With parts of the country under lockdown and restrictions on gatherings amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a different and scaled-down Christmas this year for people in Canada.
The pandemic has already caused many holiday celebrations like Christmas markets, Santa Claus parades and holiday concerts to be cancelled this year.
According to recent polling from Ipsos, nine in 10 Canadians are planning to either modify or cancel this season’s events amid the country’s rising surge of new coronavirus cases.
Still, some people are trying to find creative ways to bring holiday joy to their homes.
Dinner with mannequins
In British Columbia, one woman will be eating Christmas dinner in the company of mannequins with attached pictures of her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren’s faces to feel their presence.
B.C. implemented province-wide restrictions on social gatherings in November, and in early December extended them to Jan. 8.
That means for most people, Christmas dinner will be limited to one’s immediate household, though exceptions are permitted for people who live alone, or provide regular childcare for a family member.
“Our kids decided it wasn’t possible for them to come here, of course, so I was feeling a little sad about the whole thing and I thought, what could I do to bring a little bit more cheer into what’s going on here,” Esther Esau told Global News.
To stay connected with loved ones and for all those working from home, video conferencing on Zoom has become a norm this year.
Now, Santa Claus is also connecting virtually with children across the country using the platform.
A number of online sessions and chats are scheduled for families to choose from and sign up for.
“It’s really fun and it’s really relaxing,” Santa told Global News.
“This is the first year I’ve been able to allow families to come visit me here at the North Pole.”
Online concert for seniors
An online concert series for seniors across Quebec launches on Christmas day with a special holiday performance at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 25.
The event is being organized by the Society for the Arts in Health Environments (SAMS) and will feature around 30 professional musicians from across the province.
The free concert will also be accessible to everyone online until December 31, 2020.
“We want to make this available so that everybody feels like in a joyful Christmas spirit,” Winston Mcquade, ambassador and artist for SAMS, told Global News.
Yard full of lights
For many, lights are synonymous with the Christmas season but one Okanagan man has gone above and beyond in creating holiday magic.
His yard in Vernon is packed with decorations, including 45 inflatables, turning heads and lighting up faces, he says.
Each year, Al Wilkonson starts putting the lights up on November 1.
“I think about 14,000,” Wilkonson said when asked how many Christmas lights he had on his house this year.
“I love making people happy,” he added.
“A lot of nights we have two, three hundred cars that come by and stop. It just gets me right here in the heart.”
— With files by Simon Little, Morgan Black, Laura Casella, Klaudia Van Emmerik, Global News.
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