I asked my 8-year-old daughter what she wanted for Christmas this year, and she said (sternly) “I want COVID gone, Mommy – I am done with it!” and I cannot disagree with her; this pandemic has been difficult for all of us.

Although our holiday season will look different this year, I still want to view it as a time of peace, joy, and hope for the future, as we do every year. I want my daughter to know that COVID-19 cannot cancel the holidays – but it is up to us to find new, safe ways to celebrate.  Perhaps more than in years past, I want to see the kindness and love we are all capable of shine through. So, I have three simple wishes this holiday season.

I wish for peace

I am truly grateful for the service and commitment of our agencies, partners, and volunteers who are on the front lines working tirelessly so we can provide safe access to food for all. I hope everyone can enjoy a few days to relax, recharge, and recognize the difference you are making, right now. Then come back rested (and still wearing those masks) to continue providing food and hope in 2021.

I wish for joy

Amidst all the challenges, the struggles, and the sacrifices, my wish is for everyone to find joy in the simple things that the holidays bring – talking to a friend or family member, sharing a trip down memory lane, or watching an old holiday movie. I hope we find new ways to create joy this holiday season – and then share it with others!  I try to remind my daughter and myself that kindness is contagious too and that a smile can cure a lot of things.

I wish for hope

The holiday season brings hope for new opportunities, new beginnings, a light in the darkness; I wish for a wave of hope to sweep over our region. I hope this year stands out because we finally refocused our energy and priorities on what truly matters in life. Above all, I hope that we can all be healthy and joyful.

So, as we look to put a bow on 2020, I choose to view this as the year we learned more about one another and ourselves. Let’s promise to show each other a little more grace and do whatever we need to do to protect one another, while focusing on the long-term goal that next year our holidays might be spent in person with those we love most. I wish you all a very safe and very happy holiday season filled with love, quiet moments of peace, tremendous joy, and of course, hope.