My Family and I Are Keeping It Low-Key This Holiday Season, and It's Just What We Need

As a type-A, plan-everything sort of gal, the year 2020 has not been great for me. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trips have been canceled, family gatherings have been modified, and basically anything that I have tried to plan has been adjusted. With the start of every new month, I have high hopes that life will be back to "normal," but so far, I've only been mistaken.

I had made incredible plans to celebrate birthdays and special events with family and friends all year, and each one has had to change. My plans to celebrate my mom's 65th birthday in Florida and my killer Fourth of July neighborhood party were squashed. And don't even get me started on how I planned this school year to go for my daughter.

Not having huge holiday parties or trips means I get to spend more time with the ones I love in a special and intimate way.

Now, reality is finally setting in. It took eight months, but I'm finally acknowledging that I won't be celebrating the holiday season with my family or attending grand parties with friends; I'm not even pretending that it will be a possibility this year. I am waiving the white flag to COVID-19, and accepting that my immediate family and I will be celebrating the holidays differently this year. While the holidays won't be filled with traveling, visitors, and parties, they also won't be filled with commitments and stress. Choosing to focus on the positive and the new "normal," my family and I will be celebrating the holidays by using that extra time to restore and reconnect — hopefully in sweatpants and comfy pajamas.

This year has been exhausting, and what my family and I really need is rest and time together. Being a working mom, there has been way too much juggling required to survive this year. While I have spent a lot of time with my husband and daughter over the past eight months, I haven't necessarily spent a lot of quality time with them. Not having huge holiday parties or trips means I get to spend more time with the ones I love in a special and intimate way.

This year, we'll be skipping the company holiday parties and numerous Santa sightings. Instead, we'll be doing a lot of pizza ordering, Netflix watching, and snuggling in front of the fire. The holidays will look different for us, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, it may not be as festive and traditional, but it will be restorative — something that everyone in my household needs right now.

I'll still incorporate some holiday musts, like gifts for the kiddo and fried Hanukkah latkes. But instead of planning out a grand holiday dinner and working on my guest list, I'm stocking up on comfy throw blankets and popcorn. Of course, we'll still acknowledge the holidays, but it's going to be much more low-key this year. And with the way 2020 has been thus far, taking a little pressure off of the "most wonderful time of the year" is more than welcome.