Posted on

Stopping short of ‘humbug!’

Stopping short of ‘humbug!’ Stopping short of ‘humbug!’

Getting into the “Christmas spirit” has not been easy for me so far this year. Whether it’s the lack of substantial snow cover on the ground or the continued specter of the C-word hanging over everything, it’s hard to see this as the season of good tidings and cheer.

Before I go into full humbug mode, though, I try to remind myself that things could be much worse. Unlike thousands of other families across the country, mine has been relatively unscathed by the global pandemic — both medically and financially. Multiple close relatives have been infected with the virus, but so far (knock, knock) no one has gotten seriously ill. And, while many people have lost their jobs and their businesses, I know of no one in my family or friends circle who has suffered such a fate.

To those of you who are annoyed by having to wear face masks, cancel annual events and restrict your usual activities, try to remember those who have paid a much greater price as a result of this pandemic. Whenever I get grumpy about the whole state of the world, that sense of perspective really jolts me back into a state of gratitude.

Still, I have to admit that it will be difficult to celebrate Christmas with my family in Minnesota remotely this year. We plan on opening presents “together” during a prolonged FaceTime session, but even the marvels of modern technology cannot truly recreate the “home for the holidays” effect that comes from gathering in-person. Until my smartphone can deliver all the smells and sensations of Christmas morning, we’ll just have to do with a visual facsimile.

When it comes to truly keeping the Christmas spirit alive, though, I have to hand it to my wife, Linda. Her love of decorating and buying gifts for people has kept our two-person family firmly on track to celebrate the big day next Friday. She’s undeterred by my bouts of negativity, and has accepted that she won’t get to see everyone she wants on Christmas. She also tends to take the threat of COVID- 19 more seriously than I do, so I have to thank her for keeping us both healthy over these past nine months.

I happened to do a video chat with my eight-year-old niece, Morgan, last Thursday, and I could tell that she was still happy to be approaching Christmas Day. Even though her school recently went all-virtual and halted her and her sister’s basketball season, she was taking it all in stride. Her family is hosting two foster dogs at their house, in addition to their own dog, so they’re enjoying their furry visitors without having to worry about social distancing.

Little things like that can remind you that the Christmas season is worth celebrating, even in an “off” year.