By Mike Baker
While Christmas hasn’t been completely cancelled, and the early speculation that the Ontario government would be enacting a province-wide lockdown on the eve of the biggest and best holiday of the year turned out to be wide of the mark, the overwhelming feeling of dread and ‘oh no, not again’-ness is certain to have knocked the proverbial festive stuffing out of a lot of people.
Take me for example. Generally, I’m a very Christmasy guy. I love the holidays. It’s such a special time of year that truly does bring out the very best in people. There seems to be some sort of special magic in the air throughout December that helps to put smiles on faces and makes people do nice things.
You think I’m wrong? Look at every single registered charity in the world. I’d bet you a medium double-double that the Christmas period is, by far, the most successful time for the vast majority. People are generous during the festive season, more willing to give. Just take a look at all the Christmas hamper campaigns, toy drives and other fundraisers you’ve seen or heard about in the local area over the past few weeks. There are too many to count.
While I have made my usual contributions to the causes nearest and dearest to my heart, I can’t hide the fact that it really doesn’t feel like Christmas this year. Even now, as I sit and write this column, four days removed from the big event, there’s a definite feeling of ‘meh’ in the air. I’m positive it’s a me problem, but I’d hazard a guess a lot of other people are harbouring similar feelings.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting Premier Doug Ford is wrong for introducing a second lockdown. I get it. The number of cases of COVID-19 have escalated tremendously in recent weeks. The signs are pointing towards things getting a lot worse before they get better. Throw in the concerning news that a newer, more contagious version of the virus is currently running roughshod throughout the southern parts of the UK, and it’s completely understandable that the provincial government has hammered down on the panic button.
So, when it all boils down to it, it’s OK that it doesn’t feel like Christmas. We’re faced with a decision this year, and although it’s a pretty darn disappointing one, it’s also the easiest one we’ve ever had to make – enjoy Christmas as we usually do, or save lives. Thousands of lives.
As bad as some of us may think we’ve got it right now, believe me there are worst places we could be.
With that in mind, let’s make the most of what we do have this year, and what we can do. Can’t see your favourite uncle? That’s okay, give him a call. Upset that you won’t have the opportunity to tease a sibling? Get on your laptop, phone, iPad or whatever and shoot off a video request. Send smiling pictures to your parents – brownie points if you do it while wearing a homey hand-knitted, made-with-love sweater.
You see, there will be another Christmas. We will be able to celebrate again. We just have to look out for our neighbours, our most vulnerable, even our loved ones right now.
Come to think of it, isn’t that really what Christmas is all about?