This Christmas is going to be very different for our communities on Vancouver Island.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled many of the standard (and beloved) Christmas events that we get together and celebrate during these dark winter months.
Many of the Alberni Valley’s traditional events have been either cancelled altogether, or augmented/adjusted due to the pandemic.
A Heritage Light Up at McLean Mill has been cancelled this year, as have the annual holiday skates at the Alberni Valley Multiplex (which had already been downsized from the traditional Winter Wonderland). Craft fairs and bazaars have either been cancelled or moved to an online venue.
Those are just a few of the examples of the adjustments being made in our community. We expect to hear even more cancellations and adjustments, especially if the COVID-19 numbers continue to skyrocket as they have been.
It is incumbent upon each of us to do our part so that we reverse that trend. It wasn’t that long ago that we could not imagine daily case counts over 200. Now we are well into the 700 range and growing. Echoing the pleas from our public health officials, we urge people not to travel to the Mainland unless they have to, limit their social circle, physically distance when in public, wash your hands and wear a mask when indoors in a public place or in a crowd.
As for making the season special, we’ll have to adjust our Christmas plans this year. Listening to all your favourite Christmas music is still a great way to have fun, and if you’re home or in your car, you can feel free to sing along. Decorating your indoor and outdoor spaces can be a lot of fun, too. As Christmas draws closer, a family drive to see the Christmas lights and displays in people’s yards or at the Alberni Valley Hospice Society can be a good, safe way to celebrate.
Christmas won’t be the same this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be the uplifting season we all need now more than ever.