Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,
I normally just love the holidays and every Hallmark movie my eyes can watch, but this year I just don't. I absolutely know that it is because of the pandemic and all of the stress that has come along with it, but I truly don't know how to get out of this funk.
Our students are virtual learning for the next few weeks so there isn't that joy that is usually found in the building and the sound of quiet is almost deafening. As teachers we can decide to teach at school or teach at home which is a helpful benefit, but I miss our staff cookie exchange and Secret Santa. I think I'm realizing part of the joy I find at Christmas is being in school and enjoying all of our festivities.
Even at home I can't find my holiday happiness. I'm buying gifts just to check off the list without putting any thought into it and then I get upset with myself. I don't feel like baking cookies or gingerbread houses this year. As for a Christmas tree, I usually put at least one little one in every room of the house but this year we may only have one. I am really struggling to find my Christmas spirit.
If you have any tips or tricks of how to snap out of this, I'd love to hear them!
Dear Pandemic Pout,
If I could I would give you the biggest hug right now! I related to so much of what you wrote in about that I really had to process my feelings before I could begin to offer suggestions for you.
First and foremost, I want you and every teacher across America to listen loud and clear...give yourself GRACE! You have been carrying on for four or five months trying to make this school year as "normal" as possible, when there is NOTHING "normal" about this year. The fact that you show up each and every day for your students is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and a gift in itself to them and their families. Please do not compare yourself to what you might see on social media because everyone has a different story to tell.
My next piece of advice is one that I am adhering to closely this year. I am doing my best to have a less is more Christmas. We create these traditions and expectations around the holidays that even when we're not in a pandemic can be hard to live up to, so this year let's take a step back. Instead of buying gifts just to buy, what if you call the person or send a personal Christmas card. Let's face it, we can only use so many sweaters and slippers, but letting someone know the joy they bring to you can be better than any gift.
Finally, know that it's okay to say "No." Beyond that, it's okay to say "No" and not have to give an explanation. Some people are choosing to go above and beyond this Christmas because we are all at home and that is wonderful...for them! However, if you don't want to hang Christmas lights this year, then don't. Drive around and enjoy the beauty of what other's have done without feeling guilty. Perhaps that could be a new tradition for your family. On a random week night when it's dark, make some hot chocolate, put it in a thermos, get in the car and drive around with Christmas carols blasting on the radio. How awesome!
I truly hope this post helps you process more about how to move through the holiday season this year. Please feel free to reach out anytime on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) if you need just a little more TLC. Honestly, we probably all do this year.
Lesson Plan Toolbox