How do we celebrate Christmas in the time of Covid?
The Philippines is slowly opening up but with all regions still under some form of quarantine. But now, we can see that children and fully-vaccinated seniors can now go out or travel. The biggest overt change has been seeing faces without face shields in public places, although some establishments still require them. Because of the different protocols, some people have opted to use their face shields as headbands.
Christmas in the Philippines
Christmas is big in this country. We start our countdown as soon as the calendar says September. Filipinos are very cognizant of the fact that we still need to celebrate our dear departed on November 1. But we seem to be able to switch to solemnity during these days, then switch right back to merriment.
Although the accoutrements of Christmas in the malls for this Christmas and the year before have not been the usual unbridled burst of tinsel and shine, there is no denying the Filipino’s effervescent Christmas spirit. It was almost a sport to be the first to post Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas jingle. It seems like we see ads and memes of him here, there, and everywhere.
Reminders from Health Authorities
We are still being asked to practice social distancing, choose open spaces instead of enclosed ones, wear a mask especially in an enclosed space, wash our hands often, avoid touching our faces, avoid unnecessary social gatherings unless it’s with our bubble (the usual gang we hang out with like family or very close friends who have chosen each other to be THE bubble since this pandemic started), have ourselves vaccinated, being more mindful of our children so don’t take them to malls, self-quarantine if we feel some of the symptoms…
I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out. We’ve been at it for nearly 2 years.
Ways to Celebrate this Christmas Season
A friend told me that she neither has the energy nor the motivation to decorate her home this Christmas. Taking out the huge tree from storage was not something she wanted to do anymore, “Anyway, the youngest is already 14 years old and he does not clamor for it like he did when he was younger.” And I do understand that. It is exhausting to always be mindful about this pandemic and going all out to keep your loved ones safe. But maybe, just maybe, going through the rituals of Christmas, you would be able to bring in the gift of love and peace into your home. The ritual is as much for you as for each and every family and household member.
1. Find new ways to decorate your home this Christmas
Make Christmas decorating a fun thing to do instead of a chore. If it exhausts you just to think about taking everything out from storage, and setting them up all over your home, then just run over your Christmas decors in your mind and choose those things that have meaning for you and the family. You can also find new ways of using those decors. Read this blog post to get ideas.
2. Host a video chat with loved ones
Read this link for some ideas, complete with paint color palettes just in case you want to repaint your walls, to prepare your home for a Christmas dinner you would be hosting. If this is too much trouble, organize video chats instead of dinners with your different groups of besties. Just because we can’t see each other face to face does not mean that we can’t reach out to each other virtually.
To see more paint colors, visit the Boysen Color Trend website.
3. Choose one day in a week to do something special with your housemates
Make Saturday night a date night with the family or your housemates. Spending time under one roof does not necessarily mean that you are together in spirit. So choose one day a week to prepare a meal together and spend some time around the dining table without gadgets and really BE THERE for each other. Pop some corn and watch a new film or go for the good old videos that give the Christmas feels. Take out those board games you love and just have fun in each other’s company. Make that Christmas spirit come alive by reconnecting with each other.
4. Make or bake some goodies for people
Instead of buying goodies for loved ones, you can make or bake your own instead and ask family members to help you. Or if you know of some feeding programs, you could also probably contribute in kind. Just make sure that when you distribute the goodies, you just drop them off and be mindful at all times of social distancing guidelines, especially for your kids.
If you don’t know how to cook and bake, you can always do something else like make community pantry packs of dry goods or make hygiene kits, which you can give through organizations that can do the distribution for you. Ask your church or your community leaders what activities are taking place that you could contribute to.
This is a good way to teach your children about the gift of sharing. Love in action! The more you share, the more you will attract abundance into your home.
5. Get some fresh air and Vitamin D
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where nature is accessible, then do go out with your housemates—take a walk, go biking, have a dip in the sea. Being outdoors to move, to get some fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun helps keep us healthy. Just wave to your neighbors or if you do need to stop and say hello, just keep it short and make sure you are doing the things that our health authorities are advising us to do to keep everyone safe. If you need to catch up with each other longer, do it virtually.
6. Virtual religious celebrations
To celebrate mass or worship, we can go physically to the church and follow the safety protocols. Another way is to celebrate in the safety of our home. For Catholics, did you know that you can celebrate misa de gallo in a different church every time? For me, it was special to do it this way last year.
Do you have other ways to celebrate Christmas in the time of Covid? Do share your ideas in the comment section.