Covid Christmas Celebration Q&A

Hey friends, I’ve had so many questions around our Covid Christmas Celebration, that I’m taking this bonus episode to address a couple of them. You’ll get some mindset and motivations support around holiday gift giving and dealing with the emotional ups and downs of celebrating Christmas in a pandemic. Stay tuned all the way to the end to learn one of my favorite techniques of borrowing energy from your future self. If you find the work that we’re doing on the Boss Yourself First Podcast interesting and valuable, please leave a review where ever you listen to podcasts. Thanks!


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Hey friends!

I’ve gotten so many comments and questions recently from listeners and clients around self-leadership in a Covid Christmas or the holiday season in general that I thought I would use this bonus episode to answer a couple of them

Q and A – I’ve changed the names on these questions but if you reached out to me, I’ve probably already connected with you but you’ll know who you are. And if any of you listening have a question or struggle you’d like my support with, reach out! You can email me at, Facebook message me or DM on Instagram. We could also connect on LinkedIn. So many ways to get in touch. You don’t have to go it alone


So the first question today is from Karen. “I’ve been super conservative during the pandemic because I live with a high risk person. I’m really struggling with the upcoming holidays. I love to give gifts, but I don’t want to go to the stores as our metro area is really spiking with Covid. I hate online shopping, it’s so hard to really know if you’re getting something quality and the technology frustrates me. “


I’m sorry Karen, I feel your pain this season. I’ve mentioned before how gifts are my love language and that means I love finding just the right gift for my people.


Well, it sounds like your feeling frustrated because part of your seasonal joy comes from finding great gifts for people you care about. I’m guessing it’s not just the gift but the process of treasure hunting that gives you energy. And I’m thinking there might be a few extrovert tendencies in your make up as well. This is a hard season when we feel blocked from doing something we love doing for people we love. First, I recommend checking to make sure you’re managing yourself. Good self-care, monitoring those thoughts to see if they are serving you, processing your emotions as they show up. Things we’ve talked about on the podcast, then ask yourself why you give gifts, what do gifts communicate to the people you love? How can you communicate that in a different way or are you willing to deal with shopping online to communicate your love and care for the people in your life? By asking yourself these questions you open up to different approaches and extra energy resources to do things outside your comfort zone.


If you are going to slay the dragon of online shopping, get going to make sure you have time to ship your gifts. At this point, I recommend just shipping straight to the recipient instead of being the middleman in the process. Something else to consider is where your shopping. Pick places that reduce your stress. One example is of course Amazon, I know it’s not as fun but you could have your beloved family and friends create an amazon gift list so they do the work of finding exactly what they want on Amazon and all you do is click the link, make sure your shipping to the right address and pay. Done. No, this takes a lot of your fun of finding the unexpected gift for them, but this might be the year to take a new approach. Another way you can reduce online shopping stress, if you still want to pick something out for your family and friends choose someplace with a generous and easy return policy. My favorite is Nordstroms, there is not really a time limit on returns, they offer free shipping, you can return through the mail or in-person and if you call to talk with them you will find a kind and courteous person on the other end of the line.


 Another option ,for things you can deliver personally, is shopping online for curbside pick-up. So you don’t have shipping deadline stress.


One thing you might find helpful is constraint basically a self-imposed limit. Constraint is going to be the focus of our second season of the podcast but this is a great example of how helpful they can be. You could focus on small things instead of trying to make big purchases online. You could limit all your gifts to food items. However you’ve been getting your food, either in person shopping or ordering for delivery. Add food gifts to your shopping, if you like to cook, you could make food gifts for those you love, or you could buy a subscription to a food gift like fruit, cheese or coffee, so your people get gifts all year round. But choosing a constraint can help with the overwhelm of Christmas this year. I hope that helps, Karen, and  I’d love to hear how it’s going.


Jennifer says “I’m really struggling with my emotions this season. I love the holidays and our big family gatherings, going to concerts and going to the Nutcracker is one of our traditions. I find myself teary every time I think about not seeing my family this year. I also fly off the handle so easily these days. This is supposed to be a season of hope. I’m just not feeling it this year.”


