There is very little doubt that this will be a very different year-end holiday for us all. As Singapore looks set to turn the corner into a new phase soon, things will never quite be the way they used to, in this still strangely unsettled “new normal”.
As early as two years ago, my 16-year-old daughter and I were animatedly tossing off a variety of possible tourist destinations in anticipation of our inaugural mum-daughter bonding trip overseas.
We had talked incessantly about it and were looking forward to this December to celebrate her graduation from secondary school with what we thought would be an epic adventure. Imagine our disappointment as time went by and hopes of our trip were completely snuffed out.
It’s not too far off to describe post-COVID days and its regulatory cautiousness like a Sword of Damocles over our heads, killing off the slightest whiff of excitement and slaughtering opportunities for fun and adventure .
Unfortunate as circumstances may be, how can we make this holiday season shine a bit brighter and make the most of the time we have?
In the end, my daughter and I settled on a new plan and a renewed mindset to go along with it. Despite the letdown, we’d endeavour to spend more quality time together regardless.
- More frequent mother-daughter dates rather than once or twice off year-end outings like we used to!
- Shortlisting a list of activities we could enjoy together: e.g., visit a theme park (her idea) or café-hop (my idea), rather than bemoan the inability to travel.
- Increasing our spheres of relational interaction: babysitting her younger siblings more often and welcoming her to work part-time in our family business.
Here are some other suggestions that you and your family can try:
1. Rejuvenate your home environment
While we can’t travel to a faraway land this year, we can certainly bring a refreshing and relaxing vibe into our homes and living spaces.
Tackle a troubled spot in your home and reorganise. Restyle a corner with a new art piece or decorative item.
Involve the family in repainting, re-arranging the furniture, visualising new possibilities in a dead space, or picking out new accessories and furnishings.
Whether your budget is big or small, this could make an exciting year-end family project.
2. Build family bonds creatively
Ease the pressure off from having a perfectly kept house or a regimented daily routine and focus on creating leisurely and playful moments within the home. We may need to bend the rules a little to allow our creative juices to flow:
- Create a family nook for a parent sleepover with your younger kids or set up a tent with fairy lights at home and snuggle in.
- Choose a theme (eg., beach holiday or pirate theme) and centre games and weekend activities around it!
- Invest in some good board games and create a holiday tournament for the young and old!
- Pick up a new hobby or skill together: Surf through the plethora of online courses and YouTube videos on any subject your children are interested in!
- Get fit, pick up urban gardening, or explore lesser known walking routes at different parts of the island.
- Sharpen your unique family strengths: A musical family may want to self-produce a Christmas family single. A family who loves to eat may want to try out some new recipes or plate ordinary food in an extraordinary way while inviting a small group of guests over each week to extend hospitality.
3. Spread cheer as a family unit
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we can make use of December to shift the focus away from ourselves. It’s easy to bite the pill of discontentment and groan over what we can’t do this year. Perhaps what we all need more than anything else is not a “getaway” but a “giveaway” – to share our time, warmth, cheer, and resources with people and community groups who need it most.
Search for a meaningful social initiative to be part of. Our family is participating in a community organisation’s initiative to prepare Christmas gift boxes for children of migrant workers who may not have the opportunity to see their fathers for some time to come.
The kids have each chipped in some of their savings and we’ve pooled ideas on what to put in those gift boxes and how to get them ready in time.
One thing’s for sure – it may be a different December but it can also be a December with a difference. Happy holidays!
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© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Tracey Or is a full time mother of six, part-time dreamer and writer at her blog, Memoirs of a Budget Mum. Those who know her well knows she gets through life with a good joke, coffee and the occasional Netflix.
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