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Jan. 1, 2021 – When Vladimir Celestin and his extended family realized they couldn’t get together on Christmas, they got creative.

“My cousins on my father and my mother’s side, we decided to put a sort of presentation for my grandmother, as well as my other aunts and uncles,” says Celestin, who has only seen his parents and grandmother in Long Island, N.Y., once since the pandemic began.

The presentation included old photos and video clips from past holidays and vacations gathered by family members, who live in different places. He says the project, which they later shared in a live Zoom session with the whole family, was meant to be a reminder of the good times still ahead when they can be together in person again.

Not only did his grandmother love the gift, he says, but it also made him feel more connected to his extended family.

“We were learning all these stories that we grew up experiencing, but maybe from others’ perspectives — like my cousin’s perspective that I’d never heard before,” says Celestin. “I don’t think that I would have taken the initiative to seek this out on my own if I hadn’t been presented with a global pandemic that we’re all sitting in together.”

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