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Still a happy Christmas

This Christmas is a far cry from what used to be the norm, but it doesn’t have to be less special than the Yuletide seasons of the past. A bit of extra planning can go a long way for this socially-distanced Christmas

Katarina Lopez

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photograph by Katarina Lopez for the daily tribune Our barkada’s annual Christmas party, which is normally a festivity that lasts well into the break of dawn, found a place on a quiet computer screen.

Studies have shown that an act as simple as a touch from the person you love can signal the release of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the love hormone,” has the capacity to make one feel safe, secure and loved. The release of this hormone is beneficial on nearly every level. However, in a year marked by physical distancing, it’s the sense of touch that has been most deprived from all of us.

Time has lost all meaning this year, with most of us stuck indoors and glued to a screen as our lifeline. The days have bled into weeks that eventually turned into months, and just like that, it’s Christmas.

Doesn’t it all feel like a sugar-coated fever dream? Even the “most wonderful time of the year” in a country deeply obsessed with Christmas feels somewhat gloomy in 2020. Many of us have plans that are still up in the air — traditions that have long felt like second nature are now being adjusted, or worse, canceled. I’m sure you’re begrudgingly thinking to yourself — what’s left to be holly and jolly about?

I myself am not a natural optimist. But if this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that one has to try hard to look for the silver lining whenever possible. In order to grow, we have to adapt amid times of adversity. Time won’t wait for us to catch up — even if we’re all still trying to process the trauma of March.

Iroh, the wise yet most badass uncle from the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series, once said, “Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not.” It pretty much summarizes why one has to be an optimist about one’s own life. Otherwise, we’ll end up stuck and unable to move forward.

In order to grow, we have to adapt amid times of adversity.

I have to write these down to say that Christmas 2020 isn’t canceled. Yes, we’ve had to give up gatherings and parties but, at its core, the spirit of the “Paskong Pinoy” endures — as long as we’re a dash more creative.

We may be tucked in the safety of our own homes but thank God for the marvel that is the Internet! The digital age has definitely lent itself to easing the loneliness brought forth by the pandemic blues. Zoom has slowly, inch by inch, become a daily essential in fostering all our relationships over quarantine.

Just a few days ago, I virtually attended the annual Christmas party of my barkada. What is normally a festivity that lasts well into the break of dawn found a place on a quiet computer screen.

With a little more focus on the logistics of food and Secret Santa presents, we were able to pull it off and I ended up going to bed way past midnight with a belly full of gas from laughing and a happy, happy heart.

This Christmas is a far cry from what used to be the norm, but it doesn’t have to be less special than the Yuletide seasons of the past. A bit of extra planning can go a long way for this socially-distanced Christmas. I wish you all a safe holiday season. Be kind, give more to those in need if you can, and don’t forget to tip your delivery drivers.

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