Table of contents

Posted by

Dr. Deena Hinshaw


December 17, 2020



The holidays will look different this year for all of us, but the spirit of the season remains the same. From shopping for gifts and food, to carrying on holiday traditions and visiting with loved ones online, you can enjoy the holidays safely by taking precautions.

We can all help brighten spirits over the holidays through acts of kindness to others. Actions like sending a card or caring message to someone who’s isolated, elderly or grieving a loved one; dropping a gift at someone’s door, or shovelling a neighbour’s sidewalk help not only the recipient, but also the gift-giver. Showing kindness to others will help to elevate people’s spirits at a time when they need it most.

I especially encourage all Albertans to send holiday cards, letters, art or other shows of support to continuing care residents & staff across Alberta to help brighten spirits during the holiday season and to remind our most vulnerable that Albertans are thinking of them, and that we are all in this together. Sites may have their own gift policies so if you are thinking about larger items or perishable deliveries, please check with operators first. At this time please do not send homemade food.

To find a continuing care facility in your community, visit: Accommodation Reporting.

When you’re shopping, I encourage you to be patient with people around you and remember that we’re all doing our best in less than ideal times. Shop only with members of your household, or alone if possible, and stay 2 metres away from others to minimize contact. Wear a mask in malls and stores and if you can, use curbside pickup, take away or delivery services. Use ABTraceTogether when you’re out in public. Most importantly, stay home if you’re not feeling well, even if symptoms are minor.

For holiday celebrations, limit in-person gatherings with just the people living in your household. For those outside your household, consider gathering family and friends together over Zoom for a virtual holiday meal. Nurture your spirit by attending a holiday service online, getting out in nature or enjoying the festive holiday lights and decorations around your neighbourhood.

I know the holidays can be stressful even at the best of times, so in whatever way you and your family choose to celebrate, please also remember to take care of your mental health:

  • Reach out to a supportive friend or family member to talk through any difficult emotions you may be feeling.
  • Stay connected to friends and family through emails, texts and phone or video calls.
  • Get some fresh air every day if possible, do something you enjoy, and engage in physical activity if you are able to.
  • Reach out to people who may be feeling isolated or missing loved ones this holiday season.
  • Access available supports. Alberta Health Services has resources and services, such as Text4Hope and Togetherall, available to help you or someone you know.
  • If you can, try to think each day about small things you are grateful for – birds singing, a message from a friend, a tasty meal – practicing gratitude is also good for your mental health.

You can also find additional help available for all Albertans over the holidays.

Finally, please limit your in-person interactions as much as possible. We are all in this together, and together we will bend the curve back down. Be safe, be kind, and follow public health guidance, so we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 into 2021.

  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw

    Dr. Deena Hinshaw

    Dr. Deena Hinshaw was Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health from January 28, 2019 to November 14, 2022.