Recently I visited friends in Arizona and noticed I had forgotten my coat and it was really cold. Being used to the California version of winter (it was 75 when I left), I couldn't believe the shorts and T-Shirts as people went about their day in 37 degree weather. BRRRR! So of course I rushed to the Mall to buy a jacket.
I walked down the eerily quiet wide pathways between closed stores and those stores who were open but had few if any customers. There was Christmas music playing on the loud speakers, but very little decorations were seen anywhere. I walked past a group of children and their parents who were playing on the padded playground. Only steps away I saw three of Santa's helpers and the jolly man in red, only he wasn't so jolly. He was wearing a face shield and sat in his chair surrounded by large boxes and a fold up table placed to prevent the children from getting anywhere near him due to Social Distancing requirements.
I took pause and chatted with Santa for a minute and it was heart-wrenching. He said he would show up every day for his contracted 8 hours and no children would come to see him. When he spoke he expressed great sadness that Christmas would come and go this year with no celebration of traditions. I carried his sadness with me as his words resinated in my mind. At another store I visited, two young women were standing behind the counter with chins in their hands. I tried to be cheerful and chat with them and commented on the Christmas music. They both said they were tired of the "old songs" that played on a loop, "There needs to be some new Christmas songs." At an antiques store the storekeeper said his business has suffered as people do not care about antiques as they only want what is new. What used to be held in reverence, like history and tradition, have become something of an annoyance this year.
Christmas is only 1 week away but you'd never know it.
I say bring back traditions in your home. Celebrate the Christmas tree and remember the stories of each ornament as you hang them on the tree with your children. Sing Christmas carols, bake cookies, make gingerbread houses. Hang the lights and mistletoe, and read Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol to your children. Watch It's a Good Life on the TV and eat popcorn near a fire. Share the traditions you grew up with with your children and give them memories of better times even in the midst of bad times. Christmas is a time of hope, love, and sharing and that all begins (and maybe ends) in your living room this year. We may not have money for expensive gifts, but we certainly can still make Christmas memorable.