Over 50s Lifestyle

Making Christmas Happen in 2020 despite COVID-19

December 20, 2020
Making Christmas Happen in 2020 despite COVID-19

Christmas cancelled! That was the headline of an email I received today from a media source.

It’s easy for me to discuss making Christmas happen in 2020 because I’m in the enviable position of not living with tight restrictions due to COVID-19. My heart goes out to all of you who have been affected and will not be able to spend Christmas with your families in the physical sense. Whether it is because of COVID or because you have lost a loved one and there is an empty chair at the table. I saw this on A Healing Spirit Facebook Page which I wanted to share with you.

For me, our Christmas traditions have changed this year because we lost my Mother-In-Law at the end of October. Nonna, as we called her, was a huge part of our Christmas and until a few weeks ago, my husband in particular, was not in the mood to feel Festive. This was quite understandable.

I’ve written about my Women’s Circle of friends who I meet via Zoom each week. Some of them will be in lock down for Christmas and I was inspired by their ability to overcome their initial feelings of disappointment and come up with some creative ideas to Make Christmas Happen in 2020 despite COVID-19.

My statement for 2020 was Make It Happen and I reflected on that in my last post, ‘Reflecting on 2020 and yes, there were some positives’ so I’m sharing some of their ideas as well as other ideas I’ve found which may help you overcome your ‘low’ feelings and enjoy the Festive Season in some way.

If you are having difficulties coping reach out to family, friends or seek professional help from organisations such as LifeLine 13 11 14

Making Christmas Happen in 2020 despite COVID-19

Focus on Family using Technology

Zoom has been a saviour to many during 2020 as a way to stay connected with others. My friend, Donna Connolly from Retirement Reflections is not allowing COVID to interrupt her Christmas. Her Mum will be 96 in January so saying ‘oh well, there will be other Christmases’, may not be the case for Donna to share with her Mum. Rather than having a pity party, Donna has set up a Zoom Christmas Meal with her and Richard’s immediate families, including her Mum and also Richard’s sister who has never used Zoom before. The family is delighted and I know Donna also has a special surprise for them all but you will have to follow her blog to read about that later.

Use the time to Modify your Traditions

For us, we always had my children & grandchildren and Mike’s children & grandchildren and Nonna gather together the weekend before Christmas. It has been a tradition for over 20 years and a lovely way to spend Christmas with a blended family.

Loncaric Get-Together 2020

This year, as I mentioned was going to be a non-event because Nonna wouldn’t be here and also we now live in an apartment which was not conducive to hosting a gathering of 15+ adults and children. This year, we have modified our tradition and still had the Loncaric get-together with Mike’s children in a more ‘low-key’ way and we will spend Christmas day with mine. Nonna was always at both events so I’m sure she was and will be with us in spirit.

Have a Virtual Christmas Party with Friends

I attended my first Virtual Christmas Party yesterday and we had a ball. You might think that having a Party using Zoom would not have the same atmosphere but we all entered into the spirit of things and there was much laughter and joy. Peta Gillian from Strong Healthy Women organised a Virtual Christmas Party for all of her clients who work out in the Virtual Studio.

We all received a Christmas box in the mail with a note: ‘NO PEEKING!’ At the party we opened our boxes and felt thoroughly spoilt as you can see from the photo. We played Christmas pictionary, Bingo and Peta included a journal and pen for us all to plan our 2021 with the focus of including ‘me time’. We also each had a different question to answer and then nominate another person to answer the same question. It was a great way to get to know each other better. One question was: What is your favourite part of the Christmas Meal? and one lady answered: ‘Not having to do the dishes!’

I was reminded that Strong Healthy Women is more than just working out. It is a strong community of women 50+ developed over time by Peta and Sally-Anne who are dedicated, appreciate and care about the women in their SHW community.

A community that cares and supports each other during workouts and also socially and through friendship.

I’m very honoured to be part of that community and as a trainer being able to help these beautiful women live active and healthy lives. We are starting the Metabollic Jump Start Challenge on January 11th to help you start your year on track to a healthy lifestyle. It is free, so click here if you would like to find out more information. I hope to see you there!

