I'm tired of being told I need to "get creative" for Christmas this year. This statement breezes right by my feelings. What will help me feel better is to know you too are mourning traditions lost to Covid-19. Here are the events I'm mourning.
1. Christkindlmarkt. We are fortunate to have a 4-day-long Christmas market like the ones in so many European cities. This event has won multiple tourism awards and features a live nativity. A portion of our main street is closed, and huts like the ones pictured here pop up to sell things you might want to buy someone for Christmas, such as a pair of mittens knit with alpaca yarn or a new purse [Are you getting this, Husband?]. And of course there is food for sale. My family favours the latkes and apple fritters but maybe maple syrup over ice shavings is more your thing.
2. Neighbourhood Christmas Party. I have marked the last 16 Christmas seasons with my neighbours by sharing food, singing Christmas carols and catching up on news. Every party, no matter whose home it was hosted in, featured two punch bowls: one for the sinners and the saints.
3. Church Christmas Bazaars. That's right, plural, multiple bazaars. You might label me bizarre, pun intended, when I tell you I keep notes on each bazaar my son and I attend so we know which ones served the best food in their accompanying tea rooms and thus are worthy of attending again next year. It's hard to get teens to come along happily for anything. However, if eating is involved, chances go way up. Neither my son nor husband can resist triangle-shaped sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Egg salad and cucumber-cream cheese are the favourites. No decent cup of tea comes without a little biscuit at its side. Happily for my husband, it tends to be shortbread. At the tea room we rate the highest every year, tea is dispensed from a collection of silver tea sets displayed in the centre of the room and music comes from not one, but two live pianists. Also at this tea room, you are escorted to your table by elders of the church dressed in tartan kilts of their respective clans. Is it any wonder I'm missing this bazaar the most?
This festive season we are all suffering because we cannot attend events we usually attend nor see people we usually see. This is not happening only to me. When I recognize these particular disappointments as a shared human experience, the sacrifices are easier to bear, sparing me the need to partake of the sinner's punch.
Your turn. Which festive tradition will you miss the most?