Spring has arrived here in Vancouver, and the cherry blossoms are erupting riotously, their pink and white canopies of blossoms bobbing in gentle breezes against the backdrop of blue skies. Daffodils are pushing up. Heavy coats and extra layers are left hanging in our closets.
But it's not a normal spring. Most of us are bunkered down in our homes day and night these days, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Those who venture out are doing so to head to jobs they can't do at home, or to run essential errands, all while practicing social distancing (we hope).
By day, we can walk around to get some fresh air and appreciate the long-awaited official arrival of spring.
And yet, there's a movement afoot in the U.S., and now here in Canada, to have a kind of Christmas in March.
Specifically, people have begun to hang their Christmas lights, or simply turn on ones that have stayed up since the new year. Some people are even putting Christmas trees back up inside, and turning these spring break weeks into a mock Christmas break.
A friend of mine shared this from a Facebook page called Christmas Count:
Certainly, for the die-hard Christmas fans (sidebar: why not watch "Die Hard" after the kids are in bed? We can argue if its a Christmas movie or not, in March!) this makes a lot of sense. Maybe less so for those who are finding themselves having to take part in video conferences daily because they're working at home - though I can personally attest that spying a co-worker's Christmas tree in the background is a great way to send a ripple of happily distracted laughter through a work meeting.
If you don't want to turn your home into Santa's workshop inside, another idea floating around is for people to re-hang and fire up their Christmas lights on the outside of their homes.
Canadian broadcaster Peter Mansbridge got on board the idea this week, sharing the notion to his social media channels.
Someone started this idea on social media last night and I think it’s a great one to lift our spirits. You’ll find out more at the end of “the bridge - daily” available wherever you get your pods. But the main focus is on leadership - who is really showing it in this worldwide crisis?
Others are skeptical, urging people to focus more on spring, and expressing concerns about breaking social distance rules if someone needs a hand getting their lights. It might not be ideal for everyone to do it right now, but if it doesn't require unnecessary interactions with others that put you in an unsafe proximity, it certainly doesn't hurt.
Some families in my community have expressed an interest in seeing this, and they've suggested that once the sun goes down and families are anxious to get some air, they can safely go for a walk or drive to look at the lights on display.
At my house, we're going to remain in springtime, but not because we don't love this idea. We're not able to hang lights outside our townhouse (which doesn't face a street anyhow) and I'm not Christmas crazy enough to put up decorations inside. But I'd happily go for a pre-beditme walk with my son to look at lights, or drive and do the same. It brings us such joy during the holidays, and it's a joy that would be much appreciated now as we are not at work or school or daycare, and not getting together with friends or taking in cultural events and venues and restaurants in person.
We've got our eyes out for anyone putting their lights up around where we live. Has anyone put up lights where you are? Let us know! We're eager to share any good news stories within our communities. You can tag us on Instagram with #vancouverisawesome or get in touch by email (I'm firstname.lastname@example.org).