Christmas week in a pandemic

Because I have never been big on Christmas celebrations, this week really doesn’t look much different than previous ones. Perhaps it was the way I was raised, far from the city, on a large piece of land with few neighbors, and my dad working during the season, to make extra money, pruning grape vines. We seldom left our farm except for church or groceries during the cold, foggy days of winter.

Fast forward to 2020, and this week, like those when I was a child, has been very cold and very foggy. We have not seen the sun for days. I do have more Christmas decorations in the house than in the past few years because I wanted a festive backdrop for virtual storytelling with first and second graders. The mailbox has been full of Christmas cards this week. It does seem that more people have mailed cards than in the past few years. Some friends came by on Monday and dropped off a large tray of dried fruits, all products of the San Joaquin Valley. Our next door neighbor brought a large tray of cookies and fruit cake she had made. I delivered chicken pot pies to numerous friends who are under the weather and have been getting texts of gratitude. Food seems to be a big hit this year.

The cold foggy weather would keep me at home even if there wasn’t a pandemic raging out there. I have always tried to stay out of the retail environment during Christmas week, and this year that is even more the case. I shopped last week. I will pick up Christmas dinner from a local bakery on Thursday, and we will hunker down here in our snug, warm house until next week, closer to the new year.

The pandemic numbers here are so bad that we have the dubious honor of being the Number One metropolitan area for cases in the nation. I am not surprised, though, as we have such extreme poverty, with so many crowded homes with multiple generations living together just to be able to survive. Lots of essential workers, too, with low incomes, no medical insurance, and no sick leave. Then there are the privileged who insist on eating out, going to parties, going to the gym. Those three activities were not even on my radar growing up. Now people act like they are necessary for life. And yet, those activities are killing us.

We have been in a great black cave this year. I hear people say there is light at the end of the tunnel. No, not yet. The cave just got smaller, still dark and bleak; though we may have found the tunnel through which we might find our way out, what with the vaccine coming. Once I have the vaccine I will say there is light at the end of that tunnel. But it is still in the far future. Maybe next year Christmas will look different.

11 responses to “Christmas week in a pandemic

  1. Strange, but my attitude about Christmas this year is a direct opposite from what I would normally have. No cardmaking, no baking, very little decorations–more of a Bah Humbug feeling than ever in my life.

    • I think I have done more this season because I have had lots more time and energy. Christmas has always seemed like such a chore, more work on top of what I’m already doing, that I just couldn’t get too excited about it. This year there have been few obligations and so plenty of time to clean and put up Christmas decorations and pack away items where the decorations now sit. That in itself is a huge project.

      I’ve also had hours to sit and look up addresses, write notes and cards, and send out cards. Plenty of time to get the cards, too. In previous years I could get a few cards done each day, this year I could sit for a long time as there was no where else to be.

    • You are not alone in this. I think people are just plain tired and have to use all their energy to keep surviving and just get through this horrid time. Next year will be different! I know it will!

  2. I’m not big on Christmas cards, sending or receiving. I did find a card taped to the door the other day, opened and, upon seeing it was from management, knowing an employee had tested positive, I freaked out, tossed it in the trash, disinfected and washed my hands. LOL.

    • I love Christmas cards, even more than decorating. It takes time though to buy the cards, get the addresses together and on the envelopes, and then to write notes in each card. This year I’ve had that luxury of time.

  3. P.S. It took some doing, but I see I was able to post a comment this time. Go figure.

  4. I received a lovely Christmas card from you, dear Delaine. I don’t send them out but sure do appreciate feeling how nice it is to receive them. I am almost (almost!) tempted to send them out myself. Merry Christmas!! 🙂

    • Because I love the feeling of receiving cards, I like to send them. I’m not much for receiving gifts as I can buy things I want, but every now and then someone brings me a gift that is just so perfect. Yesterday we received a beautiful tray of dried fruits. Just something I love but probably wouldn’t have bought for myself so I was delighted to get it. Because it’s hard for me to receive gifts, I have trouble buying them.

  5. Even in normal times, with children scattered all over the country our celebration would have been small. But this year it will be just the two of us, and I’m having a hard time with that.

    • Oh, I’m sorry that it will be a hard time for you. Perhaps the families will all come together in Zoom or whatever platform you use?

      Our family is so tiny, and we don’t see our kids on Christmas due to the church work they always do right up to Christmas day, but this year we won’t be seeing them after Christmas either due to lockdowns all over the state. I just want everyone to stay home, stay safe, and not spread this horrible virus any more. A decrease in cases and deaths will be gift enough for me.

  6. Few cards have arrived here. I sent out four. One daughter called, the other did a drive by. Christmas here is minimal, but I am out of the nursing home and with George. That means, life is good.

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