Jennifer, I’m so sorry your struggling. We are all facing challenges like we have never experienced due to the pandemic and some challenges we face all the time that we just can’t seem to overcome. First, know that struggling with emotions can be difficult any time but especially at times where we have a lot of connection or even trauma which means around the holidays. I want to be really clear that if you are having thoughts of harming yourself, you need to reach out for more immediate support than I can give right here. I’ll put a link to the national help line in the show notes but you could also consider letting someone who lives with or near you know that you are having self-harming considerations. Think of those thoughts as getting a serious cramp while swimming. They won’t last forever, get the help of a life preserver know and then you can learn strategies to handle those thoughts or swimming cramps if you play out this analogy. Holidays during a pandemic are bound to increase our human vulnerability to overwhelming emotions, get immediate help, no shame in that. However, Jennifer if you are just feeling unusually weepy and easily angered or you find your frustration tolerance is low, well, I first want to say welcome to the club. Anytime something we hold dear, like family members, or longstanding traditions or like with Karen, gift-giving  – anytime those things are blocked or threatened, we get emotionally triggered. As I said with Karen, first make sure your self-care is operating at a high level, good sleep, good food, exercise but here is another area you might not have considered – your input – Are you watching a ton of Christmas movies with big family gatherings and lots of traditions? I’m a huge movie fan don’t get me wrong but I’m just wondering if watching those might be continually focusing you on what you can’t have this year. What if you take in some books or movies or shows or podcasts – that change your focus – help you connect with times and stories where people have come through hard times even though they were separated for a time.  Or tune into some sitcoms and get some laughter flowing. It doesn’t mean you have to give up Christmas movies but consider white Christmas, it shows life after war that good times and tradition can return. I’ll put a couple of ideas in the resources section on the website with this podcast episode. But consider your input as part of your self-care for the season, and remember to exercise that input self-care for mental, emotional and spiritual self-care.

 Get intentional about connecting in traditional and non traditional ways. You mentioned that the nutcracker is part of your annual tradition, I’m assuming since you said we that you go to the ballet with family or friends. What if you stream the PBS performance on a zoom watch party? Everyone bring their own snacks or everyone make the same recipe and eat and watch together then when it’s over, talk about your favorite parts and what you’re looking forward to the next time you get to physically attend the nutcracker.


The last thought I have for you is to borrow some emotional energy from your future self. This is a strategy I use and frequently work through variations of it with my clients.  Spend some time visioning a little out in the future – now you can decide how far forward to go in your vision but connect with your future self. At least at first, don’t go too far forward that it feels unattainable. Let’s say for example, you look to your future self in February. Chances are, the pandemic will still be with us as the vaccines will not yet be fully distributed but more and more people you know are getting the vaccine and the Covid hospitalizations are dropping. The number of new cases are dropping and more vaccines are coming. Christmas decorations are put away, and you are feeling so good about the connections you’ve deepened during the pandemic. You think about Christmas and it was different but good. In fact, you got creative and established a new tradition during the pandemic that you’re going to keep up in the years to come. You smile and send a message back to you December self – What would that message be? You’ll have your own message but for me, my future self is telling me to relax, shake the tension out of my shoulders and lean into connecting with my family and friends, I’ll get to be with them in person soon. Remember and record my feelings during this historic time so I can tell my grandchildren what it was like, just as my granny told me about living though the dust bowl and the great depression. My future self also tells me that she’s proud of me for doing the best I can in a difficult situation. She tells me I’m stronger than I think I am.


Once you’ve got the message from your future-self clear. Write it down and post that note where you’ll see it often. In that way, you’re borrowing some energy and strength from your future self.


I hope you’ve found some support in sharing a couple of questions from listeners. If you’d like some support from me this season, be sure to connect on the BYF Facebook page or Instagram or email me at Take care of yourselves and you loved ones this season. Talk to you soon!

