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We want to start a new tradition; in these darkening times let’s put our holiday lights back up and celebrate each other.
In this time of sheltering at home and social distancing, it’s easy to feel isolated from our neighbors and even our family members who live nearby, but whom we may not be able to visit face-to-face. And if the indications are to be believed, things are going to get worse before they get better.
But it’s often out of the most difficult times that the most enduring traditions evolve.
Put your holiday lights back up and turn them on for an hour (or longer) after dark each night. If possible, while they’re on, go out with your family and stand in front of your house or apartment and wave and chat (from an appropriate distance) with your neighbors. Make sure they’re okay, and just be positive with each other. Take pictures, and post them with #CoronaLights.
Just yesterday my wife and I were walking our dogs in our Bay Area neighborhood where almost everyone is sheltering-in-place due to the Corona virus pandemic. One of our neighbors was out playing with his kids in the front yard, and we got to talking (from across the street, appropriately socially-distant). He’s home because the local university where he works is pretty much closed down, but his wife has essential status, so he’s the one keeping their boys engaged during the day. He cracked a joke about turning the holiday lights he hadn’t yet taken down back on, just to show some neighborhood cheer. And the hashtag idea popped into my head immediately: #CoronaLights!
Everyone who is stuck at home sheltering in place should put their holiday lights back up; whether you put lights out for Halloween, Diwali, Christmas, the Solstice, Hanukkah, or whatever, put them back up now (or turn them back on, if you haven’t gotten to taking them down yet). More than any time in recent history, we need to come together as communities to support each other, and keep our spirits up when we’re all stuck at home.
This is how new traditions are built. If things get as bad as they could, we’re going to need to have a way to look back in solemn remembrance in years to come, and creating a cultural event around putting lights back out and talking with our neighbors for community solidarity seems like a good idea. So over the next couple days, I’m going to put our holiday display back out. Actually, I’m probably going to make it some crazy mash-up of our Halloween and Christmas displays, just to be a geek about it. I’ll post some pictures and add #CoronaLights. If you do it, please tag us in your social posts, and we’ll spread the spirit around as far as we can!