How to celebrate what matters most, this Christmas

Nov 03, 2020

Easter, Canada Day, Thanksgiving and Halloween have all gone by and like everything else in 2020, they’ve felt really different. Now, Christmas is coming and … let’s face it, it too will likely feel really different.

Health Canada has recommended against travelling or gathering indoors to celebrate most things this year, which means many of us may be obligated to simplify our Christmas celebrations as well.

A boy and a girl decorate a Christmas tree together
Photo: Jeremy McKnight, Unsplash

It can feel disappointing to be unable to celebrate Christmas with all the usual accoutrements of the season. Remember, it’s okay to grieve the loss of “normal”. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that it’s important to take the time to grieve plans and events that have had to be cancelled. Take the time to recognize your feelings.

And then, let us help you focus on what you can do this Christmas. ​

1.  Less is more.
Make a list of all the ways you like to celebrate, like picking and decorating a tree, family dinners, gift exchange, or attending a church service. Decide what you can or should skip this year and what you can adjust. You might find that getting creative with your plans gets the Christmas spirit flowing.  

2.  Give of yourselves together.
Connect with a local retirement home or a food bank to see how you can safely help. A neighbour’s walkway, shovelled in surprise, can make a wonderful gift. Tie a note to the shovel wishing them a Merry Christmas!

3.  Share an old tradition.
What did you love doing as a child? Cut out snowflakes together and decorate the front window! Bake and ice cookies. What about watching all the old TV specials, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or a personal favourite, A Christmas Story?

4.  Start a new tradition.
Perhaps it’s skating in the park on Christmas Eve, then toasting marshmallows over the barbecue. Or a family slumber party next to the tree. Brainstorm with your kids!

A young girl from Zambia wearing colourful traditional clothing, holds a chicken close and smiles at the camera.]
Photo: Jon Warren, World Vision

5.  Change a life together.
Share your Holiday spirit with a family on the other side of the world. Perusing the World Vision Gift Catalogue is a great tradition in many homes. Imagine the excitement a child will feel when those goats, chickens or fruit trees are delivered! 

6.  Perform an act of kindness.
There are so many ways to brighten someone’s day: buy coffee for a stranger, call a loved one unexpectedly, send a meal to a friend, donate blood. Here are some acts of kindness you can perform this Christmas. 

A close up shot of a local store and café’s shop front on a quiet street.
Photo: Ray Miller, Pixabay

7.  Shop local.
When it comes to Christmas celebrations, gift-giving plays a big role. This Christmas, shopping local or small businesses can really help business owners trying to stay afloat through the pandemic, and will boost the meaning behind your gifts. 

8.  Dressed to the nines.
You don’t have to have guests coming or be attending a dinner elsewhere to dress for the occasion. Put your fancy garments on and enjoy your turkey and trimmings. 

9.  Go to church, online.
Faith services are an important part of Christmas for many people. You don’t have to forgo Christmas eve service, instead, find a church that’s doing it online and tune in.

10. Go for a drive.
Grab a hot beverage and drive around your city (or a neighbouring one) checking out the Christmas lights and decorations people have worked so hard to put up. 

11. Crafty cards.
We may not have the opportunity to see one another face-to-face this Christmas, but you can still send messages of hope and love, via Christmas cards. Make them extra meaningful by making them yourself. Get your craft supplies out and unleash your creativity… but go easy on the glitter. 

12. Go beyond Canada.
Christmas is celebrated worldwide in so many beautiful ways. Be a global citizen and learn more about how people in other countries celebrate Christmas. This is a great way to teach kids about different cultures, customs and traditions. You may even garner a new tradition of your own.

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