My family lived in Northern Alabama and experienced the April 2011 Tornado Outbreak. We saw one of the tornadoes from our front window. I worked clean up and recovery after the storms and the damage and loss was devastating for so many people. Even those of us that were spared direct damage still had to deal with days (and for some, weeks) of no power.
So, while we of course were thankful for being spared, there could have been a “mini-disaster” of our own because the day after the storms was my daughter’s 9th birthday. We were stuck at home and unable to go out for birthday fun as planned. Thankfully, I had already purchased her presents and had a dessert mix on hand so we were able to plan a last minute family celebration at home.
Now, please don’t misunderstand, missing out on a planned birthday party in NO WAY compares to the loss of property and life that was experienced due to these storms. My daughter understood what was happening and was not upset in the least by changing plans. But it made me think about a long term disaster or TEOTWAWKI event. It will be important to celebrate birthdays and holidays even in the midst of a crisis when at all possible.
My daughter’s 9th birthday is what triggered my desire to add holidays to our family preparedness plan.
Celebrate in a crisis
If we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, for example, and have to shelter-in-place for weeks or months, I am now prepared to still celebrate with my family on our special occasions.
- Greeting cards for each birthday, anniversary and holiday
- A small gift for each birthday, anniversary and holiday. Books, Mad Libs, card games, drawing books, and craft kits are great options.
- Candy or other shelf stable treats related to each holiday
- Stocking stuffers for Christmas. In my family that means scented hand sanitizers or lip gloss, little stuffed animals, mini Lego kits, and fun gadgets.
Rotation of these items is easy! When the birthday or holiday comes around, use what you have set aside and then buy something for the next year. I buy a bag of Halloween Candy on November 1st on sale and add it to the stash. After Valentines Day, I purchase a box of Valentine’s Cards with the candy included. Not only will my kids enjoy these, but they will have them to share with others in the neighborhood that might not have planned to celebrate.
If you find yourself in the midst of a shelter-in-place and haven’t planned ahead for some of these events, look around the house for something you can make. If you know how to knit or crochet, draw or paint, weave, make jewelry, etc, you can have supplies on hand to create a nice gift. The ability to bake cakes, cookies, or brownies and a few balloons or streamers will help create a festive occasion. Be sure to have craft items for children so they can get involved in decorating and by making gifts for each other.
Think about the emotional boost that your family would get during a TEOTWAWKI event by doing something as simple as celebrating a birthday or having presents to open on Christmas morning. Hard times have a way of putting things into perspective and the celebrations don’t have to be huge, but taking the time to honor the person or the day can lift spirits, increase resilience, bond family members, and just produce some smiles.