With day-to-day changes and many now still living under social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no surprise that traditional Easter celebrations are yet again going to be impacted.
It is believed that many citizens who traditionally celebrate Christianity's biggest holiday will end up staying at home again this year as they recognize that limiting close contact with others will help continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19. However, we want to stress the importance of social distancing and also provide citizens with alternative ways to celebrate Easter and other important events by offering the following guidance and alternatives:
✓ Celebratory services for Easter via Facebook Live or YouTube.
This helps with interaction. Many people have posted their thoughts about this on social media saying "not being at church won't take away from the meaning of Easter."
✓ Gather Virtually Together with Family/Friends
There is no replacement for the physical, face-to-face connection we crave as humans. Thankfully, at a time when social distancing is the rule of the day, it cannot separate citizens from social interaction. Through the multiple outlets of technology available to many in modern society, connecting screen to screen is an outlet for social survival until the COVID-19 quarantine has been lifted. Just hearing another voice, seeing other faces is important. Put forth an effort to connect with family and friends face-to-face through social technology platforms in celebration of Easter. Finding a way to gather in an online space helps keep our spirits up.
✓ Make Homemade Treats / Gifts for Baskets
Making Easter baskets are a tradition in many households, especially of those with younger children. Though we aren't frequenting stores for non-essential items right now, we can still bless those in our family with thoughtful baskets full of goodies. When we get creative with what we already have on hand, some of the best memories are made. Homemade baked goods and candies can be made if we have the right ingredients. Crafts and homemade cards can also bring joy. You can also order some treats online if needed; many places have Easter candy on sale now.
✓ Prepare a Special Meal
Families and friends traditionally gather on Easter, many bringing different favorite recipes to share. It may be one of the only times each year extended families have the opportunity to reconnect and catch up with each other. With everyone celebrating separately this year, try to re-create one or two of those traditional dishes shared annually. Enjoy listening to what everyone's favorites are and collecting the traditional recipes. At the very least, we can gather together with the people in our homes to prepare and share a meal. Reach out to those living alone to connect via face-time or video chat and "virtually" share a meal. Remember, it doesn't have to be the traditional Easter meal you would have had with a larger family celebration. If you have some ingredients to make some of your family's favorites then go for it, and if not create something special and delicious with what you have. Again, your family will remember the time you have together and will understand if some traditional items are missing.
✓ Share Messages of Hope, Joy, and Love
Neighbors may not be allowed within arm's reach of each other during quarantine and social distancing, but we are walking the neighborhoods. Adorning sidewalks with Easter messages or bright pictures to brighten another's day spreads the very love for the reason we celebrate Easter. We are blessed when we are a blessing. It lifts our spirits to encourage another. Draw the promises and truths of Easter up and down the sidewalk, driveway, or front steps. Trace the shape of a cross, and "He has risen!" Those who can't leave their homes and those who go on safe walks will appreciate the messages of encouragement. Note: check respective city ordinances to ensure proper guidance. Be an encouragement to those who may be worried or unwell. Call them on the phone, start a video chat, or send an e-card. Creativity is key here. We encourage citizens to review what they normally do for these holidays, but see what can be eliminated and what parts need to be altered. Through it all, our number one priority remains focused on the safety and security of the community we serve.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wishes you a safe and happy Easter!
Lafayette Woods, Jr.