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OPINION: Keep your Christmas spirit alive this year

The Henry Hype

Like almost everything else this year, Christmas is obviously going to look very different thanks to COVID-19.  

Holiday shopping will include people wearing masks while trying to social distance as they cross names off their list, while that number may be significantly decreased if you’ve decided against visiting extended family this year. The streets won’t be lined with families eagerly awaiting Santa Claus during a parade.

Even fundraisers that typically kicked off the season aren’t going ahead as usual. Bonnyville’s Festival of Trees and Santa’s Elves are still fundraising and asking for donations, but people won’t be crowding into the C2 or a gym to listen to Christmas songs while wrapping gifts for families in need.  

I know a lot of people decorated early this year because they needed some cheer after 2020 beat us all down. We’re emotionally and physically exhausted since the world completely changed as a result of COVID-19.  

That’s why I think it’s more important than ever to keep your Christmas cheer alive and well in the coming weeks. Adjust and make some traditions that don’t mean interacting with other people and focus on your immediate family.

Bake some cookies with your loved ones, go for a drive at night to admire holiday light displays, eat cookies while enjoying your favourite Christmas movies or shows, build a snowman together, go tobogganing, write a letter to Santa (even if you think you're too old) and - most importantly - hold your family close and enjoy the time you have together.  

Like the Grinch learned in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the holiday will may without ribbons, tags, packages, boxes, or bags. Dec. 25 will roll around whether we’re in a lockdown or if we’re simply under enhanced protocols. It will happen even if businesses are forced to close and our packages arrive late, Christmas Day will be here before we know it.  

I encourage you, our readers, to remember that the Christmas spirit lives within us and will only go away if we allow it to. It can come without material things because the most important thing is being surrounded by our loved ones, even if it’s less than usual this year because of the pandemic. Keep them in mind as the holidays come this year, because a lot of people aren't so lucky.  

I’ll end this Henry Hype with a quote from one of my favourite holiday specials, because Charlie Brown said it right.  

“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.”

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle