Flipping on the radio recently, the familiar voice of Frank Sinatra filled the car with his classic rendition of I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
Shortly after that followed Chris Rea and his timeless hit Driving Home for Christmas.
Listen long enough and surely it’ll be Elvis Presley’s turn to croon about how he too longs go home for Christmas.
Of course each of these songs was written long before stories about COVID-19 dominated the news every day. Travelling to see relatives in other cities, provinces or countries was a rite of passage every December. A mild annoyance maybe, but one that people happily endured if the end result meant seeing family they hadn’t seen in months or maybe even a year.
In the year 2020 however, it’s frowned upon in most regions.
While much can change over the next few weeks leading up to Dec. 25, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already warned that a ‘normal Christmas’ is off the table.
As Ontario continues to see upwards of 1,700 new COVID-19 cases daily, the notion of traveling from a ‘yellow’ community to a ‘red’ community is risky, to say the least.
In retrospect, it seems silly to think at one point we wondered whether Easter would be impacted by a strange new virus that was being talked about in February.
Flash forward to December and we’ve just about missed a full calendar’s worth of social gatherings. In hindsight its probably a good thing we didn’t know then just how long this battle would last.
Perhaps the King’s Blue Christmas would make for a more appropriate sound track to this year’s celebrations.
But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom this holiday season. While Christmas will look different this year, that doesn’t mean it’s completely cancelled either. If there’s any solace to be taken, it’s that the pandemic is taking place during a time when the technology exists to video chat with loved ones on the other side of the country.
Even a simple phone call to hear someone’s voice can be a comfort to anyone experiencing a difficult time this month.
Maybe the money usually spent on a plane or train ticket could be put towards a Salvation Army Kettle or any number of local Prince Edward County charities doing their part to help make Christmas a safe and happy time for those in need.
The Angel Tree gift program, The Picton United Church and Wellington Storehouse food banks can always use a helping hand.
A common theme among charities this year is the fact people relying on their services have climbed exponentially while their ability to fundraise has plummeted. As with any trying situation, often times it’s all about perspective. Rather than lamenting being ‘stuck’ in the Quinte region, consider it an opportunity to explore some of the local shops. For years local businesses have championed the ‘shop local’ mantra, but this year more than ever it’s the perfect win-win situation. Support the community and help limit the risks of outside contamination.
Recent news of a vaccination provides a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, that light isn’t going to arrive before Christmas. It’s up to us rather we want to let that spoil the entire holiday or simply find new ways to make the season bright.
Adam Prudhomme is the Editor of the Napanee Beaver
PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY