The lock-down before Christmas
Our biggest fear has arrived. We are back in lock-down. We knew it would happen, but we didn’t want to believe it. Such scary but necessary measures to fit the actual situation. And there we are, working from home, children having longer holidays or online classes, and a curfew. We slowly go back to drinks on Zoom at seven and online Yoga at nine. It seemed that our lives were getting back on track and, all of a sudden, back home.
Pilates, crossFit, yoga, cutting your own hair, ordering online, learning how to cook, dusting your list of 101 ways to keep busy at home. The people we could invite last week are not welcpùe anymore. Quarantine is a jackpot: will I have to quarantine this week or have I saved myself from being a close contact once again? We know all of this is necessary, but it’s hard. And we are not taking it so well. We thought this would be over by the summer, but now, as the grey sky arrived, flu season started, and the cases raised one more time, we are back to lock-down.
Not knowing is one of the most anxiogenic factors we are living right now. Not knowing when and if this will end. Not knowing when we could meet up again. Not knowing when you could go back to school, back to work, back to the gym, back to the cinema. Not knowing when “your life will be back to normal”. Not knowing when you will hug people again. Not knowing when you will see those friends who live far away. Not knowing when you will be able to travel again (for fun). Not knowing when pleasure will come back.
Indeed, uncertainty is all around us and it’s hitting us harder than expected. Especially, keeping in mind the timing of this second lock-down. We used to have the summer ahead, and everything seemed possible. Now, the lock-down arrived before Christmas. What a nightmare before Christmas this would be. And there you go all those questions marks without the hint of an answer arrived:
Will I be able to see my family this year? Will I be able to hug my grandma this Christmas? Will I meet my new nephew? Will I eat my mother’s food? Will I open presents this year? Will I see the faces of my grandchildren while they play with their brand-new toys? Will we see people singing Christmas carols? Will I meet my friends from high school, as I do every time, when I get home? All those questions, raised by people living nearby their families and those whose families are miles away. This is becoming a nightmare before Christmas, but this time, we can’t see the face of the virus that stole Christmas.
Whether you are religious or not, whether you have a big family or a tiny one, whether you live in the same city or a thousand miles apart: Winter break is a moment of reunion, of gifts, of love. It’s a moment missed, dreamt and wished for, from all ages.
The good news is that, whatever happens next, the spirit, the essence, will stay there. This year is the year when we decided that solidarity would save us. And solidarity is found in love. There you go, our two main ingredients for a wonderful different Christmas this year. The following part is trying to brainstorm different ways to deal a bit better with this uncertainty facing winter and the holidays. Let’s build it as a Christmas tree.
You are the tree. You and the ones you love. Each branch, reaching to each other. You are connected- by love, by blood, by social media. We are connected to the others. This connection is stronger than you think. Reach out to them, phone them, video call them. It might seem different, but after a while, we forget we are in front of a camera and you behave as you are. Call your grandma and talk with her about how things are going for both of you. Send a picture to your family showing how you are decorating the house. Use a videocall to showcase your gourmet skills and describe them how amazing your last homemade cookies were. Build, from now, a good and strong connection. That beautiful tree you have at home did not grow over night. Give yourself time, be patient. You should have to water it with nice words and compliments. You might focus on those branches that are more difficult to take care of, difficult to reach, difficult to understand, but you will have a strong tree for the moment the celebration starts.
The Christmas decorations
Any tree will be as beautiful as yours once you have tried to decorate it with your own hands. What will the decorations be? Any special moment you create with the people you love. That unexpected phone call to contact your aunt who is in a retirement home. That beautiful bouquet of flowers you sent to your grandparents living on the other side of the continent. That videocall with your cousins, laughing about the crazy adventures you used to have when you were kids. That call with your sister trying out the best outfit for New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t matter if this year we will see the calendar change from the sofa or from a bar, we will do it and that’s a pretty good sign. That email you sent to Santa to remind him to bring the presents to your nieces and nephews. That Christmas card you sent to your pen-pal in Thailand you were hoping to meet this holiday. Those crazy drinks with friends over zooms, talking about how things are different in each region and comparing lifestyles under the Covid era. So many moments you are able to create among each other. Of course, they are not a hug, a kiss, a face to face time, but those magical moments are there to maintain the social link and to keep you loved and warmed.
I strongly believe that the end of the year brings us a moment of reflection and self-observation that is wonderful. This year, more than ever, we need to take a close look and thank ourselves for all the tiny important moments we had. Every single moment we used a mask, we were doing it to save others people’s lives. Every moment we helped. Every moment we were there for others. Every moment we were there for ourselves. Every moment we took care of our loved ones. Every moment has been a bright sign of the wonderful people we are. And that shiny and bright part of ourselves deserves to be honoured, listened to, and showcased. You made it. You made it. You made it.
The Presents underneath the tree
What kind of Christmas metaphor would this be without the presents underneath the tree? And what would those be? The socks, full of presents, because this year, you deserve it. All the new plans, all the hopes, all the great things you are about to accomplish. All of them, packed, with beautiful golden bows waiting for you to open them. All the new opportunities you will have to grow. All the occasions you will have to hug your loved ones. All the moments that you will live in the next years ; there they ay, waiting for you to cherish them. That trip you have planned, that hug from your mom, that instant with your family, that look with your best friend, that celebration with your colleagues. Everything is waiting for you to happen. But, as for the Christmas present, we might have to wait a bit longer to open them up.
It is, indeed, a quite difficult time right now. We don’t know and sometimes, we fear even to hope for things. But that’s why building up our own Christmas tree, taking care of ourselves, taking care of the others is so important. Whether we live with other people or on our own, we have the opportunity to work on ourselves and to take care of us. We deserve it. Build your tree, stay strong, and of course, if you need help, do not hesitate to reach out. Sometimes, decorating trees can use an extra helping hand.