If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s about the value of quality time spent with family and friends. My clients Bill and June, both in their eighties, described how their holiday family traditions changed as a result of the virus.

“Our son, John, lost his job in February because of the pandemic, and things were rough for him and his family financially until he found a new job a couple months ago,” Bill said. “They said they needed to cut back on expenses, including Christmas gifts, and that was fine with us. With inflation causing everything to go up, it’s been more difficult for us to make ends meet also. So, we decided to just do a White Elephant Exchange for Christmas this year, with a limit of $25, and we had so many laughs.”

Some families I work with have been inspired to make homemade gifts in lieu of store-bought presents, and/or to focus more on experiences rather than things. For example, a winter hike along a shoreline path with your grandchildren can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Family experiences and social connections create fond memories, more so than things.

Some families have opted to do something together to give back to the community, such as volunteering a few hours in a soup kitchen or at a food pantry.

“Being of service to other people always makes me feel grateful for the blessings I have in my own life,” said Irma, another client of mine. “We’ve all learned to live with less and to appreciate what we have. When I think back on my own childhood, my fondest holiday memories aren’t about the presents I got. It’s decorating the tree with my brothers and walking around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. It was having hot chocolate outdoors, at a bonfire after we went sledding. Those are the memories I will always treasure.”

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 585-787-0009 or email us at lmiraglia@seniorschoicecare.com. We’ll be happy to assist!