Conquering a COVID Christmas

By Esli Ramos

Here we are. The grand finale, the last stop of 2020, the 9th inning, or – simply put – the holidays.

‘Tis the season for trudging upstairs to the attic in hunt of Christmas decorations, old gift wrap, postcards from Christmas past, and, of course, the tree. Even as you read this someone is humming a Christmas carol or two.

Yes, kids from one to ninety-two know that Santa Claus is coming to town. However, if you spot him by your fireplace eating those milk and cookies he may have a slightly different look to him. His cherry nose will be hiding under a mask.

The pandemic still looms over us like a never-ending snow storm. With this snow storm however huddling together to stay warm only lowers the temperature and can cause a major avalanche.

Who would have ever imagined that a social holiday, such as Thanksgiving, would be celebrated with such distance?

People all over the world shared their table virtually this year. Emotions were at an all-time high as we longingly stared at our screens with an innate desire to reach through and embrace ones, not near, but dear to us. Family traditions were either held up with creativity or dashed with disappointment.

On top of all that, some of us have had to kick off the holidays missing those that didn’t make it through this storm. In short, this unwanted dinner guest left us wondering if we have any reason to be thankful at all.

With no end in sight and the Christmas holidays drawing near, the question becomes, how can we keep the Christmas spirit? How do we keep a jolly attitude in the midst of a pandemic that has the Grinch throwing Christmas shade through Zoom calls?

If beliefs can change behavior, then, perhaps, we change our beliefs about COVID and experience the holidays in a much more powerful way.

When I speak of beliefs, I am speaking of fear-based thinking. Please, keep following social distancing guidelines. This is just a gift that will put the joy back in Christmas. Let me explain with a story.

There were two brothers in a small village in the Eastern Cape. The twin brothers grew up knowing nothing else but poverty. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother a domestic worker. They grew up with very little.

On their way home one day, their parents were involved in a bus accident and died instantly. The brothers’ condition became even worse. At age 17, they separated. Years and years later, a family member decided to find them for a family reunion.

One of the brothers was a wealthy engineer and owned a construction company. He had a wife and three beautiful kids. The other was an alcoholic with no sense of direction for his life.

The family member asked the engineer, “How did your life turn out like this?”

“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” he answered. She moved on to the other brother with the same question.

“What did you expect with a childhood like mine?” was his answer. This tells us that, “we are not disturbed by the things that happened but by their perception of the things that happened”.

This year had its share of heartache, fear, uncertainty, and rapid changes both personal and political. However, there is a flip side. Maybe the pot needed to be broken in order to appreciate the flower.

Let me ask you a question. How many times did you tell your family you love them this year? Was it more than last year?

How many of us found a new hobby that turned into a business idea? How many of us got some unexpected phone call from a friend long ago to heal a relationship or to just catch up? How many of us did some growing?

I believe we’ve found a few things to be thankful for. What if COVID is not a rude dinner guest but instead a reminder of how much we truly need each other? Look outside your window and see the beautiful art-work of nature. You have the time now. Love with all you have. You have the time now. Give the gift of you. Once again you have the time now.

So, as we enter into a new year. Let it be our goal to cure Covid-19 with compassion. Let our New Year’s resolution be this: make love contagious. Happy Holidays.