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Friday, January 21, 2022

How We Created New Traditions During the Pandemic

Nearly two years on, we are still adjusting to the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our festivities, our happy moments, our time markers.

Departing from our basic routine, we sought comfort in text chains and video chats when we couldn’t hug. Watching the family grow into a spider web of calculated risk and careful planning – if that’s possible. The feeling of isolation increased.

So new traditions were born – not only out of necessity, but also out of creativity and flexibility. Despite our separation, we found ways to build new relationships.

Read more: How we took care of ourselves in 2021

We asked our viewers and readers what new traditions, for the holidays or otherwise, they started during the pandemic. Below, read what brought them comfort, in their own words.

These responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

a wearable work of art

Visual artist John Gutosky sewed the first patch on this pair of jeans in early March 2020. There are now 94 patches representing 94 weeks since the start of the pandemic. “The way it’s going, I might need to start a jean jacket next,” Gutowski wrote. Photo courtesy of John Gutosky

I started sewing an embroidered patch for a pair of jeans to mark each week of the pandemic. The front is now completely covered in patches, and I’m working on the back.

The jeans are a pair of my studio work pants that I started patching with scraps of denim from old jeans. The reason I started this tradition was to mark the times of pandemic permanently. Patches also become a focus over time, with the practice of sewing on another patch at the end of each week. When I was a teenager in the 1970s, my mom taught me how to patch my jeans so they lasted longer. So, in a way, they are a continuation of the tradition that my mother taught me.

–John Gutosky of Ann Arbor, Michigan

A recipe for family bonding


A look inside the “Best of Food Network” recipe book. Erica Christ said she and her children would rate the recipes on a scale of 1 to 10, calculate the average score and record it next to the recipe, along with some additional comments. Photo courtesy of Erica Christo

My teenage kids and I enjoyed some new activities together. After clipping interesting-looking recipes from my daughter’s Food Network magazine backlog, she organized and pasted them into a recipe book. Then we started planning meals each week, choosing recipes from the book and recording our ratings for them. My 15-year-old daughter, Julia, was almost always a cook, as she loves to cook. He and his 18-year-old brother (now in college) were much tougher than mine at rating recipes. It has been a good family bonding activity and provided some twist and fun for the kids during virtual schooling last year.

– Erica Christ of Alexandria, Virginia

care during the pandemic


Two coolers full of eggs. After the death of her mother, Teresa Takahashi devoted her time to helping others, including making deliveries for groceries or supplies. Photo courtesy of Teresa Takahashi

I was the caregiver of my parents till my mother passed away as COVID hit. Not taking care of them left a huge hole in my heart. To help, I posted on a social media page asking if anyone needed anything or assistance. From the responses, I introduced free delivery of medical supplies, groceries and food to stay-at-home, or caregivers, and continue to do so. This has been my heart and mental health therapy.

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—Teresa Takahashi of Torrance, California

a reading connection


Alice Der’s daughter, Ania, on the porch of the family home in Phoenix with Lori M. Lee’s “Pahua and the Sword Stealer”. Photo Alice der. With regards

At the start of the pandemic, my special needs daughter, who was just 7 years old, was reeling from lockdown and online school. She was single, so I promised her that I would bring her as many books as she wanted to keep her company. I am a former English professor and many of my friends are English professors, and one day, one of them suggested that she and my daughter read the same book together via FaceTime. He’s in Morris, Minnesota, and we’re in Phoenix, Arizona. He started doing it every few days, and now, it continues—once a week, every Saturday morning. They take turns reading one paragraph at a time, and just enjoy being together and reading. It’s really cute.

– Alice Dar of Phoenix

In this house, we zoom

CB4681EE-3DDF-42EC-9E13-262566B29495 - Barbara Baring

Barbara Baring and her family show off their gingerbread house decorations with each other on Zoom. Photo courtesy of Barbara Baring

My three siblings and our families of three generations, spread across Colorado, Nevada, California and Alaska, started holding Zoom meetings every two weeks. At Christmas, every household bought or built gingerbread houses, which we decorated together on Zoom. Our second gingerbread house is coming to Zoom and have agreed that regular Zoom meetings have been a great way to stay connected and close.

— Barbara Baring of Denver

something sweet


Cookies and pies are some of the sweets that Angela Nickerson’s family has made during the pandemic. Photos courtesy of Angela Nickerson

When the pandemic started, we promised our then 8-year-old that we could eat sweets every night during the pandemic. It was just a simple thing to make the scary times a little sweeter. Here we are almost two years later: We still eat sweets every night. My husband bakes cookies – a new skill for him. We have some ice cream. It makes life a little sweeter!

— Angela Nickerson of Broomfield, Colorado

for use

Full Frame Shot of Multicolored Crochet

A stock photo of a crocheted blanket. photo via Getty Images

As I had to be isolated for most of the time, I took the opportunity to crochet blankets for each member of my extended family. I didn’t crochet for a few years, but it filled my days of isolation and gave me something to not only fill my time with, but to do something useful.

– Laura Crouch of Ozark, Alabama

‘Stanley Cup’ spiked


Cranberry was the main ingredient for the holiday mix-off last year. Jodie Gaffney’s youngest daughter was the winner with the cranberry margarita. Jodi took last place with Vodka Cranberry Fizz. Photo courtesy of Jodi Gaffney

We have a family holiday mix-up where my daughters and I make cocktails on Christmas Eve and then we let them see which cocktail is the best. And then, we have a travel cocktail shaker with the name of last year’s winner. It’s kind of a Stanley Cup sort of thing.

– Jody Gaffney of Venice, Florida

A great review of Movie Nights

20210925_200008 - Lauren Bingham

This photo of Lauren Bingham’s son and his friends was taken during their 8th birthday party in the backyard this year. Photo courtesy of Lauren Bingham

We have always loved going to the movies, so the closure of all theaters forced us to get creative. We bought a cheap projector and a stovetop popcorn maker and started doing backyard movies. Depending on restrictions, we invite some families to join in, put the kids in camping chairs or laundry baskets or picnic blankets with glowing poles, and parents can relax and chat in the back. can do. In those isolated, stressful, school-home days, it was a godsend!

— Lauren Bingham of Rowlatt, Texas

‘Mario Kart’ and Trash Talk


A family that plays together stays together. Photo courtesy of Kate Lockhart

We get together every Friday night on Zoom to play “Mario Kart” with our siblings, parents and nephews. We started a few months into the pandemic, and it’s still going on. It has been a wonderful way for us to stay involved in each other’s lives. We don’t live close to family — we’re close to Buffalo, New York, and my family is around Chicago — so it’s been a fun way to keep in touch, talk shit, and laugh a lot. It’s a great way for many generations to connect, and we plan to continue doing this for as long as possible!

– Kate Lockhart of North Tonawanda, New York

backing canvas

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