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Happy Holidays

On the Bright Side

Two years ago, 2019, most of us celebrated Christmas (and the many other religious holidays of the season) the way we were used to celebrating holidays: we traveled, we shopped for extra groceries and special gifts, we got together in large and small groups and exchanged presents and prayers; we danced, we ate and drank together, we went to parties and concerts and holiday shows. We attended places of worship and joined other people for various specific holiday traditions and festivities; we held hands and sang songs and hugged friends and strangers alike.

We were blissfully unaware that a world-wide pandemic was creeping into our lives, something that would change all of us in ways that most of us deemed unimaginable.

Last year, 2020, we were in the middle of the horrors of Covid-19 and we experienced the many changes brought on by that pandemic, especially when it came to celebrating the holidays. If we shopped for groceries or gifts in a store, we wore masks and gloves and used a lot of anti-viral cleansers, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Some of us turned to shopping online and getting home delivery, and we didn’t get out of the house at all.

Concerts and services were canceled; we couldn’t travel, we couldn’t get together with loved ones; parties and gatherings and extended family dinners were canceled. For many, the holidays were scary and lonely, even with the use of phones and computers to make otherwise impossible connections.

This year will be different again, as we are still in the midst of the pandemic, but thanks to medical science we have made great strides against the virus that has caused so much havoc and heartache. This holiday season may not yet be like the ones we have known in previous years, but it will be a whole lot better than last year.

And as always, we all have a choice, no matter what holiday or holidays we celebrate: we can waste a lot of energy thinking about all the ways things are different and not as good as they have been in the past, or we can find ways to make this season as enjoyable as possible within our current limitations.

Current limitations? Yes, there are still some left over from last year, and a few new ones (i.e. the price of gas, and the unavailability of so many items as many things are back ordered or stuck in traffic or not even being manufactured these days). But some people – and I am one of them – will figure out how to celebrate this season with hope in our hearts and smiles on our faces.

I’ve already seen Christmas lights up on houses, and it is still early in the season. I expect to see many more lights and decorations in the coming weeks and I really look forward to evening drives around town checking out the various displays as December progresses. I look forward to hearing Christmas music, perhaps live as well as canned, and I’ll watch Christmas movies and holidays specials on TV and maybe a Christmas play or two. I’ll get in touch, one way or another, with people near and far who mean the most to me; I’ll share meals and eggnog and laughter with my vaccinated friends here in town.

I’ll shop too. I’ll shop local, especially for hand-made goods. Our little town of Tehachapi is abundantly gifted with artists and craftsmen and women and a number of outlets that support them. What better way is there to show someone how special they are to you than to give them a one-of-a-kind hand-made present or card, while supporting local shops and artisans?

I will celebrate the spirit of the season with my heart and mind and body, and I will make it a good one. A pandemic cannot erase the common themes of all the holiday celebrations this time of year: Joy, peace, and love. Hope, beginnings, and promises. Warmth and caring and sharing. Family, by blood or by choice. Counting our blessings. Remembering that we are all in this together. Opening our hearts and pocketbooks to help others who are less fortunate. Giving of ourselves and our time; giving smiles, causing smiles.

The season is upon us. Happy Holidays to you all, each and every one.

© 2021 Marilda Mel White. Mel White is a local photographer/writer and owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove; she has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996, and will be enjoying and celebrating her 74th Christmas this year. She welcomes your comments at [email protected].