Accustomed to spending Christmas Day packed with beloved family, or close friends? Or a mixture of both, in a free-for-all party of fun and food? Now it is true, most of us do have a person who is a – um – least favorite relative, but we tolerate even them on that special holiday for a few hours. We simply choose to avoid them as much as possible and concentrate on making the day warm and bright for everyone in the house.

Sound familiar?

Well, now Covid-19 Christmas Day is upon us. And in most communities, we have been told to limit our gatherings to less than ten in our home. A fast count on your fingers, and you will quickly realize that it means many who are normally invited will have to be eliminated. But good grief, who? Loud-Mouth Uncle Larry, Know-It-All Nora, Complaining Cousin Cory? Oh, yeah, these are no-brainers.

But you, + your spouse + your own two kids living at home adds up to four. Invite any Grandmas and Grandpas, and you may have space at your table for only two or three more.

Ouch. Older child asking to bring a special friend home from college? Favorite aunt or uncle? Long-time friends who have been like family? Gee, sorry.

An impossible choice. But choose you will. And then attempt to ignore the feelings of guilt.

Now. The other side of the pancake.

You are one of those who had to be un-invited this horrible year. Or, for some other reason, your situation simply won’t allow you to be with loved ones. You know it, and it hurts. You are already depressed, just thinking of the fun and laughter you will miss. You will be home all alone, eating a cold sandwich over your kitchen sink and slurping a Coke straight from the can. Remembering earlier years of being included in that merry group gathered around the fireplace. Even listening to Uncle Larry dominate the conversation sounds good about now.

Your mood will spiral farther downward as the day wears on, while you wallow in memories and melancholy.

Don’t. Do. It.

Don’t give in to the temptation. Make up your mind ahead of time to rescue yourself. Realize you can and make some plans:

Contact your loved ones, then deliberately ignore what they are probably doing the rest of that day.

Fill your home with happy, upbeat music – none of that sad, morose stuff that will only make you sink lower.

Fix your favorite ‘Oh yeah, me-and-me-only’ meal, then sink into your favorite chair and enjoy every bite.

Indulge yourself shamelessly with your favorite movie, book or hobby.

Deliberately look around you and celebrate what you do have– there are many who have lost so much this year.

Spend some time with the One who is with you, and thank Him for the meaning of Christmas Day.

For your sake, make up your mind, and do it.

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