This year will be so different. Because we are still dealing with a global pandemic, we won’t be going to stores to shop. We can’t gather for Christmas parties or cookie baking events. We will have to skip our annual pilgrimage to New York City to meet up with our daughters, admire the beautifully decorated windows, and go out for a drink or dinner. Our village Tree Lighting now requires tickets and social distancing, and the annual Holiday Bonfire (a crazy display of flames leaping from gasoline soaked palettes piled high with a Christmas tree on top) has been postponed. My sister and her husband can’t travel from South Carolina to be with us for Christmas, and our Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner will just be for our immediate family of four.
So much is different this year, but some things are exactly the same. We are listening to holiday music on the car radio. The village Christmas tree is lit. We have the Christmas lights up on the house, and we have purchased our Christmas tree at the same place we have been buying it for years. The girls will come home and we will decorate the tree together. We will bring all of the holiday decorations down from the attic and decorate the house. We will buy gifts for the people we love and we will find a way to exchange them. We will serve our traditional Swedish foods on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We will talk to my dad on the phone and probably have a Zoom meeting or two with our extended families.
So much is different, but we will hold fast to our traditions to give us a sense of security and normalcy when this world feels anything but safe and normal.