The Martel Family at their hot chocolate stand.

“How Are You Celebrating the Holidays This Year?” Advice from Our Team Members

Dec 18 2020

The holiday season definitely looks different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though many of our normal traditions are not possible this year, there are still many ways to celebrate safely with loved ones.

Need some ideas on how to connect with friends and family during the holidays? Some of our team members were happy to share what their new plans look like for this year.

Nicole Martel
System Director, Benefits & Well-Being

Cincinnati, OH

My husband and I made a conscious decision when our daughters were young to spend Christmas at our own home rather than visiting multiple extended family members who live far away. We wanted to make the precious few years we have with our daughters special.

This was when it all began … the Annual Martel Christmas Lights! My husband is the “great exterior illuminator” and creates beautiful displays – each different and unique. Our lights have become somewhat of a community event.

Our Christmas season culminates on Christmas Eve with the Italian tradition of “the feast of seven fishes” at our family’s favorite sushi restaurant (nothing like a blending of cultures) after church services. We then head home to host a hot chocolate stand for our neighbors. We even take orders, so visitors don’t have to leave their warm cars if they don’t want to. Last year, we served 180 cars!

This year with COVID-19 we find that we have a lot more time on our hands at home – and my husband finished the lights earlier than normal, so we plan to host two other nights of the hot chocolate stand. We are adapting how we serve our visitors to ensure their safety and health. The rest of Christmas this year is about togetherness, including some walks with the dog and a few mean rounds of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Monopoly!

(Martel family pictured above.)

Adam Holleran
Site Supervisor, Outpatient Rehabilitation, Anderson Healthplex

Cincinnati, OH

We plan to meet up with family at Cincinnati Zoo for Festival of Lights. It’s outdoor, so we can maintain our distance while masked, all while enjoying the lights and each other’s company.

Nicole Wilkinson
Materials Coordinator, Perioperative Services

St. Charles Hospital
Oregon, OH 

We’re planning to give gifts via porch drop-offs, then set up video calls where we can watch each other open them.

Sherry Brees
Unit Secretary, Radiology

Fairfield Hospital
Cincinnati, OH

Since we are in the middle of a surge in COVID-19 cases, here are my family’s Christmas plans for this year:

  1. Drive to my grandchildren’s homes for a car parade, drop off dessert and a big box of wrapped gifts.
  2. Pick up lunch/dinner containers from my kids as well as my gifts.
  3. Have a video chat Christmas, and watch our grandkids open their gifts. If the weather is nice, we can stay in the car and watch them open one or two on their front porch before leaving to do the video chat Christmas.

Jodi Pahl
Chief Nursing Executive

Carey, OH

The Christmas season is a time to rekindle relationships with family, faith and friends. Although this year may be different in how we gather, my priorities will remain the same. My family attends midnight mass to celebrate the birth of our Lord, ensuring that we understand the reason for the season.

Unfortunately, not all my family will be home for the holidays, as my sister lives in Wisconsin and will not make the trip this year. However, we will wish her and her family a Merry Christmas via technology like so many will do this year. Our gathering will be smaller, but we will appreciate the blessings that God has given us realizing that we live for today because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Thanks For Sharing. Stay Home and stay safe in this holidays. Spend good times with family.
December 29th, 2020 | 10:13am

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