Food & Drink Magazine

Christmas During the Pandemic

By Wislanscraft @Wislanscraft

 Christmas Traditions — well any traditions really, are fluid. But it’s Christmas during a pandemic, so I’m hearing various people lament that we can’t do traditional Christmassy things this year. Or the talking heads, scientists, and the like, asking us (the public) to avoid family gatherings to save lives.

In my family too, we are not doing what we usually do - for the 2nd year. Two Christmases ago we met, as we had for almost 20 years, at my house on Christmas Eve. There were as many grandchildren, children, in laws, significant others, temporary or permanent spouses as we could cram in. I roasted an annual standing rib roast that got bigger and bigger and better and better each year. Bone in for the dogs, and plenty so that there would be leftovers to send home.  

As the day approached , my spouse would become jittery and nervous as he imagined the chaos to come, make innumerable last minute trips to the grocery store in case there wasn’t enough fruit or cool whip.  Once three o’clock arrived the nervousness would seem to magically evaporate as he welcomed each grandchild and son in law. The big tree would suddenly be surrounded by masses of packages and the house would fill with the laughter of children and cousins who hadn’t seen much of each other for the past year. On our last one of these Christmas Eves, we welcomed two “fresh babies”, a grandchild and great grandchild born 6 weeks apart the previous spring. What a joyful day.  

2 springs ago we downsized to a condo and moved the festivities to my sons house... this time we were the visitors. But I brought the Roast Beast. It was different, but just as joyful. 

Then the pandemic hit. This year will be the quietest Christmas we’ve had in our married life. My daughter asked for the recipe for the Beast, and I made the “goop” that gets slathered on it — because that recipe is all in my head. I’ll get the leftovers (I hope!). 

I’ll make a small side trip over to my oldest sons house to deliver a small gift, while masked. I’ll miss hugging his teenaged kids, and sneaking smooches all around. Ill make another side trip to my daughter’s (gotta pick up the leftovers!). But I won’t be able to hug her children.  

None of these traditions are anything like the well choreographed Christmases of my childhood...  Back then Santa brought the tree down the chimney with him. We (my 4 older sisters and I) gathered in our parents bedroom until everyone was dressed and clean, then walked (no running!) down the stairs *after* Father had gone down the make sure Santa had arrived (i.e. turned on the lights on the tree), taking the LONG way around. More choreography- stockings first, with the orange juice and sweet rolls. The breakfast at the table and then, only then, could we start opening packages. Talk about torture— but if I’m even remembering this correctly- it drew out the activities past noon and the afternoon could be spent playing with toys, reading new books, trying on new clothes.  

I was the youngest, so at least in my memory, each year was a little different until when we were all mostly grown, decorating the tree included wine, or a little Creme de Menth and Tia Maria. 

Ever changing, ever morphing traditions as we grew into adulthood, had children of our own, and gradually created our own, “new” traditions. 


This year will be different for most of us who celebrate it, on the planet. Different does not necessarily mean difficult.  I am one of the lucky ones. I live with the person I love most in the world, and I got himself some of his favorite candy to put under our “tree”. 

Christmas during the Pandemic

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