Muted but cheerful Christmas

PETALING JAYA: For many, this Christmas will be a less elaborate celebration, but no less joyous.

Instead of going out to party, many are taking the opportunity to spend more time with family and close friends to stay safe.

Content writer Elaine Lim is looking forward to a more relaxing time. “We will have a small family gathering and I will spend a bit of time catching up with friends whom I have not seen for months,” she told theSun.

Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the Covid-19 pandemic weighs heavily on Lim and others who observe the Yuletide.

“I used to go out carolling with friends in the lead up to Christmas but we have not been able to do that this year,” she said.

However, Lim and her friends were determined to observe this tradition, so they organised a virtual carolling session that went on for 30 minutes each session, over three days.

“It’s not the same as being there with fellow carollers. The smile and joy on people’s faces can’t be properly seen on the screen,” she pointed out.

All the same, Lim is grateful that she can still take the time to reflect upon her life and the true meaning of the season.

“Christmas is all about the love, joy, hope, and peace that we share with one another, not all those materialistic gift exchanges where people try to compete with one another to buy better gifts,” she added.

Cassandra Daphne Mathews, a 20-year-old retail assistant, said she would be attending mass virtually.

Despite the pandemic, she is thankful that she is still able to travel out of state to visit her extended family.

Student Serena Rekha, 22, said she had to give up carolling and other church activities, something she has been doing for years.

“I usually attend the Christmas Eve mass at 10pm, when the church would be so packed. However, this year’s service has been brought forward to 6.30pm and only 30 people are allowed to join the service inside the church.

While she regrets not being able to meet members of her extended family, she is still excited about celebrating Christmas.

In Sipitang, Sabah, human resource operations assistant Chelsea Peter, 25, is looking forward to seeing her siblings again. “We have not met since May,” she said.

However, she is also worried the weather could wreck their plans. Chelsea and her parents had put up Christmas decorations on Nov 8 but it was ruined by floods on Dec 5 while they were shopping in Kota Kinabalu.

She even has a video of herself dancing in her flooded living room on her TikTok account.

Nonetheless, she is hoping for the best.

“We are all grateful to be able to have a family gathering during this period,” she added.

Chelsea said she and her siblings will also be celebrating their parents’ wedding anniversary, which fell on Aug 28.

“We’ll wear new clothes, eat cookies, and we will get to see all our cousins,” she added.

For those who hope for the best rather than expect the worst, come rain, shine or pestilence, Christmas is still a time to celebrate.

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