Silent night, holy night

Christmas - A family celebration

I found my current host family on workaway, while looking for a spot to stay at for Christmas - specifically with Christmas in mind. I wanted to celebrate at a place with good chances of white Christmas and a family around me that could help me, not, to forget about the absence of my own family, but to at least make the separation enjoyable.

And I hit the jackpot with the Peterson family.

They did not only spontaneously take me two months earlier than planned and gave me a job I even get to earn money with (which is part of the reason I will be staying with them until the end of March), they also gave me a second family out here in the Canadian Rockies, far away from home.

Naturally, I had hoped it would come like this, but my expectations have been exceeded many times over.

Family Celebration in times of Corona

Even if Canada seems to be suffering a lot less under the pandemic, in comparison to Europe - at least if I interpret the news correctly - the threat Corona poses is certainly taken seriously.

One of the big changes the government decided on in the last few weeks was a complete provincial border closure for the holidays - including (maybe even especially for) family members. And of course, social contacts should be reduced to a minimum as well.

A few of the already grown up kids and extended family of the Peterson’s live in Alberta, and thus were unably to visit Seven Pines for Christmas, like they would usually do. Short visits from friends and neighbours, who usually pass by during the day and fill the house with (more) joy and laugther and help with the Christmas dinner did not happen, either.

Thusly, Christmas this year was truly a silent and holy night. Only the people living in the house, and the dogs, and a mountain of food - which made us all too tired to stay up very long afterwards for games and company. Additionally, unboxing of presents had already happened in the morning, after true English-American fashion, with stockings and an incredibly colourful Christmas tree.

White Christmas

Despite the unexpected silence and emptiness, and all the missing relatives and friends, it was a beautiful feast. The yard, the fields and the mountains were covered in snow, every now and then a few more snowflakes were falling as well, and the oven had crackled quietly to itself. The couple hours of sunshine we had, Leah and I used to go sleighing with the ponies.

Christmas felt like a concentrated version of the whole year - somewhat empty and lonely, but still specked with all these beautiful little moments in between. A celebration of hope, that the next feast will happen with a full house, again.

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