This year’s holidays have already been and continue to be dramatically different, and no one is expecting anything to change come the start of 2021.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out ways to care for our loved ones, spread cheer and support other people in our communities now and in the coming year.
Those were among the messages highlighted in “Karamo’s Holiday Spectacular,” presented by Zelle®, a virtual event held on December 17, featuring the “Queer Eye” star interviewing Lesley-Ann Brandt of the Netflix series “Lucifer,” entertainment reporter Zuri Hall and choreographer Matt Steffanina. Guests discussed ideas for making this holiday and the new year special in light of a global crisis.
“Things we all have to remember as we’re going through this pandemic (are) why it’s important to connect with others, why it’s important to support others, and how can we remember the good in us and the things we love to do,” says Karamo. “That’s what’s going to get us through this moment so we can feel cheerful at the end of it.”
Here are a few other suggestions shared by the author and Emmy-nominated TV personality in that spirit.
Arrange virtual get-togethers with loved ones. They may require planning, but virtual conversations are the next best thing to hugging and conversing in person when sharing mutual support. “It’s going to be more important than ever to create some semblance of ‘normal’ in your life over these next few weeks,” Karamo advises. “Everything about 2020 is a pivot party; what you thought you were going to do, you’re not going to do, so you have to be flexible.”
Offer meaningful gifts, no matter your time, budget, or energy level. Giving thoughtful presents need not be labor-intensive, burdensome, or costly. Often, the smallest gestures show the most significant depth of feeling. And gifts of money are always appreciated; one survey by P2P digital payments network Zelle shows that 84% of consumers would rather receive money than other gifts.
One easy way of saying you care is to send the gift of money digitally, tagged with a kind note in the memo field suggesting your idea(s) for spending it. Thanks to Zelle, you can safely, quickly, and conveniently send money to those you know and trust with a bank account in the U.S. while enclosing a message of support — something like “For a hot latte on a cold winter morning” or “To spend on our first girls’ night after the pandemic.” Karamo suggests using Zelle to share virtual activities (and split the cost) with a friend. “I like to use my memo lines to offer words of encouragement for getting my loved ones through difficult times,” he reveals.
Support mental health and well-being by sharing moments of cheer. Remain aware of those in your life who may need a little extra emotional support and find small ways to help lift their spirits. “To combat feelings of loneliness or sadness, you’ll need to look for virtual opportunities to share the holidays with the people you love,” he suggests. “That can be time, gifts, or even money.”
Navigate family and “framily” relationships with care. It’s more critical than ever right now to express to loved ones how much you care about them. Use your time together to acknowledge each other’s strengths and to support each other through any difficulties. “While some of us will be mostly alone for the holidays, others will be with more family than usual,” Karamo points out. “That can be taxing or rewarding … (but) it’s important to make the time together meaningful.”
Help your community thrive. Volunteering or finding other ways to give back to your community can empower you and make you feel better, even as you’re helping others. Research backs that up: one Harvard Business School survey of happiness across 136 countries found that altruistic people — specifically those generous with charitable donations — are happier than others. Recent studies from Zelle found that people are volunteering 30% more this year than in 2019.
“(Social isolation) hasn’t stopped people from getting into the spirit of giving,” Karamo says. “Giving feels good, and the more you do it, the more you get out of it.” He notes that he likes to give back by leaving generous tips for service workers and supporting local restaurants by gifting people with Zelle payments, then inviting recipients to dine at those restaurants. “Every service provides a kind of joy,” he points out. “(This way) you’re not just spreading love — you’re spreading business.”