We talked a little in our last episode about reframing connection – getting to the real foundation of connection and getting creative about how to achieve connection in a new way that fit’s with everyone’s idea of Covid safety.

Covid Christmas Celebration Part 2

Want help creating a safe and celebratory Christmas? This episode finishes our exploration of Covid Christmas Core Values and gets your creativity flowing with practical and fun ideas for a great celebration, even during a pandemic. Be sure to get the resources from  at on the podcast page for this episode. Happy Holidays, friends!


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Hey friends! Welcome to the second bonus episode of the Boss Yourself First Podcast. We’re taking this “between seasons” time to talk about a Covid Christmas Celebration. If you missed our last episode, go back and have a listen to hear the first part of our discussion on the core values of a Covid Christmas – they are – Connection, Clarity, Courage, Kindness, Creativity and Celebration.  Last episode we discussed connection, clarity, courage and kindness,  while today we’re focusing on creativity and celebration.

I’m dropping these two episodes together so that you can take them on all at one go if you wish, or you can choose to separate them. Also because today’s episode has a gift for you listeners, that I couldn’t wait to give you. It is my Christmas present to each of you who take the time to hang out here with me. I think of you all the time and am so grateful for you!

Remember our core values are beliefs that guide our thoughts and behaviors so that we show up in life the way we want to show up and create  impact that feels authentic. In this extraordinary season, where our pandemic concerns are in conflict with our deep desire for the comfort of family and traditions, we are leaning into the core values of connection, clarity, courage, kindness, creativity and celebration. The most important aspect of learning to lean into core values is to keep them front of mind. So, I hope you are embracing them, posting them in a way you’ll see them regularly, and talking about them to make them yours – really appropriate them and apply them.

We talked a little in our last episode about reframing connection – getting to the real foundation of connection and getting creative about how to achieve connection in a new way that fit’s with everyone’s idea of Covid safety.

Technology (Video Calls) It goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway – use technology. Even without a pandemic, technology is an integral part of our daily lives so of course, let’s leverage that to build connection in new ways. Video calls – most of us have experienced an abundance of video calls over the last months whether it’s for work or school so much so that we become a bit weary of them. So yes, let’s use them but let’s use them creatively to build connection and create an experience that feels different than our ordinary work or school calls. First, keep in mind that while many of us have become seasoned with the technology of video calls, some members of our family or friend groups may not be so comfortable with them,  so a few practice runs with your less experienced members can set everyone up for success on the actual calls. And not everyone may have access to a computer with a camera and wifi but most people have phones and Zoom invites can include a dial in number for calls. It’s not the same as video but it’s still connection.

(Ideas)Ideas to make your calls different? Host a Christmas Zoom scavenger hunt with each participant on the call racing around their houses to find different Christmas related items and share their photo of it or the item itself first. Then move on to the next item or members could win by producing the most items on a scavenger hunt list. Items like cookie cutters, Christmas socks, candy cane, hot cocoa mix, Christmas mug, favorite ornament, a wrapped gift, a Christmas card. You get the idea. You could have everyone make their favorite beverage and share it on the call then everyone drinks while you take turns reading favorite holiday stories. You could have an ugly sweater contest and everyone votes on a poll for favorites in different categories. Sweater with most lights, ugliest sweater, I might actually wear that sweater – different categories are fun. If you have a lot of young children in your family, they could have an art show of something that shows their favorite thing about the holiday. You could have older members share about Christmas in other historic times – during a war, during the great depression, after 9/11 or just a personal past time that necessitated being away from home for Christmas. Another great way to work with this historic situation is to ask each family member to create a contribution for a  Covid Christmas time capsule. Give them some advance notice and let them choose an item they would like to include, then set up a call to explain to your current and  future family members why each item was and what you’ve each  learned from living through a global pandemic. Be sure to record this call, then download a copy to a flash drive to include in your time capsule. You can take the role of capsule coordinator and have everyone mail you their item and set a couple of times when you’ll open the capsule. Maybe next year, when the pandemic has lifted or maybe a few years down the road and then seal it back up to be opened maybe 10 years in the future when those who young now will not remember much about a Covid Christmas. You could host a round of online Christmas trivia. Honestly when you embrace creativity and connection, options are endless.

