On my 16th birthday morning, I was informed that my job that day was to wash the floors. I protested that it was my birthday! As if that gave me a pass from doing what was necessary.
My mother gave me The Look (TM) and said she was well aware of that, but the floor needed washing and, as SHE would be at work, and I was at home, it was my job to do.
I pouted. Truly, I pouted. Even the gift of a dozen red roses when she came home didn't help much because my 'special' day had been ruined by doing something that needed doing when I had the time and means to do it and my mom didn't.
Gradually I came to understand that Life doesn't stop just because it is someone's 'special' day. That a day is just a day, and we choose how to spend it. Accept what is necessary with as much grace as one can muster, or be miserable.
When I started teaching, there were plenty of 'special' days I missed. Birthdays, anniversaries. Not just mine but mom's and Doug's. They both understood that it wasn't The Day that mattered, but that we got together to celebrate, at some point. Any point. Because 'special' days can be moveable feasts.
For decades, by the time Christmas came, I was not terribly interested in all the work entailed - cleaning the house, putting up decorations, then needing to put them all away again, clean up the pine needles, etc. So eventually we got a 'fake' tree. But even so, the effort just seemed to be too much and we just stopped bothering.
We have our Christmas 'traditions' but they don't involve a whole lot of extra effort. While mom was still alive we had taken to going out to the one restaurant in town that served Christmas dinner, but even so she stopped wanting to go because she just wasn't feeling well the last couple of years. And since I have food allergies and can't eat half the stuff on the menu, it seemed like a real waste of time and money when someone else would surely enjoy the going out more than I did.
This year, the year of the Covid Christmas, we won't be doing anything different from our 'usual'. We don't have much in the way of local family, so now mom is gone we really don't have anyone to get together with anyway. And it's fine. We don't mind. Doug and one sister have figured out Facebook calls, and they might talk. He might phone his other siblings. If I think about it I might phone my one cousin. But otherwise, Dec. 25 will just be another day.
Things have been cancelled left, right and centre in the year of Covid. But there is a vaccine now. There truly is light at the end of this tunnel. But we have to get through the rest of the tunnel to get there.
We still don't know how long the vaccine is good for. We don't know if we will need yearly shots, just like we do for the flu. We don't know how long we will need to wear masks, maintain physical distance (but the projection is late summer before we reach 70% vaccinated).
That means that things will continue to be cancelled for the foreseeable future. But if we are good, if we stay home as much as possible, wear masks when we go out, stop spreading the disease, then maybe, just maybe, people can have an old-fashioned (as in pre-covid) Christmas in 2021.
Stay safe. Stay well. Stay covid aware.