After the year that has been 2020, it will come as a surprise to exactly no one that Christmas will be different this year.
In a year when we need the spirit of Christmas more than any other, we’ll also have to rely on ingenuity to find it. Rather than focusing on the things that will be missed and the hardships this could bring; it might be helpful to consider what’s possible this holiday season.
More than anything else, Christmas, and the entire holiday season, is about community, closeness, and hope. Christian and secular celebrations alike hold these values dear and the holidays, at their best, can be a chance to reflect, recharge, and move forward.
If missing gatherings are among your biggest regrets, one could consider hosting a distanced event in the yard. Make the chilliness part of the fun by having kids play in the snow while the adults stay warm sipping hot chocolate. Be sure to consider provincial safety guidelines, but making following rules part of the adventure can make for strong memories.
One, more simple, way to reach out to your community is to consider sending items made in your home to the homes of others. Mailing cookies or baked goods in a care package to loved ones certainly says more than a card.
Of course, friendly gift exchanges and secret Santa can be easily done through the mail as well. You can even schedule a Zoom call for everyone to open their gifts together while wearing their ugliest of ugly sweaters. Additionally, connecting the family on Christmas morning for opening presents can certainly work too.
When it comes to fun activities to busy freshly home from school families, there are plenty of safe options to consider. Certainly watching classic Christmas and other holiday television and movies are a must, but limiting screen time is important too. Consider building a holiday display in your yard as a family, organizing a virtual gingerbread house contest, or making and exchanging ornaments through the mail or by drop off.
If going on an outing is more appropriate, going ice skating is a great family activity. Check for times at city facilities but hopefully Toogood pond is an option too. Taking a walk through your neighbourhood after dark to enjoy the lights and displays of others is a great choice as well.
When it’s too cold to walk, the Journey to Enchantment festival of lights remains open at Angus Glen Golf course through January 4. The golf club has been transformed into a drive-thru Christmas festival, featuring a kilometre-and-a-half of dazzling displays, music shows, and a spectacular tunnel. All proceeds go to the Hospital for Sick Children and the Toronto Animal Shelter.
While it certainly will be a holiday season unlike any other, there’s no reason this season can’t be wonderful. Certainly many will be distanced at the very time they need to be closest but with a little effort and a bit of luck, perhaps this particular Christmas can mark the revival of hope and the sparking of a light at the end of the tunnel.
Photo: The lights at Angus Glen’s Journey to Enchantment.