Christmas has always sat firmly in the hearts of most of the Western world, as well many other countries around the world. It’s a merging of traditions, celebrations, and is deeply rooted in religion; yet it’s also so much more than that. It’s a holiday that has managed to defy the worst of times. During World War I in 1914, the Christmas truce brought French, German and English soldiers together in a cease-fire to play games of football despite the three countries fighting on opposing sides of the war, exemplifying the sheer power of this Holiday. Now, caught in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis, Christmas has come around once again, and it’s important we celebrate it in any way we can.
It goes without saying, there’s much more to Christmas than gift-giving. Granted, you won’t convince a child of that, but as adults, we begin to discern something more about Christmas. It’s about family, getting together and celebrating, readying to toast a year away and looking forward to something hopeful. Without being completely religious about the holiday, Christmas is about hope and new beginnings, and it’s something we need to hold onto and cherish.
Yet, with the coronavirus causing one of the biggest spikes in unemployment this country has seen in years, and countless of businesses closing down, money for most has quickly become a commodity in its own right, and so the gift-giving isn’t everyone’s priority or is even temporarily infeasible for some; but that shouldn’t bring a halt to Christmas. Instead, we need to go back and celebrate something different – we need to focus on the aspects of Christmas that are relatively free or cheap, and get caught up in the spirit of Christmas rather than its materialism.
I know what you’re thinking though. You can’t do that big get together you do every year for Christmas. There’s a limit of three households together, right? Many families may find themselves separated or celebrating differently, and when a sudden change happens, it’s easy to let it get you down. Grandparents may find themselves alone, parents perhaps without their children, and even children without both their parents; it’s hard to hold onto the feeling of celebration when you’re struggling to see what you’re celebrating. Instead though, while this certainly has its downfalls, it also allows us to try something different, to make the most of a bad situation like those soldiers in 1914.
In a digital era, communicating with one another has never been easier. Most people know how to FaceTime or work an iPad, but even a daily or weekly call can make Christmas that little bit less lonely. We all live busy lives, but Christmas brings most to a stand-still, and offers a chance to take a moment to pause and extend a hand. Sure, it’s not the same, but it’s a chance to adapt, to explore a different way to stay connected and think of intuitive ways to keep the Christmas spirit alive.
There’s so much you can do digitally. A nice little online family game (I’m personally going to try and get my parents into Among Us because it’s different and quirky to do with them) or a Netflix watch-party of a Christmas film – these all keep the spirit of Christmas alive and help keep us connected when we’re all feeling a little distant.
Yet, what about those who don’t dabble much in the world of technology? Well, it may seem like a lot of effort, but a drive down to them for a little socially-distanced walk can make all the difference. How about writing them a Christmas letter or a longer-than-normal Christmas card? Do anything you can to extend a hand and just connect with your loved ones and friends, because it creates a reprieve away from the whole sticky situation we find ourselves in.
When watching a film, listening to Christmas music or reading a letter from a loved one, you’ll find you don’t think as much about how Christmas is different this year, but how your loved ones are still helping make it special in such a difficult time. Gratitude replaces bitterness, and in the process brings a bit of positivity into a world filled with a lot of negativity at the moment.
I know this article may be filled with soppy sentiments, but I think everything I say is true. Christmas hasn’t felt this important in a long time, because it’s been years since it was as vital. You may find yourself out of spirit or reminiscing on a better Christmas past, but at the same time, you have a chance to alter Christmas in a new and exciting way and elevate it to the one big break we all need from the mess going on around us.