At this time, we are considered - chronologically-speaking - at the peak of “the holiday season” in North America, and other parts of the world. For most, the modern-day holiday season is a lengthy one, when we consider our multicultural twenty-first century societies. Why? Because in 2020 it is customary that we acknowledge many of the cultural and religious observances that constitute the holiday period, not only Christmas. The period totaling approximately three months, which includes about two months preceding December 25 and nearly one month following that day, encompasses many notable days. Among them: Canadian Thanksgiving, Mawlid, Halloween, All Saints/All Souls Days, Diwali, Remembrance Day, Advent, American Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December Solstice, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, Day After New Year’s Day (for my Quebecois friends), Epiphany, Orthodox Christmas Day, Orthodox New Year, Tu B’Shevat, and Groundhog Day. Just to name a few! The current holiday season nominally concludes with Chinese New Year in early February! The good news? We’re in the middle of one big, long, festive season!
The downside for 2020 is that this year’s holiday season is unlike any before in recent memory.
Frankly, this holiday season will be quite difficult on many of us due to the omnipresent and tragic reality of the current global pandemic. Some of us will recall, prior to the onset of COVID-19, dreading all the hustle and bustle, present-shopping in crowded malls, time pressures, worries about making a good showing when hosting functions, or long drives to attend gatherings with certain family members we were not close to out of obligation. Well, we’re off the hook for all that this year, thanks COVID-19!
But for the most part, we relished the time spent with beloved family and friends and treasured that special time of year to connect with extended family over meals, catching up, sharing laughs, gifts, and love.
With memories of those happier times where we could see all those we cared about face to face, closer than six feet apart, it will be hard to bear this holiday season.
We may, because of all these circumstances mentioned and more, be celebrating in smaller groups, pairs, or even alone this holiday season. That doesn’t mean, regardless of a party for five or for one, we can’t have fun, and enjoy the holidays!
This is an opportunity to develop some new family traditions. Try cooking or ordering in a different meal. Facetime / skype with loved ones. Make more phone calls. Concentrate on spending more quality time with the people living in your home / social bubble. Enjoy being in their company! Take your dog for socially-distanced extra walks. Curl up with your cat and watch your favourite Netflix series that you were meaning to get to.
For mealtimes, bring out your fanciest dishes, silverware, and napkins! Buy an inexpensive bottle of local wine, to support a community business. Toast to being alive! Toast to those who are no longer with us, commemorate them! Toast to all you are thankful for, including those relatives you may have been dreading to visit, who you now wish you could give a big hug. Toast to gratitude at the positive things in your life, be it good health, employment, a roof over head, food on table, access to medical care, clean water, in whatever combination of those things you have. Many are less fortunate! Please do your part, whatever you are capable of, to assist those who are! Giving back will certainly fill you with the holiday spirit! You can do so online or remotely if you are in a financial position to do so! Give to your favourite charity! If you are not vulnerable or immune-compromised, even consider masking up and actively contributing in a more physical way. Such as delivering food to the doorsteps of the disadvantaged. There is lots of goodness in the world, and you are part of it! Let’s spread holiday cheer, and goodwill, however we can, especially now, particularly to those less fortunate, in these unprecedented times.
Let’s also continue to adhere to medical / scientific best practices to limit the spread of COVID-19. Let’s continue to wash our hands frequently, practice social distancing, limit social circles, stay home except for essential travel, and wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
Let’s keep our loved ones safe, so that we can have a future. If we do, we’ll be able to make up for this year’s socially distanced and scaled-down celebrations, next year in 2021.
All the best to everyone for a safe, happy, healthy holiday season, and a wonderful and prosperous 2021.
Here’s looking forward to the New Year, including the release of A Drowned Kingdom! See, there’s always something to get excited about, even during a pandemic!
Please feel free to comment on this and future blogs and I will be sure to get back to you. Chat soon!
P.L. Stuart's Blog