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Column: A COVID-19 Christmas

We are officially four weeks and counting down to a visit from the jolly elf and a celebration of deep religious meaning that we all observe by visiting our favorite retail outlets of choice.
Airdrie opinion

We are officially four weeks and counting down to a visit from the jolly elf and a celebration of deep religious meaning that we observe by visiting our favourite retail outlets. I wonder how we are going to all pull off Christmas this year while tip-toeing around every potential COVID-19 threat. I refuse to give into online shopping because I know many local businesses need a good Christmas if they are to survive the year. Despite the possible inconvenience, I want to do my part to keep my neighbours gainfully employed.  

This got me thinking, folks. If I’m going to make changes this Christmas in how I shop, this might be a good time to change a few other things as well.  

For starters, I will probably be giving less this year. I'm going to give less attitude, as I’ve discovered that whoever I give attitude to usually returns it. I will also be giving less advice. This will be hard for me, as I know the advice I have to give is perfectly good; I just can’t guarantee the advice because I have rarely used it myself.    

Another challenge we will all endure this Christmas is the inability to gather with others for parties, festivals and concerts. We won't even be able to have friends over to share a glass or two of eggnog. Because of COVID-19, we are forced to carefully choose who we spend time with. We must be selective to limit the number of people we come in contact with. One of the commodities I value most is time. I’m going to give a lot less of it to people who annoy me and spend a lot more of it with people I value and love. 

For those with young children, I can only imagine the creativity required to keep Christmas magical in your child’s eyes this year. Don’t stress yourself out trying to get the must-have toy. I’m sure if you give them your attention, your patience, your love and yourself, Christmas will be magical. By doing so, you will be giving them a good role model. Maybe they can’t play with it Christmas morning, but they’ll cherish it when they become adults.   

I’ve also decided to make a Christmas resolution – I resolve not to buy any of this year’s gifts with next year’s money. This means I won’t be using my credit card. If I can’t buy it with my debit card or cash, I will have to find a different gift. I was inspired to make this resolution by something one of my clients said to me recently. He said, “Christmas is when our children ask for things and we pay for it. Government deficits are when we ask for things and our children pay for it.” Last year’s debt is the worst gift we can give ourselves. It’s not worth being the hero Christmas morning if it causes you financial stress and makes you a grouch for three months after.  

Good luck with your Christmas shopping in the coming weeks. For everyone out there that usually wait till Christmas Eve, remember there are limits on how many people are allowed in stores at a time. Restrictions are in place, so you might want to start a few days earlier this year.

For everyone, please support your neighbours, your community and our economy by shopping locally. It's one of the best gifts you can give the community this year.