The holiday season has arrived and many of us are already pouring on the Christmas tunes. In 2020, we can take all the positivity we can get! At the same time, as my kids open their advent calendars every day, I can feel the gravitational pull toward Christmas like a hurdling Polar Express, and I’m afraid it will be here and over before I know it.

The holidays will look different for my family this pandemic year, as we are not traveling to see loved ones, and we are not getting groups together indoors. Having been brought up in a family of medical professionals, I have some siblings who are in direct contact with COVID patients, while others, like my parents, are retired and among those most vulnerable to the disease. But I’m blessed to have many family members living locally—and who have invested in outdoor heaters!—and we get together outside frequently. We are always thinking of ways to safely and creatively share the convivium, such as how we shared Thanksgiving meals to eat in our separate homes this year. The food and tasty memories warmed our hearts despite the walls between us.

We’ve experienced ourselves the challenges of navigating varied boundaries surrounding the holidays and COVID, which is why we’re publishing this week a piece by a therapist offering tips for handling with grace your comfort level and expectations concerning gatherings. We also explore different holiday attire for 2020 which includes a nice array of pajamas, as well as the finer details for what few get-togethers you may have this year. You’ll also find this week a round-up of books you can snuggle up to over the holiday season, as well as an Iceland Christmas Eve tradition you might want to try with your loved ones, and a Netflix series that is sure to spark conversation and enjoyment with some friends and family members (our piece on The Queen’s Gambit will convince you to put it on your list, if you haven’t already!). And as always, check out our playlists for hours of enjoyable holiday tunes for whatever mood you’re in.

Whatever your holidays look like, I hope it is filled with light, love, and moments to breathe. And even if we can’t celebrate in all the same ways we used to, we can look for creative ways to help those around us in need.