Keeping Healthy and Safe During the Holidays

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The Makahiki – considered by some to be a traditional Hawaiian Thanksgiving – started around mid-October and lasted for the next four months. It was a time of prayer and thanksgiving. According to Isabella Abbott, it included “…a two-month period when the land could rest, plants could grow without being harvested, and the ocean could replenish itself.” The people also rested during Makahiki, using that time to rejuvenate themselves and their relationships.

We celebrate Thanksgiving today for similar reasons. To reflect on the blessings in life and say prayers of blessings for each other. But how many of us take the time to truly rest and use the time to strengthen our relationships?

Taking regular time out to rest is important, not only during Thanksgiving. It helps reduce stress and improve concentration, productivity, and mood. It also helps lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, dementia, and provides better quality and length of life overall.

Sleep is a form of rest, with experts recommending seven to eight hours per night. Allowing yourself to take a day off from mental or physical work can also be rejuvenating.

The most important rest we can take during this time is a break away from social media and digital technology. While social networking is an important communication tool, it can disrupt sleep, increase anxiety and depression, and promote unrealistic expectations of yourself and others, and self-harm. For some it can also excessively preoccupy their mind and take time that could be better spent with family and friends, exercising, or just being more productive.

With both Makahiki and Thanksgiving, a celebration isn’t complete without good food and good company. These COVID-19 times require us to be a bit more creative in celebrating Thanksgiving. A celebration isn’t the same if we can’t enjoy it with our ʻohana and the ones we love.

Here are some ideas on ways to plan our holiday occasions while keeping healthy and safe:

  • Plan a backyard Thanksgiving. This allows for more family members to join the celebration.
  • Designate a few people to serve the food and make sure they mask up and sanitize hands frequently
  • Keep dishes covered when not serving to minimize contamination
  • Consider making pre-plated meals that people can easily grab and take back to their tables
  • Place hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes throughout the party
  • Use disposable plates, utensils, and cups

Here is a recipe you can enjoy this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Kimchee Stuffing

  • 12 ounces stuffing mix, unseasoned
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4-6 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 tablespoons each of sage and thyme, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup kimchee, squeezed and chopped
  • 2 cans vegetable or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • Black pepper and salt, to taste

Mix stuffing, onions, celery, and herbs in a large bowl. Add kimchi, broth, and orange to mixture and toss. Put mixture into baking dish and baked uncovered 350° for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes or until browned.