This has been a difficult year, to say the least. Since March our every day lives have been impacted by the coronavirus in ways both big and small. Now we’re on the cusp of Christmas, likely the biggest holiday on the calendar, and those challenges only seem to multiply. It’s a season where we especially honor tradition but it can be hard to replicate many of those time-honored events with family and friends in the midst of a pandemic.

Although we’ve lost both experiences and lives to this awful disease, it’s obvious that many in our community have not lost their ingenuity and community spirit. In the past several weeks, local residents and groups have re-worked traditional events and dreamed up new ones so that their neighbors and friends could still revel in the holiday spirit.

Holiday concerts are a staple of music education but since those aren’t feasible now teachers have encouraged and helped their music students record and share classic Christmas songs with their loved ones and the community.

Likewise, residents of senior living facilities typically welcome special visitors at Christmas, like school groups, to help them celebrate the season. Instead, a drive-by lighted parade, featuring residents’ family and friends, delivered some distanced cheer.

Santa Claus has had to make more than a few changes too. In both Imlay City and Capac, bright red convertibles served as his sleigh where he safely greeted youngsters and their families. In Dryden, St. Nick chatted with kids from a distance under the cover of Memorial Park’s gazebo.

Shop with a Hero has been a holiday mainstay for years now. Local police and fire departments came up with alternative plans so that they could still help families in need with their Christmas shopping while keeping everyone safe too.

An Almont couple generously coordinated a new holiday light cruise event, Deck Out Almont. It encouraged local residents to string up Christmas lights and then created maps to help admirers take in that holiday cheer.

Many other groups and organizations that lend a helping hand at the holidays have also conjured up new ways to assist our most vulnerable populations.

Kudos to everyone who’s found a way to show “goodwill toward men” this Christmas despite the situation we find ourselves in this year.