Light ‘em up - The Orca
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Light ‘em up

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Normally, Jody Vance is a purist – Christmas lights and decorations in December only. This year? Hit the switch.

These are difficult times. Dark times, even. A time when this Middle must bring a reminder to seek out sources of light…yes, even of the Christmas variety.

In November.

Ask anyone who knows me: early Christmas music and/or decor is a hard no. Like store aisle gift wrap and inflatable Santas in August, it borderline makes me angry to see obnoxiously early ads featuring the electric razor that “dad must have,” perfumes with Hollywood A-listers in slow motion, and box after box (after box) of chocolate that shows your love. Barf.

So for me, Christmas stuff goes up no earlier than December 1st, comes down December 26th. The real tree is only up for a max of two weeks.

Don’t even get me started on holiday music before December 1st.

Put this under the heading “you never know until a goddamn global pandemic,” but for 2020 I say: bring on (and out) the lights.

First, let me explain, I’m not full Bah Humbug. I absolutely love the gathering and epic food part of the holidays…you know, those things that are OFF THE TABLE during COVID Christmas.

Because with new record case numbers daily, we’d have to be pretty naive to expect anything close to a typical Christmas dinner. More like a bad episode of Hollywood Squares or the open for the Brady Bunch. Zoom it up.

So instead, bring on the Santas and Silent Night, tinsel and trees, all of it. If the stress of this extremely difficult time can be soothed in any small way, do it. Let’s decorate this ugly window of humanity.

We’ve literally got nothing else to do. So stay home — and set it ALL up.

Christmas is not my favourite time for a few reasons. Mostly my love of Christmas passed when we lost my maternal grandmother on Remembrance Day 1998. She embodied Christmas for me, she loved it — and it was never about presents.

With her in mind, this year I dug through every box in my garage and found her Danish Hygge Christmas stuff…and put it all up. It feels so good. It’s helping me remember happier times.

Letting go of my hard line on decoration was actually easier than I’d expected.

What the remarkably early decorations are doing is giving some Middle to this “most challenging of times” — bringing a spark of hope, some light to the dark.

Diwali or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, whatever the reason to light up the love lamps we should embrace it.

Now is a good time to go hard on the meaning behind the usual noise of packed malls and shopping, keeping up with the Jones’ and competing holiday cards.

We have hope on the horizon, we just need to hold the line. If adding some magic to these next couple of hard months helps, even for a second, why not?

So this year, gone is the pressure to “get out and shop!” In our house, we’re taking a pass on the consumerism of years past. Instead, we will share what we have with those in need, and help with the food bank, BlanketBC.org, A Better Life Foundation and others.

We may just find the light in this dark window of our history, and recapture what the real meaning of Christmas might be. Adding a whisper of whimsy to the deepest and darkest of winter months.

A reason to feel lit up.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

SWIM ON:

 

SWIM ON