Keep doing what you’ve always done

No I don’t mean breaking restrictions and lockdown if you are in that situation but as my friend, Christie from So, What? Now, What? posted on her Facebook page:

I missed my usual helpers this year, but nothing—not even a pandemic—can stop the Christmas cookie baking.

Make the effort and dress up for Christmas Day even if it is only you. This is great advice from my friend Gina from Lime Life by Alcone. You might not feel like it, but putting an effort into your appearance does lift your spirits.

Bring some joy to your day to make you smile

Sometimes it is difficult to find joy when life has been so hard. We can tire of all the inspirational quotes that are flooding Facebook. The other day I found this YouTube video shared on Facebook. Now you might not be a Mariah Carey fan and skip the intro if you must, but watch this and I guarantee you will be dancing and singing along.

If that didn’t work I also found this on BBC One Facebook with the adorable Dawn French from the Vicar of Dibley. It sums up 2020 I think but will definitely bring a smile to your face.

Remember the true meaning of Christmas

Whilst we all celebrate the Festive Season in our own way and with our own beliefs there is no getting away from the real reason we celebrate Christmas – the birth of Christ, kindness, love and goodwill.

Thank you all for your support of my Women Living Well After 50 blog and the personal support you have shown me this year. I wish you and your families love, health and happiness especially for a better 2021.

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Erica/Erika December 20, 2020 at 09:41

    I have mentioned to you before, Sue, how I still enjoy you sharing all of the good and your Christmas happiness leaps from the pages. It puts a smile on my face. You and your family will still go through waves and likely a roller coaster of emotions this holiday season with losing your Mother-in-law. As you know, it can also make moments together even more precious.

    I love Donna’s version on how she and Richard are making it happen. Your virtual Christmas party looks like it was a great deal of fun. Many good ideas. A beautiful post, Sue, especially the true meaning of Christmas. I wish health and happiness to you and your loved ones in 2021. I look forward to joining you there. xx ❤️

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 20, 2020 at 17:07

      Thank you dear Erica for always commenting in such a positive and supportive way. Life is not too bad at the moment but as you say there will be times when we are on the downhill ride. I’m feeling stronger and we did enjoy our family get-together for which I am so very grateful. Fingers crossed we will see my children and grandchildren on Christmas Day, although as I write, the borders to Greater Sydney have been closed for those coming into Queensland. There will be many families affected by this which is so sad. Take care my friend and look forward to you joining me on our journey through 2021. xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au December 20, 2020 at 12:16

    Hi Sue – I’m BEYOND grateful that we can spend Christmas with our kids and our extended families. To me, Christmas is about celebrating love, family, the birth of Christ,and the warmth and joy that comes with taking time away from the usual routines to be together. My heart goes out to those who can’t do this, but the resilience and creativity shown by others who are making the best they can of this awful pandemic never ceases to amaze me and make my heart smile. Happy Christmas my friend – enjoy your family time and Nonna’s presence in spirit xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 20, 2020 at 17:03

      Hi Leanne, we are very, very lucky and as I write this Queensland has just closed the borders to Greater Sydney. Thank you for your friendship and support during 2021 and also Happy Christmas to you, Ross and your family. Enjoy every precious moment. xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones December 20, 2020 at 14:59

    Hi Sue. It’s been a difficult year and I’m sure many will be further distressed by the latest restrictions affecting Christmas. Our Christmas plans have been cancelled due to breaking my arm. We were due to go to family this weekend for celebrations but I had to stay home to wait for the call to surgery. But I’m very grateful to otherwise have good health.

    • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 December 20, 2020 at 16:58

      I am so lucky Jen that at the moment Queensland is okay but who knows? Tomorrow it might all change. It is the uncertainty that affects people isn’t it? I do hope your surgery happens soon and you aren’t in too much pain. Best wishes for a healthier and happier 2021 and thanks for your support this year. xx

  • Reply Leigh Roberson December 21, 2020 at 02:56

    Excellent article! Flexibility to change has been key for our family as well. It’s OK to do it a little different this year.
    Hoping your Christmas is filled with joy!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2020 at 11:47

      Thank you Leigh! We all need to be flexible and accepting even though it is very difficult for some. I am so fortunate at the moment not to have any restrictions in place but that could change as a new cluster has formed in Sydney and our borders are now closed to residents in the Greater Sydney area. Best wishes and joy to you and your family for Christmas and 2021. x

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt December 21, 2020 at 04:38

    Merry Christmas, Sue! A strange one indeed. Technology is great when we have it. Our church has been holding their short advent on zoom, which has been a blessing. Now that we’ve moved to Washington our entire holiday is different this year. I feel sorry for so many folks who live in rural areas, or families who can’t afford frills and can’t get good internet so they end up isolated. Fingers crossed for a better 2021!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2020 at 11:45

      Marry Christmas to you Terri and I see you will be spending it in your new home. Hopefully 2021 will be better and brighter for all. I’m sending love and hugs from Australia and enjoy your Festive Season no matter what you are doing. xx

  • Reply Sue-Anne at SisterStay December 21, 2020 at 04:43

    Thanks, Sue. A lot of great tips in there especially for us here in deepest Tier 4 Lockdown Land. My nieces and their partners are no longer able to come to us for Christmas Day but we are all playing games online together, including an interactive escape room which I am very excited about! The spirit of Christmas will prevail. Thanks for the fab James Corden clip!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2020 at 11:44

      Hi Sue-Anne, it must be difficult for you all. Sydney now has a cluster which is growing, so Qld has closed it’s borders to Greater Sydney residents again. I feel for families who had planned to be with loved ones this year and are now cancelling any travel. I’m sure the spirit of Christmas will prevail and I’m interested to hear more of what an interactive escape room is. Best wishes to your and your family. xx

  • Reply Donna Connolly December 21, 2020 at 10:14

    Hi, Sue –
    Thank you for the mention. For the past couple of months, I feel that every Christmas Plan, Revised Christmas Plan and Revised-Revised Christmas Plan that I’ve made has been stomped on due to new (and ever-changing) restrictions. I understand and support the reasons behind the restrictions, but that doesn’t always make it easier. However, the Zoom Christmas Plan is still ON! I greatly look forward to it. And yesterday, I received a Christmas Care Package from a friend on the other side of the world. It’s kindness like this that will be long remembered while the minor frustrations quickly fade away!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2020 at 11:43

      My pleasure Donna. You inspire me with your creativity and ‘I get knocked down but I get up again’ attitude. It must have been a lovely surprise for you to receive a surprise delivery. I’m sure whoever sent it was waiting with excited anticipation to see your reaction. Take care and enjoy your Zoom Christmas Plan. Looking forward to continuing our friendship in 2021. Sending love and hugs. xx

  • Reply Michele Somerville December 21, 2020 at 11:18

    You offer lots of rich suggestions. I especially like “Modify your traditions” the season we are in can give us an opportunity to not give up but rethink and even to consider new traditions, even if they are temporary. We are far away from our family so most major holidays it is just us and the dog, but that is okay. We make phone calls or check in on Facebook and while I miss our family, I relish in the quiet time. Like other places, we are holding our breath, we have reservations for a state park for the week after Christmas, but that could always change “by order of the Governor.” We will take it in stride. Christmas blessings, Michele

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 21, 2020 at 11:41

      Hi Michele, I do think that this is the perfect year to re-evaluate how we celebrate Christmas and focus on what really matters rather than the commercial hype. I am very lucky at the moment not to have any restrictions however, Sydney now has an outbreak which means our borders to them are closed again. It has certainly been a roller-coaster ride this year. Best wishes to your for a happy and holy Christmas and hopefully a happier 2021 for all xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris December 21, 2020 at 18:34

    I too feel for those who will have their plans for Christmas and the holidays altered due to Covid. Your post is lovely, positive and empathetic, just like you! The tips are useful and realistic and will be helpful to many I’m sure. I’m fortunate that I am able to be with family as planned, but for a while there it was looking dicey! It’s certainly been a year of change. Take care and enjoy your time. I love Donna’s plan by the way xx

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