Ways to gather apart for the holidays

November 2020

In this New York Times op-ed, Priya Parker writes: “As the coronavirus rages, gathering is under attack, President Trump recently announced that Americans should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. That means no big weddings or milestone birthday parties, no major sporting events or arena concerts.”

The trouble is that we need each other. Something in our human system craves gatherings and this need becomes especially keen during times when we traditionally get together for holiday celebrations.

Of course, the current circumstances make travel more difficult and, for especially vulnerable members of our society, even possibly dangerous to their health. The virus doesn’t seem to be going away in time for us to do our usual things this year, but that doesn’t mean we can or should ignore how important it is to reconnect and nurture each other with our presence – even if we’re far apart.

Many of us have grown familiar with meeting by video – so familiar that it might feel exhausting to think about trying to have a meaningful meeting with our friends or family via a medium that has become such a ubiquitous and required part of daily life.

Here are a couple of ideas for warming up the feeling of a friends-or-family videoconference this holiday season:


1). Show up with intention. What would you love to happen during this time together? What most of us don’t love is the idea of sitting there while someone rambles on about politics or hogs the conversation – but it doesn’t need to be that way! I’ve heard of family groups that make a deal to give each person a timed slot, say three or four minutes, and everyone else listens to them talk about “what’s up right now.” Something about being listened to sends everyone away feeling better. What would you love to see come out of a virtual family gathering?

2). Share an activity. Just like at the old-fashioned Thanksgiving get together (like way back in 2019, remember that?), much of the best conversation happens in the kitchen or when people are lounging around watching the football game together. To replicate that environment as best you can, perhaps try propping up the tablet (or other such device you use) on a counter while doing some part of the meal making together while you chat. Another idea would be to play a card game or maybe put together the same puzzle, just on different tables.

My point in sharing this with you is that isolation is a really bad thing for the human psyche. Something important happens when we remember to connect.

So, this year I think that exercising another uniquely human superpower – creativity – is crucial. I suggest brainstorming with your friends and family to develop your own fun experiences that will make it possible to be nourished by that vital medicine called connection.

And while I’m on the topic, let me say that you’re important to me. It has been the strangest and busiest year in recent memory but I’m pausing right now to let you know I appreciate you.

Please drop me an email or call if you have any questions – or someone you know is in need of expert advice. I love to help those you care about. If you have a referral please click the button down below. Your referrals are the heart and lifeblood of my business.



Omar Khamisa
Mission San Jose Mortgage
2111 W. March Lane, Suite B100
Stockton, CA 95207
Office: 209-651-2000
Mobile: 510-648-5535
Fax: 209-434-2311
NMLS: 369325


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