(Pass the Tin)Another great idea, I’m taking from the show The Kitchen on Food Network. They suggested that if you’re usually a part of a Christmas Cookie Exchange, consider a Covid Christmas variation. Make a batch of cookies, pack them in a tin with the recipe and send it to someone who would normally attend your exchange or just a cookie loving family member. Then that person, empties the tin, refills it with another batch of cookie and sends it to someone else. Great idea!

Since, for some of us, gathering to exchange gifts may not be a part of this Covid Christmas, so consider a few options –  remember we can get creative to build new approaches for old traditions or we can get creative and pause our traditions and go opposite in this upsided-down time – or some hybrid of the two approaches. What I’m asking you to do is lean into the Covid Christmas Core Values, which ever approach you take. When you do that, you will open up to new possibilities instead of being stuck in what you’re not experiencing this season.

(Money Options) If you’re not gathering to exchange gifts, think creatively about what to do with the money you would usually invest in the gifts. Options might be to pool your resources and support a charity during what can be a very lean season for some. Agree to each open a savings account with your gift money to finance a trip together and plan a Christmas day Zoom call to brainstorm where to go, and what to see and do. Spend you gift money sending each other small gifts throughout the season. Then plan a Christmas day call to express gratitude and explain why you chose the gifts. You could add a weekly theme to the small gifts to give everyone an extra challenge.

(Christmas Full House) I’m going to share what my family is doing for a Covid Christmas Celebration and  here is where my gift to you comes in. My family is doing a Christmas Full House. Now normally full house would imply we are gathering together. Everyone spends the night at my home, my parents all the way down to my grandchildren. And we spend most of Christmas day in pajamas eating, opening presents, playing games and laughing. Most of us dress and reconvene in the dining room for a big meal around 4pm. Where we eat and then play more games, some of the family goes home that evening and some stay through the next day. This year, because we have several high-risk members and a couple of strongly risk-averse members, we are choosing to not gather. It took me a while to get my head around that and the result of my own processing and helping my clients process through their Covid celebrations is the content of these bonus episodes and the Christmas Full House plan that I’m gifting to my family and to you.

Christmas Full house is similar to Bingo but you fill the whole page not just five in a row. We’re choosing to allocate some of our gifting money to support this family season-long activity. The game card is made up of a grid with different celebration related activities. The goal is to be the first to complete the page, we’re competing for an outrageously decked out trophy. But you can make your’s a competition or just a group activity. You can also send this out and invest a bit in sending supplies for activities or let each individual come up with their own supplies, so no real investment is neaded from you. I’ll share a few of the activites on the full house card. The added bonus of doing this is you can build a  few video calls around the activities and do them together. On two of the squares, the activity is making ornaments. I have sent each family the supplies to make a couple of different ornaments and we will zoom together while we’re making them. I’ll include the instructions for those ornaments in a download as well as the Christmas Full House game card for you on our website in the podcast section under this episode. Probably one of my favorite activities and this is one you don’t even have to do the Christmas Full House card to add it to your family celebration, is contributing to a family Christmas playlist. You create a playlist on Spotify, share it with family members and ask them to add a couple of songs that mean Christmas to them or is meaningful to  whatever holiday you’re celebrating. Then set up a call to talk about why they added those songs. You will share things and connect in ways that you wouldn’t have without Covid.

(Resources) Be sure to grab your resources on the Boss Yourself First website in the podcast section under this episode and join the Boss Yourself First Facebook Group for live chats with me about celebrating a Covid Christmas. I’d love to connect with you!

