It’s arriving in 10 days, and whatever we call the Great December holiday, it will be the one we’ll never forget as the pandemic forces us to celebrate in awkward new ways. Or all alone. Or not at all.
So if that day has come to mean less for you, if you just want it to come and go like all the other locked-down days, now’s the time to give it more meaning, not less, and to restore the purpose and magic of the season.
Here are a few ways to start:
1. A Very Different Messiah. Talk about constraints accelerating creativity. The musty old Messiah, which we dutifully attend each Christmas, has been kick-started into bold new life by Against the Grain Theatre and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. We saw their version online Sunday night, and it’s on through January 7th. It’s free too, but you’ll want to donate to help the wonderful creators and performers who made such audacious music out of Canada’s bleakish landscape.
2. Why Christmas Can Never Be Cancelled. A reminder from The Economist that this isn’t the first time in history that officials have tried to cancel Christmas, nor will it be the last. This year, it concludes: “Each country is following its own rules, for a short period of officially sanctioned madness. The British prime minister Boris Johnson, known for his obsession with the ancient world, has granted Britons five days of freedom – the same length as Caligula’s Saturnalia. January will be a cold, harsh month. But before it, as always, there will be a moment of light in the bleak mid-winter.”
3. For new ideas on holiday rituals, turn to… Cathal Kelly. Who knew the Globe and Mail’s sports columnist could argue so passionately for going to the movies, something we’ll have to wait till next Christmas for?
4. Don’t forget to send The Two Michaels a Christmas card. Fellow Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been in Chinese jails for two years now, on trumped-up espionage charges. So take a moment and send them a card. They need all the warmth and light they can get.
5. Shop like your life depended on it. You can do that at The School of Life. It started as a quirky British storefront and blossomed into an online retailer of great common sense and happiness.
6. Tired of listicles like “9 ways to stay thin over Christmas”? Try this one and stuff your imagination.
7. Suspend your judgement. In this year of all years, give your prejudices a rest and practice both Que Sera and C’est la Vie. Then spend five minutes with these commercials.
Finally, if you don’t feel like dancing ……..(and this year, lots of us don’t), then watch some people who do.