The theme of the Grinch stealing Christmas seems all too real this year.
The holidays are dedicated for time spent with loved ones, delicious feasts and the joy of giving. This year has had a drastic change in how we spend our holidays because of the drop in economy, lost jobs, limited income and the restrictions put on by the government. Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way.
How is the coronavirus stealing Christmas from your family this year? Our community is putting the work and effort into making this holiday season, one worth celebrating, even after the hardships we have endured this year.
As a community, we go to great lengths to celebrate the holidays and spread as much joy as we can during the season. Last year we presented the town and surrounding community with over 25 seasonal activities to enjoy such as the popcorn productions play, breakfast and skate with Santa, festival of trees and many more exciting opportunities to spend with friends and family of all ages. Every year, parents, grandparents and even older siblings look forward to seeing the kids of the community participating on stage at the school Christmas recitals to take pictures and see all the smiling faces.
Everyone from businesses, clubs and sports teams, volunteer time and efforts to show community spirit, especially during the holidays. Hockey has been a seasonal activity that takes community effort, from the players, to the coaches, to the cheers coming from the stands. Without a vital part of our traditions, such as hockey, joy feels lost throughout our community. This year we have been able to put on the Twinkle Tour as well as the first responders Santa parade throughout the volunteer efforts of everyone in the area to show that we are not giving up on this holiday season.
This Christmas season has been filled with uncertainty and lost hope because of the drop in economy, lost jobs, unstable financial situations that families have been put in, as well as the restrictions implemented by the government. Within the community, families have been unsure if they can celebrate the holidays this year, while workers and students throughout the area are worried about being able to travel back home to see loved ones or being isolated by having to spend Christmas away from home. Loved ones in care homes have struggled through this past year, especially during this season with limited visitation and extreme isolation causing feelings of hurt and despair. The community recognizes the struggle everyone has been going through and have put in the effort to make this holiday season worth smiling for.
Through all the donations and help, the Assiniboia Salvation Army has been able to keep the food bank running from Monday-Friday, helping individuals and families in need of extra help through these tough times.
Local businesses have been encouraging the area to shop local by providing sales that benefit everyone, which in return helps our private business sector stay afloat through the efforts of everyone in our community.
The holidays have always been a fan favourite of everyone in the area as we put our hearts into the many activities, we provide for all age groups around this time. We have all put in the hard work to make this season enjoyable for everyone. This year may not look like the ones in the past but through our community spirit, love of the holidays and support we show one another, we will not let the COVID steal our Christmas this holiday season.
(Rachel Leduc is the newest reporter for the Assiniboia Times, replacing Dan Archer, who will be moving to Alberta in Dec. 2020).