This season will be different. Relax and let that settle into you brain, then stop fighting it, and lean into the Covid Christmas Core Values to help you navigate the changes and create amazing experience for yourself and your families. May you each have a joyful and blessed holiday season. So much love and good thoughts are coming your way, I’ll talk with you soon!

Covid Christmas Celebration Part 1

Struggling about how to celebrate in a pandemic? This bonus episode is exploring the obstacles to and strategies for planning a Covid Christmas  (or the holiday of your choice) celebration. We lean on core values to manage our holiday mindset and focus our planning. Listen and get help for the holidays!


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Hey Friends, Welcome to a bonus episode of the Boss Yourself First Podcast. I know we’re between seasons but the next few bonus episodes will be short explorations on how to celebrate a Covid Christmas. At the time of this recording we’re just past Thanksgiving in the US and moving into the holiday season. No matter what you’re celebrating this season, I bet your tradition involves gathering with others to celebrate. I know our family gathers in fact we talked a little about the frustration and even depression I was dealing with earlier in season While in planning mode for the upcoming holidays. Yeah I start early like in late September.  

As I said we just celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US and already doctors and hospitals are warning of a Covid rise because of our family gatherings. I want to take a few minutes to explore how we can process the frustration, anger, grief and still enter into a season of celebration. Now I’m going to use Covid Christmas because that is what my family celebrates and you know how I love alliteration but you can apply these principles to whatever holiday you and your family celebrate. Also, one thing before we get started. I’m presenting these ideas briefly and simply but that doesn’t mean I think this is easy work. I have wrestled and continue to wrestle through the same issues you and my clients are working through. So please forgive me if this sounds like I think this season in a pandemic is no big deal. It’s a very big deal and that’s why I want to have this conversation.


First – remember that we can hold many emotions about the same issue. This helps because while we don’t distract or numb out from difficult emotions we can lean into powerful and more desirable emotions to motivate and maintains thoughts and actions that help us celebrate. For more on this technique, check out Season 1 Episode 9 of the podcast. But I put this out there as an encouragement that a Covid Christmas is not an all or nothing proposition. We have the capacity to feel both the ups and downs of this season and yet choose our actions based on supportive emotions.


This is first because I want you to give yourself permission to feel all the feelings about your upcoming holidays. I want to keep this episode brief and practical. So right now, say it out loud if our in a situation that permits it, I am allowed to feel all the feelings. Repeat this as needed.


Super, now that we have permission to feel the feelings. Let’s explore our approach to a covid Christmas celebration. I do a lot of work with individuals and teams on core values. These are beliefs that guide your decisions and behavior to keep you showing up the way you want to show up and living your life or doing your work in a way that feels authentic. In these bonus episodes we are focusing on what I believe are the Core Values of a Covid Christmas Celebration. These values that can get us through and even help us thrive in a Covid Christmas. I’m going to tell you the values and then we’re going to break them down over two episodes. Here are the values  – Connection, Clarity, Courage, Kindness, Creativity and Celebration. Also, I’ve laid these our linearly but in reality they overlap, which you’ll see as we go along.



Think about the main reasons we celebrate – connection to each other, to our beliefs, to our past and our future as we pass traditions on to next generation. Traditions by the way are behaviors we repeat at certain times based on our beliefs that build connections in an almost unconscious way.

Because connection is a main component of our traditions. Our drive is really strong to continue our traditions and right now that runs smack into our restrictions around Covid and that powerful and sneaky opponent of caution fatigue.

There is a kafauffle locally, I live just west of Denver and the buzz in the news the last few days is because Denver Mayor Michael Hancock traveled to Mississippi to be with his wife and daughter for thanksgiving after urging almost begging all of us living in the Denver Area not to travel or mix households for our celebration. Okay, this is a great example of the pull of our desire for connection overcoming our rational thoughts. Mayor Hancock said he didn’t want to let his daughter down. He’d already committed to the trip a month earlier, his wife was already there,  having helped his daughter recently relocate to Mississippi. When we get some context we can sympathize. His connection with his family was so important, he didn’t take his own advise.

