Christmas is Canceled

It’s only a few days until Christmas and for many of us, we will be spending it alone. When my husband and I moved across Canada almost 30 months ago, it was to be expected that we would be spending it alone as we literally have no family here and our closest friends are about a 6 hour drive away. I know our parents miss us and want to see us, but they understand… though the first Christmas we were away, someone told my mom that the military flies families for free on one of their military flights. It’s a little shitty as it makes many stops across the country to drop off and pick up people so makes for a very long day – I believe one of my coworkers did it last year and went from Ottawa to Victoria and it was a 22 hour flight. The other issue is that there are set days it flies, so our holidays needed to work around that. The first Christmas we didn’t even consider making the trek as we had only been away from home for 6 months. The second (last) Christmas, my husband was going to be starting basic training (as he just joined the military) and we wanted a relaxing Christmas at home – plus we weren’t certain if the travel days would interfere with when he needed to be at the garrison. And then this Christmas… well, originally he was supposed to be at his trades training, so again, the timings wouldn’t have worked with the school schedule… but then covid canceled that either way – including his training.

Covid has canceled Christmas. I don’t know what it’s like where you might be, but here in Ottawa and much of Ontario, Canada, it is highly recommended to not gather with anyone outside your household. We will be entering a 28 day lockdown on Boxing Day.

Christmas is supposed to be a magical time of the year. It’s supposed to be filled with cheer and family and celebration… and this year, most people will likely be spending it alone or just with their family and that can be disheartening. It’s okay to not feel festive. It’s okay not to want celebrate. It’s okay to feel depressed or anxious or angry. Some of us may not be able to afford buying gifts or host a big dinner. It’s okay!

These are stressful times and I know many people are mad at how things are being handled – either impatience at how long this has been going on for or disbelief at the severity of the virus and I’m not here to make that debate. All I can say is that when restrictions get loosened and people get complacent, there’s a resurgence of cases.

And with Christmas quickly approaching, this is problematic. Not only in the fact Christmas (and New Year) typically involves mass social gatherings but the financial implications many of us face as well. Business are struggling, thousands and thousands of people have lost their jobs or trying to function on a very limited income, those who have been struggling with isolation may become additionally isolated during a time where they should be with family. Everybody is struggling in many different ways.

“We may be in different boats but we’re all in the same storm”

You’re allowed to feel all your feelings – more so right now. You have every reason to be in less than jovial mood. Don’t allow people to tell you to “get in the spirit” when you’re not feeling it. Not allowing yourself to feel those feelings will eventually make things worse. Over time, suppressing those emotions will amplify them even more.

Trust me, nobody will blame you for feeling anxious, anger, frustration, fear… we’ve all been there. We’ve all had those emotions at some point over the past 10 months. You’re entitled to your feelings and no one can tell you otherwise.

However, if you’re staying home instead of your usual family visits, try to look on the good side. I have always found this time of year when we were in British Columbia very stressful and not enjoyable as we were (max) a 90 minute drive away from any one of our parents. The expectations to visit were high and often resulted in some bitterness and even caused a rift between my husband and his mom and they didn’t speak for over a year a bunch of years back. Some families force a get together whether or not they want it. Now that covid has pretty much kiboshed gatherings, what might have been a stressful day might be rather enjoyable!

Try to see the silver lining. We can’t control the circumstances but try to see the good. Don’t focus on how shitty it is to be kept away from your family at Christmas, but engage in fun activities or self care. Make a fancy meal even if you’re alone. Enjoy a lingering cup of coffee and stay in your pajamas. Watch a movie marathon or whatever floats your boat! Yes, feel the feels, but don’t stay there. Acknowledge them but you have to move on eventually; don’t let it ruin your day.

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