Holidays: 2020

Dr. Corinne Masur

This is Bear and Piggy, two Native American carved fetishes.  A creative woman I know sent them as a gift to a friend.  And as she packed them up in their box and thought about the trip they were about to make, she decided to write a story about this for the children in her family.  Because she could not actually be with the children this year due to Covid, she printed up a little board book with the story accompanied by photographs of Bear and Piggy emerging from their box.
This year we are all going to need to think outside of the box when it comes to the holidays.  Many of us are used to doing the same things each year – getting together with the same relatives at the same place, in the same way.  And these rituals are so comforting and so familiar that many of us are trying to figure out how we can continue them this year.
But, really, does this make any sense?
In many places Covid numbers are way up. They are higher than they were at the beginning of the pandemic; they are higher than they were during the summer.
This year calls for creativity.  And flexibility.
One mom I know has made her garage into a playroom for her children and the occasional friend who comes over and she is thinking of setting up a dining room table there for Thanksgiving dinner – with the garage door open!
Another parent I’ve talked to is going to forego eating Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family and is going to have a brief Thanksgiving get together with masks and social distancing – just long enough to give each family member a to-go turkey dinner in take out containers!
So this year, whether you decide to write a children’s book and send it to the kids in your family, or eat in the garage, try not to let the old traditions tempt you into taking risks you really don’t want to take. 
Be flexible, be creative, and get out of YOUR box!

Thanksgiving Table Discussions

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Dr. Corinne Masur

People are afraid this Thanksgiving– not of the usual dried out turkey, but of the discussions that are anticipated at the table. Some are even skipping Thanksgiving altogether, in order to avoid painful conversations and heightened tension at their usual holiday gathering places.

This year poses even greater challenges for families than in previous years. The interpersonal differences and conflicts that we expect to at the holidays are trumped by the election hangover. Families that have members who voted for both Clinton and Trump are grappling with what do do.

For those who have decided to meet anyway, and even for those who agree on the election results, there’s something else to consider: what will the children at the table hear and what does it mean to them? Continue reading

Is Video Killing the Family Vacation?

Dr. Corinne Masur

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Yes it is, says Nick Confalone, the man who became famous for making funny Vine videos of his infant son.  In a New York Times article on the topic, Mr. Confalone said of his constant videotaping: “I’m pulling (my family) out of the moment to try to create a version of that moment.”  Rather than enjoying the time with his son, Mr. Confalone realized that he had been taken over by the desire to create something for others to watch and enjoy. And rather than actually being with his son, he was trying to create a visual document about his son for his family to watch later. “Video,” he said, “is such an exact record of a moment that it threatens to replace the memories you have of that moment.”

And then there are the risks involved. Continue reading

Holiday Gift Giving

Dr. Corinne Masur

When it comes to the holidays do we just go on auto pilot? Do what our own families did? Or do we try to think about what kind of holiday we want to provide for our children?

Parents often struggle over when to start giving gifts to their children and how to do so in a thoughtful way. Their own early experiences often influence what they want for their children at the holidays – whether this means following the traditions of their own families – or doing the opposite. Continue reading