The urge for connection is strong, it’s one of our core Covid Christmas values and we need to reframe what connection means and how it shows up. But before we do that, let’s take on a force that makes us want to connect in traditional ways more than ever before and that force is caution fatigue. Our first step to reframing what connection means and how it shows up is to reckon with what is blocking a new mindset around connection and that is caution fatigue. How do we deal with it? First, recognize that it is a real thing.

Recognize that caution fatigue is real – there is a reason the expression familiarity breeds contempt has staked a claim in the cliché hall of fame. We’ve kept company with Covid for the last 8-11 months depending on where you live. We’re no longer shocked by the numbers of cases, or hospitalizations. We get that testing takes a while and lines are long. We get that chapped hands are to be expected to be protected. We get that staying home is the best protection. But we’re tired of it. We haven’t forgotten the freedom to gather at an amazing concert or theater, we’re starving for connection and collective energy. We’re weary of fighting an enemy we can’t see or really predict. We’re exhausted with trying to figure out the right thing to do and even if we decide what right looks like? Hundreds of others are loudly proclaiming that we’re wrong and their opinions are actually the right thing to do. What do we, in non-Covid times do to unpack and reenergize when life is hard and confusing? We lean into the familiar and family. So, no wonder we are longing to connect and honor our traditions. How do we deal with this wearing down of our energy to deal with Covid, especially in the face of our desire to connect during the holidays?

Remember this is temporary – we have hope, vaccines are coming and until then we can choose to use the tools we have to fight, I think about Lord of the Rings when Gandolf has promised to come and bring help at dawn. Those who are fighting are keeping track of the time, knowing if they can hold on until dawn, the battle will turn in their favor. Notice that we are beating this enemy and that precautions taken now are an investment in Celebration 2021. Remember this is temporal, this hard season will end – not in time for this Christmas but it will end.

Not only is this temporary, this is historic – we’ll explore  itno this a little more next time but this is a moment in history that will always be remembered. How will you rise to the occasion? What do you want to be your legacy from this historic experience? It has helped me wrap my mind around this historic time to look at examples of other historic times that have required sacrifice and separation.

Okay, now that we’ve addressed the obstacle of caution fatigue, let’s dive into what living out the core value of connection could look like in Covid.

(Connection) (Clarity)  Keep connection front of mind. Think of every encounter and conversation being filtered by the value of connection? This includes those you live with and those you are currently living distanced from. Keep the idea of connection top of mind, and I’m focusing on conversation because communicating is a foundation of connection.  As you speak think do these words enhance connection or make it vulnerable? Now to be clear, this doesn’t mean we shy away from tough conversations but we choose our language based on the desired outcome of connection. Not only is communication foundational but genuine connecting communication must be clear to be effective Now add clarity to the mix. As Brene’ Brown says, clear is kind. Which also supports our kindness core value. Really try to understand what risk means to the person you are engaging. Then help them understand what risk means to you. Think about an incident from a client of mine. She is a young mom with two small children. She has a health compromised member in her household and has been really cautious through the whole pandemic. Yet she has a three year old who needs socialization and she herself holds relationships as a super high value. A friend with a young son invites her over for a playdate. She her little one has been especially restless the last few days, she missed gathering with her extended family for thanksgiving, it will just be a couple of extra people and she trusts her friend to have been careful. She goes to the playdate only to find out after they had been there for about 30 minutes that her friends’ son had been with young cousins over thanksgiving and now has a stopped up nose and sore throat. My client is appalled that her friend invited her to come over when her child is sick. When she expressed concern to her friend, the mom said, well, I’m not too worried and I’m not going to rush out to get him tested. Even if it’s covid, for his age, it’s not likely to be a big deal. For some of us, like my client we feel outraged over this story. Just so you know, my client packed up her son, went home and is currently quarantining she and her three year old in the upstairs of her home away from her vulnerable family member. She’s also communicated with her friend how betrayed she feels and has effectively ended the relationship.This whole scenario could have been avoided with clear, kind, courageous conversation that was based on keeping connection without compromising each individual’s understanding of safety. Covid is providing many opportunities to practice these skills that serve us well whether there is a pandemic or not.

