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This Holiday Season is Different, But We’re Adapting

This Holiday Season is Different, But We’re Adapting

15 December 2020

2020 has been a trying year, emotionally and physically. Stating that in euphemistic turns of phrase about “unprecedented times” seems, at this point, like pandering. Many of us held out hope through the spring and summer that we’d be able to celebrate the winter holidays in a more typical fashion. Unfortunately, for most of the world, that isn’t the reality. Large celebrations—the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Square, New Year’s Eve festivities at Times Square in New York and on the banks of the Thames in London—have mostly been scaled down or cancelled entirely, and most infectious disease specialists are advising people not to travel or congregate.

Still, in the face of what is more-or-less the worst possible scenario, the holiday spirit and our desire to revel in it persevere. The Christmas tree on Rockefeller Square will still shine brightly, even if the lighting ceremony is less crowded than usual. The National Menorah will stand and be lit on The Ellipse in Washington, D.C., just as it has every year since 1979. New Year’s Eve celebrations will still happen in New York and London and Paris and the world’s other metropolises, albeit with smaller crowds and a greater emphasis on broadcasts, live streams, and other remote options. Thankfully, much of the technological infrastructure necessary to implement these changes already exists—and the adaptation of other technologies to fill the gaps has exemplified our capacity for ingenuity and resilience.

In New York City, the Times Square Alliance is working with web and app developers to deliver an interactive New Year’s Eve experience to people across the world. The usual telecast of the countdown and dropping of the ball will take place, of course, but it will be supplemented by the additional virtual flourishes. In Sydney, Australia, the regular midnight fireworks display will still ring in the new year but, in light of the limited number of in-person attendees allowed, be presented with a special focus on the broadcast.

This has been an especially difficult year, and even our own family holiday celebrations will all probably look different than they usually would. But the plethora of tools that we have at our disposal to communicate and build togetherness—with loved ones and strangers alike—mean that this holiday season doesn’t have to lack anything in spirit or camaraderie. So, from our IDMI.Net family to yours, happy holidays.

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