Opinion: Christmas has come early this year, and it's exactly what we need

Nov 16 2020, 7:52 am

The most-watched movie on Netflix Canada the week before Halloween wasn’t a slasher horror or spooky thriller. It was Holidate, a super cheesy Hallmark-style rom-com holiday flick.

And this week, a Vancouver radio station converted to 24/7 Christmas tunes a full two weeks earlier than normal. Why? Because the city “needs some cheering up,” explained QMFM’s music director.

And all across the city, it seems Vancouverites are getting a jump on trimming the trees and stringing the porch lights. The holiday season has officially started early this year and I, for one, am all for it.

While some would-be Scrooges will say it’s too early to flip the switch from fall into full-on hauling out the holly, I’m gonna say this: We really freaking need a little Christmas cheer this year.

2020 has just been… a lot. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us stressed out, anxious, overwhelmed, mentally burned out and, well, just… over it. So I’m proposing that a bit of cheesy holiday spirit is exactly what we all collectively need right now — desperately.

No matter what your beliefs, the traditions of the holidays shine beams of joy into what are otherwise pretty gloomy months. It’s amazing how little things like baking cookies, watching a Christmas movie or admiring your Christmas tree can evoke powerful feelings of happiness and nostalgia in even the most cynical of people.

And with the absolute insanity of 2020, isn’t that what we need more of right now?

Christmas tree ann luu

Ann Luu’s fully kitted out Christmas tree on Nov. 15, 2020 (Ann Luu)

From trimming the tree to sipping a mulled wine listening to Christmas carols, holiday traditions are something we can get excited for, distract ourselves with, and generally feel good about. They are small things we can control in a time when so many other parts of our daily lives feel out of our control and, frankly, really depressing.

With COVID-19 cases sharply on the rise in BC, those IRL gatherings with friends, family and coworkers aren’t going to happen in the large groups we’re used to, if at all. But we can still embrace many of the things that make the holidays feel warm and fuzzy.

Shopping for the perfect present for a loved one takes on extra significance this year as local businesses have seen sales decimated by the pandemic. Daily Hive is releasing its gift guides this week, weeks earlier than usual. That’s because in 2020, we’re putting an emphasis on supporting local and Canadian businesses that could use a holiday boost, but can’t ship products nearly as quickly as your Amazon Prime order. Did I mention there’s an all-cheese advent calendar?

Many small brands, artisans and producers have struggled during COVID-19, and we want to see them come out the other side still in business and stronger than ever. Every dollar you spend over the holiday season is a vote for the businesses you want to see succeed. It’s the same reason our food editor is advocating every Vancouverite buy a restaurant gift card for their favourite eatery.

Bright Nights Christmas Train

Bright Nights Christmas Train

Pockets of holiday happiness can still be found all around the city. Across Vancouver, there will be physically distanced events, including Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge, the VanDusen Festival of Lights and the Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park, to name a few.

And as always, Daily Hive will be your go-to source to find out about all the coolest holiday events (with COVID safety protocols in place, of course), local shopping pop-ups, light displays and more.

While Vancouver and Christmas are going to look very different this year, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy it. And start early to soak up every ounce of joy.

Throw on the Michael Bublé and an ugly sweater and LEAN IN. It’s exactly the end we need to this very long and mentally challenging year.

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