With connection and clarity in mind get really specific in these conversations, get clear on the precautions that everyone in your family is comfortable with. Will we wear masks, will we eat together, will we be outside, can we open windows, how many will be there – Clear is kind. One caution, a quick short circuit to connection is judgement. Stay out of judgement by seeking to understand and as we started this episode with giving ourselves permission to feel all the feelings, give that same permission to everyone else. That doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior, we all choose whether or not to act on our emotions but we are allowed to feel them and others are too. Watch out for judgement – a quick way to avoid judgement is to ask yourself “ I wonder what experiences and circumstances are feeding this other person’s feelings and thoughts? Let empathy and seeking to understand others keep judgement at bay.” And connection front of mind

Connection trumps being proven right – because you’re valuing connection you must let it take the lead over your need to be right. This doesn’t mean compromising on your beliefs or safety but it does mean that you don’t have to take on the role of enforcer or make a case for your point of view that could be proven in a court of law. It is enough to know that you are making the best decision that you cam at the time and allow others to make the best decision they can as well. This means breathing through those family triggers that involve guilt, shame, politics and pandemics. Base your actions on what you believe and let others do the same without judging them. This is also connected with being offended. We get offended when our sense of right and wrong feels threatened. I’m not saying let go of right and wrong but I am saying let go of the need to be proven right and if you find yourself feeling offended, let that be a beacon that you need to prioritize connection and stay out of judgement.  Remember connection trumps being proven right.

Reframe connection Think about what connection looks like traditionally and look at the roots of that connection. If you are choosing not to gather or to gather differently, how can you create the essence of connection. Now because this is probably not your traditional way of connecting, it will take more intention and energy. And now we’re folding in the core value of creativity here as well. But creativity also brings Fresh energy and intention to investing in those you love and it’s those you love is empowering. We’re choosing new ways to connect that covid can’t take away.  Is it being in the kitchen together preparing family favorites? Get close or go opposite with your actions. Meaning, set up a zoom call and make sure everyone has the family recipes. Set call so that you’re in your individual kitchens at the same time. You can catch up while you cook or ask questions about the recipes in real time. Going opposite? This means opposite in traditional behavior while embracing the core value of connecting. Maybe you each prepare a new Covid Christmas dish, review it and share the recipe.

(Connection) (Kindness)Look at who you’re protecting by reframing connection. Who will benefit from this work you are doing this work of adding new energy and intention to connection.  and this may be yourself if you are vulnerable because of health issues, or anxiety or wired to be risk averse or certain that strict adherence to your own set of guidelines is right. That’s fine, because how much connection would you feel if you gather with a large family group but are constantly tense and the only one trying to maintain social distance, open windows or masked?

(Courage) Share the Despair – Don’t struggle alone because we all hit the wall at different times. As a mother of adult children, I forgot that I don’t have to carry this on my own. Two of my girls are weathering this storm at home and one is weathering it with her husband and two kids about an hour and 45 minutes from me. Talking with all of them about my longing to have our normal celebrations and what they might actually look like helped me tremendously. Our catch phrase for this season sounds like a downer but actually it is really freeing. “Share the despair” we are all disappointed not to be together, but we are all committed to getting through this with mutual commitment to communicating and connecting creatively. My oldest daughter said, “This is hard, Mom, but we can do it and next year we’re going full Hallmark for Christmas.” I found this so reassuring, that our old traditions are not forgotten or devalued by pausing them this year – in fact we’ll have greater appreciation for them into future. Courage to try something different.  Courage to present new ways to connect and at least temporarily, face the discomfort of letting go of traditions. Courage to miss others to protect them. Sometimes it takes so much more courage to try something new with people you love.

