Merry Christmas to all of you who will be celebrating a very different Christmas this year.
We all wish things could be different — and by different, we generally mean the same as we always had it.
For the vast majority of Saskatchewan homes who will be doing the right thing and abiding by the restrictions imposed by Premier Scott Moe to stop the COVID-19 spread, it means missing some of the things that make this holiday so special.
There will be no fighting over who gets stuck with the lumpy mattress at grandma and grandpa’s in the spare room that used to be mom’s or dad’s room.
We won’t likely see that big turkey on the dining room table extended by a card table to fit everyone. The tree will look a little more barren with a lot less presents under it.
It’s going to be hard on homes all over Saskatchewan, but especially so in those homes located on the farms, villages and towns and smaller cities throughout rural Saskatchewan.
Christmas traditions take on a special meaning because of a long-standing Saskatchewan narrative.
If there is any criticism to be had, it’s that that such restriction likely should have come sooner.
Already under limits to four people at restaurant tables and how many people can assemble in places of worship, Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab not only extended these restrictions but also issued harsher new ones.
There are more severe limits on in-person shopping will be imposed after Christmas day and, of course, gatherings in households are further restricted to immediate members of that household.
Perhaps one can rightly criticize the premier and his government for only taking incremental measures rather than imposing sharper measures that were recommended by the province’s doctors and (in a somewhat more delicate manner) hinted by Shahab.
Moe said his actions were not aimed at appeasing the Buffalo Party or federal People’s Party of Canada supporters — many of whom seem directly tied to the anti-mask, anti-lockdown so-called “Freedom Rallies.”
To the credit of Moe — and many others in the province, for that matter — he also denounced the racial slurs aimed at Shahab that were uttered at the rally in Regina. Really, such taunts only exposed the speakers and many others who cheered them on for what they were. They have been selfish and uncaring about the rising COVID-19-related death tolls in our seniors' homes and elsewhere.
Those peddling such bunk that includes their false science have been nothing but destructive.
But this still being Christmas — and a difficult one at that — it’s unhelpful to dwell on such negatives. We all need to be better than that.
Traditionally, I’ve dedicated this space at this time of year to nothing but good wishes for our politicians.
But this being a very different Christmas in which we are apart but very much all in this together, let’s do things a little differently.
To all those who have made sacrifices this year in the COVID-19 fight and who are sacrificing traditions and celebrations at this special time of year, one simple wish: May you all have a Merry Christmas and a better 2021.