A Different Kind of Christmas

The holidays are in full motion but this year things might look a little different.

In the past, stress and excitement walked hand in hand as we rushed about to do shopping, baking, and attend gatherings.  Energy was placed in time management that sometimes left one feeling depleted.  And yet, as it all came to an end on January 1st, a touch of bitter-sweet sadness would creep upon me that all the family gatherings and festive activities was over.

Anytime people gather, there is germ spreading, it’s just a fact of nature, but it was a risk we take with only minimal thought, a sniffle was seen as a trite inconvenience, a cold as a nuisance.  Such nasty things as the flu or stomach bug sadly meant someone might be missing in the gatherings, but after sympathy and well wishes were expressed and a healthy dose of Lysol spread, life resumed.  Now, there is a new virus, a nasty little creature that keeps people tucked away in their homes, fearful of others, and in general turning our way of life upside down.  

Thanksgiving was tricky for some, but Christmas is so riddled with traditions, that to break from them rattles the senses and foundations to which we have grown accustomed.  I come from a small family but over the years we have grown to a decent size through marriages and births.  Four generations gather now, but this year we weigh the consequences of such traditions.   What if that sniffle is something else?  What if the upset tummy is not due to too many cookies?  This is a new kind of stress, one that could carry heavy consequences, but given how quickly time goes by, one has to ask “How many more Christmases will we have together?”  The desire to keep everyone safe is balanced against time.

There is no black and white answer for this conundrum we face this year, each family and individual must answer to their particular conscious and circumstances.   For me, I know I will be seeing my mother, even if I have to stand on the front porch and talk to her through the door.   But, having been stationed away from family before, I know how to be creative and flexible and I think that is something that can be utilized in these non-traditional times.

Now, more than ever, a Christmas card or letter is highly useful to relay well wishes and thoughts.  A touch of those old traditions may be just what one needs to lighten the heavy sensation of isolation, especially to those of high risk.  You can even bake cookies and send them to friends and family, or leave them on the doorstep for a sweet surprise.  I know I plan on doing a little extra this year for not just family but some of my neighbors as well.  

And though Christmas is heavily about traditions, we can’t overlook modern technology which is allowing people to be together from the safety of their homes.  Maybe FaceTime Grandma and Grandpa so they can see the little ones open their gifts, or set a place for the laptop at the table to Zoom in the family that normally would have been gathered for Christmas dinner.  But connecting, in any way you can, to those who mean so much to you, is necessary during these uncertain times as we have all felt that brush of anxiety and loneliness as Covid-19 continues to run rampant in society.

2020 has been a very odd year indeed, but one thing it has done is allowed us as a global unit, to think outside of the box.  We have found new ways to do jobs, conduct school, and even think.  So now, for the holidays, utilize these tools to make the distance melt away and have a Christmas that wont be forgotten.

-Pax tibi

Sit and talk for a spell.

What are some ways you and your family and friends are modifying the holidays?

Share your creative endeavors to keep the holiday spirit alive while also keeping the ones you love safe.


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