By Foo Ming Li
The year 2020 is almost coming to an end but the Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting the routines of many people and the Christmas celebrations of this year will join the list of the pandemic’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) endured by the previous festive days.
Wong Hui Teng, a Han Chiang University College of Communication student (HCUC) in her final year in Bachelor in Public Relations (Honours) said the Christmas celebration at her home with her family has been always simple since the sisters usually spend their time at the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus at Balik Pulau. As a part of the church’s youth committee team, they also enjoy the responsibility of organising the annual Christmas carolling besides participating in the Christmas decoration at the church.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wong’s simpler yet exciting days of celebration have to be altered with the church being unable to organise any activities including the Christmas carolling which makes this year’s celebration much simpler compared to prior years.
“This year, my elder sister and I would spend our time with our parents and plan to have a special dinner on Christmas Eve after attending an online church mass. The changes allow us to stay together with our parents on the special day,” she said.
Another HCUC final year student from Bachelor in Public Relations (Honours), Aaron Lim, said a lunch gathering with a limited number of close relatives either in Penang or Johor Bahru on Christmas Day is on the cards.
Lim who is also a member of Church of Our Lady of Sorrows says the main highlight of the celebration is Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas where he and his fellow members congregate to celebrate the festive season together.
“We also organise Christmas parties and gift exchanges. Sometimes the church will organise an outreach program and carolling to bring Christmas cheer to the underprivileged. For this year’s outreach program, the church is planning to organise a fundraising for two orphanages or children centres,” he said.
As for celebrating Christmas during the pandemic, a meaningful family time is what Lim has planned to do while enjoying their home cooked food together. He adds, attending the church for Christmas shall be finalised pending the updates of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Penang, hence the church has decided to delay the gift exchanging session.