Holiday spirit will be hard to muster this year, but it’s needed now more than ever. The Christmas tree outside City Hall in Penticton was helping to bring some cheer Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Holiday spirit will be hard to muster this year, but it’s needed now more than ever. The Christmas tree outside City Hall in Penticton was helping to bring some cheer Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

COLUMN: It’s hard to find happy in these holidays

It is hard to find happiness in these holidays, still we must try

It has been a rough year.

That is probably, certainly an understatement.

The holidays will be hard for many of us.

We won’t be gathering in groups, we won’t be meeting with friends and family – those outside our own bubble of course – and there will be no festivals or light-up celebrations or even New Year’s fireworks.

Christmas dinner in too many homes this year will be a sombre affair, with spots at tables empty or stockings and trees left bare. There is no escaping that this pandemic has left its mark on people from every walk of life.

READ MORE: The empty chair: Canadians face first Christmas without loved ones lost to COVID-19

It is hard to find happiness in these holidays.

Still, I think that especially in times like these, we have to try.

It is possible to take some measure of comfort in knowing that what we are looking at in the Okanagan could be much worse.

We are constantly bombarded with the record numbers of deaths and cases around the world, and even from other provinces.

Saying it could be better is no comfort for those who have lost a loved one, their livelihoods, and even their homes.

As much as our governments – municipal, provincial and federal – have been able to weather the pandemic and help people, there is so much more that they could do. That they need to do.

Just because we cleared a low bar, doesn’t mean there isn’t a higher goal to strive towards reaching.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not about what ideas the government can propose, but about the people who can make them real.

Movie after movie, and story after story, tries to hammer home a lesson on the “true meaning of Christmas.”

What that exact meaning is changes between them. Yet, almost all agree, at their core, it is about caring for one another.

If there is one thing that this pandemic has done, it has highlighted how important it is that people care for one another.

That is not just in supporting local business or donating to charity, but in sacrifice. Sacrifice of the time we share with friends, sacrifice of our entertainment, sacrifice of the many things that make life fun, or bearable.

It’s a harsh light that shone down, and it showed us the heroes in our hospitals and in our everyday lives.

It also showed us where the system has failed, where we can improve and be better, and the true nature of people. I hope that we come away from this stronger than before.

One thing that we can be happy about is that light also has shown us a path that we are heading towards, leading to a not-so-distant future end to this pandemic.

Of course, even after everyone who can get a vaccine has it, there will still be much more work left to do.

People and businesses have debts that won’t vanish, those who survived catching the virus will have lifelong medical conditions they will need help with, and our focus can finally be turned away to the opioid epidemic and the housing crises in our communities.

But things will get better.

It will take work, and it won’t come cheaply, but eventually things will get better.

This year will stay with us for many more to come, and I can only hope, and imagine, that the future will outshine it.

That is something I think we can all be happy for.

READ MORE: Health Canada approves Moderna COVID vaccine; 1.2M doses of two vaccines expected by Jan. 31

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Similkameen Elementary Secondary School (google maps)
More potential exposures dates added to Keremeos school by Interior Health

The entire school week from April 26 to 30 now had a potential exposure

A new video from South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (SOICS), released May 6 in collaboration with the Okanagan Chambers COVID Response Coalition (#OKWeGotThis), features members of communities across the Okanagan including Oliver, Penticton, Peachland, Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops. (South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services/Screenshot)
VIDEO: Penticton immigrant service group releases video addressing racism in the Okanagan

Video begins by using real audio from racist incidents in the Okanagan

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read