of the year.

So, what creative things will you be doing this holiday season? What will be your new tradition? It’s the little things that can help others feel a bit less anxious and lonely this time of the year. I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season!