The holidays are, undoubtedly, going to look a little different this year.
With restrictions on both indoor and outdoor social gatherings in place for Alberta for the next four weeks at least, the family dinners, social gatherings, and holiday events that would usually be seen throughout December will have to be skipped.
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Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw spoke at a live press conference on Thursday to say that just because Albertans can’t meet in person doesn’t mean that the holidays can’t be celebrated.
“I know the new restrictions on all indoor and outdoor social gatherings have disappointed many Albertans as we enter the holiday season. In a year filled with so many sacrifices, it seems unfair to ask for more,” she said.
“But as social gatherings are a leading cause of transmission, this is our only option. I have been inspired by the creativity, sense of community, and perseverance I’ve seen as people across our province embrace the reality of the situation and plan to make the most of it.”
Hinshaw pointed to how the Jewish communities of Alberta have begun their Hanukkah celebrations with the Jewish Federation of Edmonton having hosted a virtual cooking demonstration last week, and how they plan to host a series of virtual celebrations over the next week named No Menorah Lit Alone.
The federation launched the celebrations as a way to ensure that everyone lighting a menorah this Hanukkah would have someone to do it with.
Hinshaw also stated that Chabad Lubavitch in Calgary has put together 2,500 gift boxes for people in the city and in smaller communities throughout Alberta.
“These examples not only demonstrate that light can help push darkness away, they also show us that we can still enjoy the holiday season,” she said at the press conference.
“Yes, COVID is affecting our Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza plans, but it does not need to ruin the holiday too.”
Hinshaw encouraged Calgarians to share the safe and creative ways they are celebrating the holidays this year on social media with the hashtag #AlbertaCares to inspire others with their ideas.
“These are challenging times, but we are all in this together, and we will get through this together.”