The Best Gift....Especially in a Pandemic

communication, community, compassion, covid-19, empathy, exhaustion, expectations, food, friends, gifts, gratitude, holiday, illness, keeping calm, kindness, loss, love, meltdowns, memories, pandemic, parenting, working, worry -

The Best Gift....Especially in a Pandemic

Originally Published 11/24/2020

Holidays can be a hard time for anyone, but 2020 may be the worst of all.

It's Thanksgiving Eve.

According to NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, in his November 23, 2020 press conference, the best way to show your extended family you love them, is to stay home. NYS has a mandated limit of 10 person get-togethers. We are supposed to eat outdoors, wear masks, and shorten the visits.

I get it. It's what we are doing at my house.

My sister was exposed to COVID-19 so she's in quarantine. My kids all have "front of the house" jobs, so they are showing their love from afar. It's me, Michael, my mom and brother - our Pod Family - We are serving 4 pies for 4 people, because it's comfort food, and comfort is important.

Cuomo stressed that infection rates are rising in NYS

In a normal year, it's fun to get caught up in a gifting, decorating, cooking, and planning frenzy. Plans for Black Friday and holiday gift shopping, baking cookies and caroling, and most importantly, getting together with friends and family for long parties, and short.

Each of these activities can spread the virus, and can exponentially increase the infection rate!

This year is requiring a whole re-imagining on how we do holidays.

1. Black Friday at New Baby New Paltz is just like the election! We have early shopping, shop-by-mail and socially distanced in-person shopping spread out from now through Cyber Monday Night. 

(Unlike voting, you can shop more than once!)

Check out our new Gifts section.

Holidays remind us to reconnect with the important people in our lives.

Though, each holiday brings another opportunity to connect and most families make some attempt. Even though they may end in fights, most families keep trying. Most families set some rules on gift-giving, length of stays, and what you can talk about, and more importantly, what you can't. 

But in the end when everyone is upset, especially you, you may wonder why your family falls so short of the Norman Rockwell American vision and why your child is lying on the floor kicking and screaming.

I am going to ask you to put your expectations on hold for a minute or two.

Most families are not like Norman Rockwell paintings. Martha Stewart has staff and Photoshop rules the day.

You are normal in all of it's humanity!

When things feel overwhelming, stop what you are doing and take a few moments. Pull your baby or child into your lap. Look into their eyes, smell the top of their head, Take a deep beath. Let it out. Smile at your child (even if it feels fake at first!).

  • Remember that your child only wants your love and attention. They may ask for the other stuff too, but it's nothing without your love and attention.
  • Your partner only wants your love and attention.
  • Your parents only want your love and attention.

Yesterday, our governor, Andrew Cuomo, interrupted our day to bring us more news about the state of the pandemic in New York State. You may be familiar with his press conferences. If you aren't you might look them up on YouTube 

 If you are unemployed or home taking care of kids, you might feel funny asking for gifts or money because you don't feel you can reciprocate.  Or, you may resent that you are back at work, worried about COVID-19 and can't create a picture perfect holiday, because you are just too tired and who are you creating it for anyway? You may have family that is difficult to be around - critical, argumentative and judgmental - and it is amplified, because of the need for masks and social distancing.


And, you can't give them your love and attention if you are wallowing in overwhelm.

Instead of wondering why the people around you are the way they are, give them your love and attention with gifts of attention.

A phone call, a real letter with a picture of the baby, a shopping or lunch date, now, or in a few weeks, a visit, cooking a meal together, family game night, "a real date, in a real restaurant, with a real babysitter," or the classic three-in-one gift: a stay-at-home date for you and your partner with your kids sleeping at Grandma's...

Whatever... Get out your crayons or computer and start making gift certificates. And try not to make the gift certificates PERFECT!

It takes courage. You will probably feel all kinds of discomfort at first. Stay with it. It will get more comfortable, I promise.

Your mother-in-law may not "get it".  You may still have to buy a flannel shirt for Uncle Joe because he's just too weird, and everyone else will say:

"This is the best gift I have ever received."

My Love to you and your family,


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