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I am realizing that it is pretty depressing to think about all the things I cannot do/ should not do during this pandemic holiday. It is easy to get down in the dumps bemoaning the holiday gatherings that aren’t happening.

So, I had a little talk with myself the other day. We decided that instead of thinking of all the things I am not doing this holiday, I am going to focus on the things I can do. This decision does force me to put on my creative brain. I am thinking about new ways to connect with family, friends, and the community. When celebrating holidays that are filled with tradition, that can be challenging, to say the least.

So consider yourself challenged. How can you join me in thinking about new, fun and meaningful ways to celebrate? We might even start some new traditions this year!

I received an email early in December asking if I would consider baking cookies to share. Count me in! I love to bake my traditional cookies, but fear the consequences if Dave and I try to consume them all ourselves. What a great idea to bake and share.

Our family met together via Zoom Thanksgiving morning. Six children ages six years to one month, seven adults, in four homes. It was great. Full of chaos for sure. But wonderful to see everyone at the same time. I am hoping that we can open our family gifts together using video chat as well. I have to admit that I really don’t mind the three old grabbing the phone and giving me the tour of the floor. What joy to hold Gramma in your hand and hear her voice and laughter! More laughter- that is one of my goals.

Many folks are taking this time to reconnect with friends from the distant past. It is amazing who you can find searching the world-wide web. This just might be the year for a phone call or a note to catch up. I haven’t sent out Christmas cards in years. Too busy I say. But I might send a few this year. They might be a little late. But I am thinking this is a good year for connecting with loved ones through whatever means I can manage.

Our communities are getting creative as well. Downtown Peterborough featured Santa in a snow globe during the first weekend of December. An out-of-the-box (so to speak) solution to bring Santa and children together. The Children and the Arts committee created a wonderland of lit lanterns. Santa greeted big and little folks in Jaffrey in the snowstorm.

Instead of our annual staff and board holiday gathering, The River Center staff are having a make- your-own center piece workshop via Zoom. We will have a fun time working on our project together and have something beautiful for our homes in the end. And yes, there will be plenty of laughter!

And I want to mention all those behind the scenes folks who quietly and generously buy gifts for those who need a little holiday boost this year and every year. They shop for specific requests, bring wrapping paper and bows, add little extras to give a smile, provide grocery cards to help with festive foods, and through their generosity bring joy to many homes in our community. Thank you to Tina Kriebel who coordinates this effort each year on behalf of The River Center and all the volunteers who she calls on to make it happen.

If the holidays have got you down and you are wondering how to deal all things that are not happening this year, please join Jill Morgan on the topic of Building Holiday Resilience on Tuesday, December 22, 7:00-8:00 PM via Zoom.  To register and receive the link for this program, go to Virtual Programs.

From all of us at The River Center Family and Community Resource Center, we wish you a joyous holiday!

Margaret Nelson, Executive Director

The River Center Family and Community Resource Center


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