Christmas traditions, fun, food and merriment, including Santa Claus, are witnessing a massive change due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year. The pandemic’s impact on Christmas is humongous. The 2020 Christmas celebrations will not be the same as it was in the pre-Covid world. Almost all governments across the world have toned down the festivities this year. Social distancing regulations, partial lockdowns and travel restrictions have dampened the festive spirit.
How is the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on Christmas 2020 & Santa Claus?
No doubt, the pandemic’s impact on Christmas has been manifold. Here are 6 points
1. Dip in Christmas shopping, business
Sale throughout the world has witnessed a massive dip due to the pandemic. In Australia, Christmas tree farms are shutting up earlier than usual as customers are yet to get back to old shopping habits amid the pandemic. Similarly, in Greece, thousands of Christmas trees may not reach the market in time due to a nationwide lockdown. This is a major blow to farmers in northern Greece where fir tree sales are their only livelihood.
Meanwhile, in the UK, closures of shops due to the pandemic pushed down UK retail sales in November, figures have indicated. Sales fell by 3.8% last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, bringing to an end a six-month streak of rising trade. There is a clear drop in demand. In India as well, people have reduced their shopping budget and extent. This is not a surprise as lakhs of people have lost their jobs in our country. It is more of maintaining a custom now than going for What can you expect in a country with -23.9% GDP? This is nothing but the pandemic’s impact on Christmas.
2. WHO Christmas alert, guidelines
According to a report by The Indian Express, the World Health Organisation was asked on children’s concerns about the novel coronavirus impacting Santa Clause’s health. Surprisingly, the answer by the agency’s technical head Dr Maria Van Kerkhove did not disappoint. “I understand the concern for Santa because he is of older age,” she said. “I can tell you that Santa Claus is immune to this virus,” she added.
However, the WHO has advised people to stay alert and safe and maintain social distance in order to prevent contracting the deadly virus. “I think it is very important that all the children of the world understand that physical distancing by Santa Claus and also of the children themselves must be strictly enforced,” she said.
3. Santa Claus in new avatar, uses mask & sanitizer
Even Santa Claus has changed its pre-Covid self this year. This year, the traditional Christmas figure is visiting children mostly online. Even if he goes outside in some cases, Santa takes care of himself with layers of protection. The new Santa Claus amid the pandemic is also doing various kind activities as well.
Nowadays, Santa is coming up to car windows instead of coming down chimneys in order to remain safe during the pandemic. https://t.co/S3orwS4Tt4
— WAFB (@WAFB) December 12, 2020
In Hungary, several local firms are offering online meetings with Santa Claus for children, through pre-record personalised messages online sessions with he greets from his home office. Are you ready for a video meeting with Santa?
As per a recent report, a Mumbai man named Ashok Kurmi has found a different way to spread joy. Considering the pandemic, Ashok dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed face masks and carried out a sanitization in his city to spread awareness. What a brilliant idea that is! The Samaritan was spotted in Rani Lakshmi Chowk while distributing masks to passers by. Not only this, he also distributed face masks and hand sanitizers to the homeless and needy children. No wonder why his actions are hitting the headlines. Salute Ashok!
4. Pandemic’s impact on Christmas: Travel restrictions, no meetups, gatherings
This holiday season, health officials are urging families to celebrate at home with the people who live in their households. While that message and fears over contracting Covid-19 are making an impact, millions of people still plan to travel for the holidays.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) December 20, 2020
US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said recently said that the US is heading into a difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic. He suggested that the current restrictions and travel advisories will be necessary for the Christmas holiday season. Well, this is true for the entire world. Yes, there is massive pandemic weariness and fatigue amongst us. But we cannot loosen up our precautionary measures. Rather maintain all the guidelines we have been following since 2020 began.
“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” Fauci said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”. “I don’t want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late to do something about this.” Similarly, there have been prohibitions on various events, concerts and gatherings. At most 50 people at any such program can get together with proper social distancing norms followed.
5. Pray for a better 2021, wait for vaccine
The pandemic has taught us many important things. From rethinking office flow to virtual care services to cash reserves—the ongoing pandemic has already taught doctors of optometry lessons to last a lifetime. Firstly, the world is connected like never before. Even the most crucial tasks at the work front are being done online. This we never could imagine before. Secondly, our awareness about our own health and hygiene has increased enormously. We have also learned to extend extra care to our elderly members of the family. Washing hands, staying clean and keeping our surroundings clear actually works wonderfully.
We have a new virtual gift on sale in our Christmas shop this year. Created in response to the pandemic, it pays for emergency food, soap and sanitation for a family in India. It’s a great gift to show how much you care and will change children’s lives. https://t.co/fJSM35DOAb pic.twitter.com/WIVt5icaNC
— Railway Children (@RailwayChildren) October 23, 2020
Thirdly, we have learned to take care of our environment as well. Remember the clear blue sky in Delhi during early lockdown days? Fourthly, we no longer take our lives for granted.
And while social (physical) distancing experiment has been illuminating in the other direction—we want to get away from that part—we might be smarter in the future about how we interact. But hopefully we’ll also feel a new sense of appreciation if and when we do get to act normal again. And hopefully that, and the other lessons we pull from this over time, will stick around for a long time. The pandemic’s impact on Christmas is huge. So taking insights from all these lessons, this year’s Christmas prayers will be all about a better 2021.