There is no doubt this holiday season will be different. I thought for sure Halloween was going to be a doozy, but I was so wrong. One thing we know about this generation of children is that they are learning to be resilient, adaptable and grateful. They also have a different perspective on hardship. This season is the perfect time to transition away from the traditional loads of gifts under the tree and teach our children the true spirit of the holiday season.

I can name several silver linings in the past eight months, one of them being home more with my children. Some days I call it a curse! But truly, I am grateful for the gift of time. I am working from home, so I have more time to prep home-cooked meals. My boys have learned to cook and help make meals regularly. Without the hustle and bustle of sports and extra-curricular activities, we have family meals at the table nearly every night. This holiday season I will include them in making our traditional holiday foods. I was even thinking of getting them kid-friendly chopping knives.

At the time of writing this, the Napa main library is open without an appointment. I suspect by the time it is published they will close again. That is not going to stop me from borrowing Christmas books to read with the kids. I will use the books to start a discussion about charitable giving. Many cities in Napa County have a higher unemployment rate than California which is reporting at 11%. This is no surprise as the pandemic has shut down our main source of revenue. Not to mention the wildfires ravaged through upvalley homes and establishments. There is no time better to teach our children the joy of giving.

I know you think this blog will have the obligatory, “make homemade crafts with your kids.” I admit I am not that mom. Crafting supplies are expensive. I don’t have the patience and I am not into upcycled toilet paper roll crafts. Instead, I will invest that money in our Postal Service and send holiday cards! Not the traditional glossy holiday card that families send which include photos of their epic travels and adventures. This year we didn’t get to go anywhere so I will ask my boys to draw a holiday picture. I will scan the pictures and glue them on cardstock precut to fit into square envelopes. This year I will also ask them to write the holiday greeting. Those of you who send a holiday letter can ask your children to draft or verbalize their own recap of 2020. I know as grown-ups we are ready for this year to be over. You may be pleasantly surprised when you ask your child about the highlights of 2020. That is a true keepsake!

Before Halloween, I was dreading the holidays. I knew it was going to look different and was worried my kids would be disappointed and complain about not being able to participate in the school parade, trick-or-treat, or partake in the traditional Halloween party. I was so wrong. Nothing about this year is traditional. It’s a perfect time to pivot with new traditions and like our experience with Halloween, may be better than we ever imagined!

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Claudette Shatto has lived in the Napa Valley for more than 20 years. She is married with two elementary-aged children. Although she is extremely active in her community and her sons’ school, she is not your average PTA Mom.  She avoids the Pinterest-inspired classroom potlucks and instead lends her expertise to the school’s digital communication efforts.
When not teaching at Napa Valley College you can find her in an elementary classroom teaching the Entrepreneur Mindset to 5th graders.  Her recent passion project is teaching leadership to kindergarten and first graders. She is a classic type A, life-long over-achiever and is dedicated to serving her community.