Photo by Michel Stockman
The welcoming fragrance of pastries baking in the oven, festive lights so bright they hurt our eyes, traditional Christmas karaoke making our ears bleed, panic over burnt cookies– every year, these are annual occurrences shared within our family space. Normally, this would seem like pure chaos. But the lightheartedness in everyone’s laughter, and overall cheerful mood of the entire season makes every stressful occasion wash away.
For my family, we’ve always celebrated Christmas with other relatives. In a way, it was like our “family Christmas” secret recipe — more family! We’ve never spent the holidays alone before. Because of that, my sister and I have always automatically looked forward to wintertime. We get to go visit relatives, go on vacation, and carry out traditional festive practices together. In my perspective, that’s what made everything seem so magical. The spirit of togetherness.
But this year, COVID kind of crushed the fantasy that I pieced together about the holidays. This year will be our first Christmas not spent with family and friends. We’re locked inside our own house for winter break, no hopes of traveling, and immediately fear the worst at the first sight of flu symptoms.
At first, I was absolutely devastated. No traveling? No visiting family? No going outside? A Christmas nightmare, is what it was. It seemed as if there was nothing to look forward to about the holidays this year.
But as time passed, and we’ve already started to decorate and carry out festivities, it turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We were still decorating, stressfully untangling knots, panicking about Christmas shopping, and everything almost seemed normal. If it weren’t for the fact that no one was visiting and we weren’t going outside, I could’ve mistaken it as a normal holiday season.
And that’s when I sort of realized that even through the COVID circumstances, we were still in tip top holiday spirits. It wasn’t the travelling or the countless vacations that made holiday season fun. It was the atmosphere and family interaction that made everything seem so fantastical. This year, like I said, my family won’t be able to reunite with our other relatives, we won’t go out of state, etc. But there are still many secondary/alternative options, via zoom and other online windows. Lots of things changed this year, but as cheesy as it sounds, everything is hardly noticeable when the spirit of family togetherness is still in top shape.
Cheers and happy holidays!