Social Distancing safe alternatives to cancelled celebrations

It’s a weird time to have a baby! It’s a weird time for us all in one way or another though. Over the past few weeks my feelings have wrestled between disappointment over unmet expectations and guilt for having a pity party when so many others are so much more severely impacted. They’ve moved towards thankfulness as I read stories of women hospitalized completely alone and then guilt again for feeling sorry for myself when I had it so much easier! Maybe you’re not having a baby… but chances are, as long as this quarantine thing has lasted already, you likely have had to (or are worrying about the possibility of having to) cancel something that mattered to you; a child’s birthday party, your graduation, a vacation you’ve saved and planned for, your baby shower, bridal shower,… wedding!…

As sad and scary as this season has been in our world, I’ve been so encouraged by the kindness I’ve seen all around me and the way people have stepped up to care for others. The sensitivity and grace of so many women I’ve spoken to facing the cancellation of their special moments has blown me away and also broken my heart. As important as perspective is, there seems to be a hesitancy to be honest about our hurts in the wake of all this because we don’t feel like our experience is worthy of grieving when the hardship of others is harder. It wasn’t until I encouraged another woman that it was okay to embrace the sadness of her cancelled baby shower that I started showing myself a bit of the grace I’ve so easily found for others lately.

So listen, in the big scheme of things – medical supply shortages, sickness and suffering, jobs lost, families separated, and necessary personal sacrificing everything – your celebration might be “smaller.” It might feel silly or selfish to feel sour about it, but if what the Bible tells us is true, God cares about what you care about! If He knows you enough to number the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7) and cares for you like Matthew 6 says He does than I have to believe the hurt (big or small!) in your heart matters a great deal to Him.

As women we dream about our weddings our entire life. We see that positive pregnancy test and start anticipating a baby shower with our loved ones and those special first introductions at the hospital. We work hard for years to throw our graduation caps in the air with pride… These moments matter! It’s okay to grieve them. You can be sad and still trust in the goodness of God! He’s right there with you in the hurt and His goodness isn’t threatened by your grief.

You know what we can also still do?! Celebrate! We all know this is hard. We’re all in it together. But there can be a whole lot of value to be had here too! Just before all this craziness came, we had decided not to have a baby shower. I was a little sad about it, but this baby just happened to be arriving in the middle of an extremely busy season for us and our family and it just wasn’t something we could find the space to prioritize. Thankfully I have an incredibly thoughtful and creative family who came up with a way to make us feel loved and supported still – a true, 21st century style baby shower! And it just so happens, a social distancing safe option for almost any cancelled celebration!

You’ll need to modify these ideas to fit your specific event, but the concept can really be used for any life event/celebration!… Here’s what we did:

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The preparation

  • Assemble a list of names and addresses, just like you would for in person party invitations.
  • Create an online mealtrain – to make this social distancing safe, suggest all deliveries happen at the front porch and “thank you’s”/peeks at the baby happen through the window.
  • Create an online registry – I LOVE BabyList for this purpose and highly recommend it! Make sure your mailing address is entered so they can send the gift right to your door!

How To

Create “invitations” announcing the celebration and explaining the ways “guests” can show the honoree(s) love!

My mom and sisters suggested the following ways to “shower us with love”:

  • Sign up to deliver a meal
  • Follow the registry link to send a gift
  • Fill out the “advices and wishes” post card to send the family some words of encouragement (*my family included stamped and addressed envelopes with these post cards to make it easy for all “guests” to participate if they wanted to!)

Extras

Just the same as you would at most baby or bridal showers, consider a way to incorporate prizes for guests. This incentivises participation from afar and is also just a fun way to include “guests” and add an element of fun. If you’re using this method in place of a kids birthday party, maybe you want to think of a way you can incorporate some type of party favor?!

My mom and sisters announced that they would be giving away a prize to the giver of the 1st and 7th gifts to arrive at my house. They also entered everyone who signed up for the meal train into a drawing for another prize! So fun!

If you want to add another element or keep things more digital – Consider creating an event on Facebook to share this information, connect all “guests”, and be able to continually update (announce winners of prizes, allow for honoree to express thanks, etc.)

Resources

These are the exact invitations from Etsy used for my virtual baby shower! They come with envelopes AND instructions for printing.

Here’s the exact advice cards from Amazon that were used!

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At the end of the day, I’m reminded how very little I need to have more than enough: This little family I’m blessed with – healthy in the home we’ve been given. I’m learning that it’s possible to feel overwhelmingly thankful AND somewhat sad at the same time; to be content and at peace right in the middle of disappointment and waiting. I’ll leave you with this quote I came across from Lysa TerKeurst – it’s stuck with me all week… I hope it encourages you and I hope these ideas encourage celebration in the middle of sadness!

“Please know processing our disappointment is not only okay… it’s emotionally and spiritually necessary. You’re not making light of someones else’s serious pain when you process your pain to gain a better perspective. So, first, whatever you’re going through today, it’s worth taking to the Lord and asking for His help. And second, lets give each other grace since we are all trying to navigate the unexpected. Social distancing doesn’t mean we distance ourselves from offering each other grace… God’s goodness hasn’t been cancelled. Grace has not been cancelled. Kindness has not been cancelled. Generosity has not been cancelled. Love has not been cancelled.”

 

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