I know people are worried about COVID-19 canceling or at least changing the holidays. It is true that our holidays – like everything else in 2020 – will be different, but honestly, I think Christmas is the one thing that is too big to be ruined by a global pandemic.
Yes, you will have to make adjustments. Christmas dinner may be safer with just your immediate family in attendance. Church services will probably take place via Zoom. As a Jew who has been on many online Shabbat services and most recently Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – our holiest of holidays – I can tell you that I still felt connected to my community despite not being able to pray in our sanctuary. I hope and pray it will be the same for you.
And as a bonus, you don’t have to get all dressed up. I watched my son read HafTorah from the comfort of my family room couch wearing my pajamas and fuzzy slippers. While I did miss the fall fashion show that coincides with the holiday every year at temple, I was able to focus even more on the meaning of the holiday instead of which hat Mrs. Levin was wearing this year. I do love her hats!
And let’s face it. Christmas is EVERYWHERE! To get into the holiday spirit, make some egg nog and turn on the Hallmark channel. Blast Christmas carols throughout your home and in the car. Decorate your tree and include those special 2020 ornaments to commemorate the historical year we are having. And surely, twinkling Christmas lights and decorations will still deck our Facebook halls – I mean walls.
Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, the spirit of joy and giving won’t go away. There are plenty of charities to donate to and volunteer your time. Just make sure to don your holiday masks and COVID-themed t-shirts. For my fellow Jews, I haven’t heard of a chocolate gelt or dreidel shortage, so we should be able to celebrate Chanukah just fine.
No matter how or what we celebrate, may we be safe, healthy, and even more grateful and thankful for everything good in our lives. And pray for a more normal 2021!