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PIQUE'N YER INTEREST: COVID-19 Christmas etiquette

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Unless your holiday traditions involve sitting at home, twiddling thumbs, and wondering what all your friends and family members are doing right now, things are going to be a lot different this Christmas. That doesn’t have to mean it has to be terrible, one last splatter on the turd pile that has been 2020—done right, Christmas 2020 could actually be great.

I’ve put together a simple list of Dos and Don’ts for having a Merry COVID-19 Christmas and making the most of our collective predicament.

DO put up decorations even if nobody is coming to visit. Make Whistler visible from Deep Space if you can. Somehow it helps. Growing up on an endless stream of movies and TV specials about people saving Christmas probably has something to do with it. Just look what a few lights and ornaments did for Charlie Brown’s miserable little tree.

DON’T have a big Christmas Party with all your friends and relatives. As hard as it’s going to be to cancel those annual traditions, whether it’s a big family dinner or standing around the tree with friends and rapping along with Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas in Hollis,” (the time is now / the place is here / and the whole wide world is filled with cheer) it has to be done. If someone got sick and took a turn for the worse, imagine how horrible you would feel—you know, assuming you’re not a sociopath or a billionaire/world leader who can afford Dexamethasone, Remdesivir and Monoclonal antibody therapy. 

DO something. Get friends and bubble groups together online or in an outdoor space where you can yell nice things at each other from a safe, socially responsible distance. Speaking of which…

DO shut up about Zoom. Zoom is far from the first video conferencing platform out there, people have been using Skype for 17 years now and before that there were probably half a dozen other options to choose from. The first web cam under $100 came out in 1996. There are literally dozens of ways to connect with family and friends over the holidays that are free and won’t kick you off after 40 minutes. 

DO spike the eggnog. Spike the hell out of it. If you’re mulling wine, throw in an extra clove. And more wine. Hot toddies? Why notty? Barbecue up some chestnuts and serve with an ice-cold, locally brewed holiday lager (which is basically a regular lager served anytime during the 12 days of Christmas).

DO plunk yourself down on a sofa and binge the holiday classics as if everything is perfectly normal with no need to panic. My personal favourite is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, followed by A Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m also a fan of Scrooged, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Arthur Christmas, and Home Alone. For some reason I always end up watching It’s a Wonderful Life at this time of year—not because it ends with that slamming Christmas party at the Bailey House, but for its insights into the commercial banking system.

DON’T go Christmas Caroling after drinking too much spiked nog. All those popped P’s and B’s in Silver Bells and Little Drummer Boy could potentially trigger a super-spreader event. But if you do feel like super spreading your cheer musically …

DO put together a Christmas playlist and share with your friends. Or if you happen to have a trenchcoat and classic Toshiba RT-SX1 boom box, stand outside your friends’ houses and blast some Christmas. The 1977 Chevy Malibu is optional. 

DON’T hang mistletoe. In fact, all mistletoe decorations should be encased in concrete and submerged in at least 10 metres of water until scientists can come up with cures for both coronavirus AND cooties. 

DO proudly wear an ugly Christmas sweater, or whatever ugly sweater best represents your religious or cultural beliefs. The point is ugly sweaters. They go great with the sweatpants nobody can see us wearing on Zoom—which, again, you can shut up about.

DON’T give Bezos and his billionaire buddies every cent of your money this year. While millions of people are struggling to make ends meet, billionaires have increased their wealth by over a trillion dollars during this pandemic—with probably only a tiny percentage donated back to worthy causes. The only thing these guys should be getting for Christmas this year is pictures of torches and pitchforks.

DO shop locally as much as possible. Wear a mask because it’s the considerate thing to do, wait your turn on the tape lines outside, buy something awesome, and get yourself a genuine, “Thank you and Merry Christmas!” in return—way more festive than that “Order Confirmed” message page you get shopping online. 

DON’T get down on yourself. Honestly, we place far too much significance on these holidays and traditions, which only makes it harder on people that are homesick, lonely or are otherwise struggling. And if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone has an inner elf just waiting for the opportunity to be someone’s Christmas miracle. 

DO have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. It will be different, but different is OK. Small is OK. Homemade is OK. I’m OK. You’re OK. And the whole freaking world is going to be OK.

Eventually…