Q: This is such a strange year, what with the pandemic. I am wondering how people are going to take time to honestly celebrate Christmas. Charlie and I will not have a problem. Our children have long since grown and left home, as have many of their children.
Apart from the occasional family photo we do not have much to do with our great grandchildren. That is not the issue.
But I am wondering how holiday celebrations will be for young families these days. How are they going to celebrate, while wearing face masks and practising social distancing?
A: Thank you for your letter. Let’s not forget that life on the Prairies has not always been peaches and cream throughout many Christmas seasons.
Our history is loaded with blizzards on Christmas Day, with overwhelming economic recessions, world wars, car accidents, the untimely passing of loved ones and tonsillitis.
Despite that, our families have always managed to sneak in love, caring and plum pudding on Christmas day.
I recall in my own family, my mother knitting new socks and wrapping them around mandarin oranges to stick under the Christmas tree. We thought that was great and when we went over to the slough to skate away the afternoon we were as celebrant as were the three wise men with their precious gifts for the swaddling baby. Ours was not unusual. Most prairie families have remarkable stories built into their family histories.
Perhaps this year even more chapters will be added to those engaging tales.
My hope is that everyone will respect the recommendations put forward by our dedicated public health advisers.
Like it or not, commitments to protective masks are supported by good statistical data, as are recommendations for frequent hand washing and social distancing.
And if you can, just for this one Christmas, keep the numbers of people down around the Christmas turkey, not inviting every grandparent or aunt and uncle in the book to join you, perhaps just zooming everyone from a safe distance, or even texting love and caring. Everyone is going to be the better for it.
Who knows, maybe we will even get a decent day out of it this year. And wouldn’t that be fun, chasing each other around the skating rink with a hockey stick.
In the old days, we used frozen horse manure for hockey pucks. Of course they did not last but when they were finally smashed to smithereens we simply replaced them with more frozen chunks from that never ending pile of manure. Even if the weather is not all that nice you can organize family caravans, driving by Grandma and Grandpa’s house with your horns blaring to say Merry Christmas while someone is sneaking up to the house to leave a bag of shortbread cookies by the front door and then ringing the doorbell while running back to the car.
This whole thing could be a ton of fun. But it depends on everyone’s attitude. Those who are regretting the Christmas that might have been had we not had a pandemic might struggle a bit this holiday season. Those who use their imaginations to create new Christmas celebrations may enjoy it.