(Kindness) Lean into otherness – I remember when my girls were little and I gleaning parenting advise from any credible source, someone said to model Otherness for my children so they would learn to be accepting and caring adults. They talked about otherness actions like returning the shopping cart to a cart corral to prevent peoples’ cars being scratched, or blocking parking spaces and making easier work for those gathering up carts. Not only was I to model otherness, I was to explain to my young children why my actions were considerate of others, so I looked for ways to practice otherness and while I think it was beneficial for my children, I know it was and still is beneficial to me. There are many ways to practice otherness but I bring up the grocery cart example because in that practice, someone showed otherness to me. There was a day like many parents have had when my oldest had a melt-down in the grocery store and my infant was fussy. You know a day when the other shoppers either avoided eye contact and moves away from you or gave you a sympathetic glance and then moved away from you. When I came out of the store with screaming children, carrying one who’d gone boneless, pushing a too full cart and trying to find the pacifier for the cranky baby, I realized it was snowing. I wrestled my kids into the car and was just finishing unloading the cart into the back of my car when I turned to take the cart to the corral that seemed very far away at the time when I locked eyes with one of those sympathetic strangers I’d seen in the store. It was an older gentleman, who was about to get in his car and he said you leave that cart, I’m sure you’d like to scoot on home. I’ll see to it. And he did. It was an unexpected connection and kindness from someone who was no longer in that life season – who expressed concern and understanding with his words and actions. We can often get a lot more energy to be cautious when we lean into otherness. Otherness makes room in our minds for different context. For acting out of kindness even when we don’t understand everyone else’s situation.

Here’s why otherness can help with our Covid Christmas – I’ve learned in working with my clients that some of us are hard-wired to take risks, while some of us are hard-wired to be strongly risk-averse and some of us are in the middle – taking risks in some areas but not in others. The space created by practicing otherness allows us to remove judgement from those who are wired differently. If we operate in otherness, then we can entertain the idea that hey, maybe that mask wearer is wired to be really risk averse while I thrive on the challenge that risk creates. I’m going to show up in a way that they do not feel like my presence creates risk for them. That’s otherness.

When you lean into otherness, you plan your celebration according to the most vulnerable and most risk-averse people in your friend and family group. Keep your eye on connection and celebration as you plan. That means staying away from shaming or just pursuing “normal” celebrations and saying that it’s their choice as to whether they are involved. That just creates tension and disconnection and remember that is the opposite of our values for this Covid Christmas.

As you contemplate what your Covid Christmas looks like, operate out of otherness. After all what better way to celebrate the season of giving but to sacrifice your own desires for the wellbeing of others.

If you want to apply the principles we’ve talked about today, I really encourage you to support these thoughts with your input so that your output matches your core values. You’re really just steeping yourselves in the Covid Christmas Core Values.


 O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi – a Christmas story of self-sacrifice.

The Greatest Generation – a great one to read aloud or on your own and ponder those whose lives were shaped by otherness.

Rosamind Pilcher’s Coming Home  – This is a gentle read yet a great depiction of a young girl learning about self-sacrifice through the years of World War 2.

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Bells of St. Mary’s

Cinderella – The new one – emphasizes courage and kindness


These are some resources that I’ve come up with, but I bet some have come to mind for you over the course of our conversation. I’d love to hear about them. Jump inside the Boss Yourself First Face Book Group and let’s share our resources. We’re also going to have a FB Live discussion about all things Covid Christmas.

The last thing I have for you dear listeners, to support your Covid Christmas Core Values, is a graphic with the values and supporting ideas depicted. Make this a screen saver you’ll see when you email your family and friends, or when you do that online Christmas shopping.  You can print and post it on your bathroom mirror or at your desk. Keep them front of mind and they will serve you well.

Next time we’re focusing on creativity and celebration. I’d love to hear from you about your Covid Christmas or other holiday celebration. What’s working for you? Are you embracing these core values? Also, it would be a real gift if you would take time to leave a podcast review wherever you listen to this podcast, it helps others find the podcast and it encourages your host

Until next time,

Take Care