Tips from BSW Program Director, Cyndi Amato MSW, on how to remain joyful through the holidays

We continue to reach out to UNE faculty, staff, and students about how they’re reimagining the holidays this year in ways they can remain safe yet joyful.  BSW program director, Cyndi Amato MSW shares some ideas of her own. For Thanksgiving, she and her partner decided to kick the frenzied holiday kitchen madness altogether, and SUPPORT LOCAL!  “I think it is all how you frame the experience.  Personally, I’m enjoying the slow pace, the opportunity to rethink what the holidays mean to me, and the loosening of expectations of making everything just right.  For Thanksgiving this year, we took advantage of buying local and ordered our Thanksgiving meal from one of our local grocery stores.”

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As for the December Holidays………..

One thing I’ll miss are the parties – big and small, gift exchanges with friends, the SSW Cookie Contest, and family traditions. What I’ve learned from 2020 though is that necessity is the mother of invention, and where there’s a will there’s a way.  One of life’s most cherished necessities are relationships.  In a world of social distancing, quarantine, isolation, and community transmission, it is even more important to reach out to others, let people support you when you’re feeling down, and make new kinds of fun that allows for a sense of purpose and connection.

Gift Exchange Party:

BSW Program Coordinator, Cyndi Amato MSW and Field Faculty, Valerie Jones prepare for cookie contest

I’ve got it covered: I’ve organized a virtual Secret Santa gift swap with friends using the website Elfster. We picked a theme, set up some rules, and will open our gifts at a virtual holiday party! 

Family Traditions:

I come from a long line of Red Sox fans. Ever since the 2004 World Series win, three generations of my family watch the documentary Faith Rewarded together on Christmas day.  You can bet that it will play at my house this year.  Some watch It’s a Wonderful Life, we watch baseball.

Cookies from Social Work Annual Cookie Contest

Cookies, cookies, cookies:

We may not be able to stand around a table with our colleagues to taste and judge upwards of 20 different cookies, but I will be baking and sharing with anyone who wants to play.  Part of the fun of the cookie contest is researching and deciding what cookie to enter.  A cookie doesn’t have to end up on a ballot to do that.

Winter Magic:

Winter is a magical time of year.  Crisp air. Blue skies. Deep blue water. I plan to bundle up, stop making excuses, and get outside.  Being grateful for what you have and what surrounds you lifts your spirits.

Image by Adam Chang

For more tips visit our Blog post:

Holidays Reimagined: How to stay safe yet celebratory amid a pandemic