Celebrating the holiday season

·3 min read

Seems like only yesterday,the first leaves were falling down the trees, little Kanehsata’kehró:non were running around trick-or-treating, dressed as their favourite monsters or heroes.

All that is in the past now, making place for one of everyone’s - yes even you the Grinch in the back - favourite moments of the year.

Pandemic or not, Kanesatake is determined to celebrate and to make the most out of this December. Community members will be able to start the festivities on December 1 with the special 12 Days of Christmas calendar.

The initiative was developed by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) in collaboration with the Kanesatake Christmas Committee and Kanesatake Child and Family Services.

The spokesperson for the ERU, Robert Bonspiel, explained that due to COVID-19 restricting the type of activities typically allowed, they had to think outside the box to make sure the community would still get into the spirit of the holidays.

“Our vision is to give the community the most memorable holiday possible,” said Bonspiel. “This has been a very hard year for all and if we can assist in bringing as much joy to our children, families and elders as we can, then that is what we are going to do!”

While every year the Christmas committee provided different events, Bonspiel said that they all knew they wouldn’t be able to offer the Santa brunch or the gifts giveaway in the same, traditional ways the community is used to.

The idea behind the calendar is to engage the community in interactive activities branded under the 12 Days of Christmas. Everything will happen online.

Each day, members who decide to participate will have to perform a series of challenges from holiday dance videos and card making for elders, to wearing an ugly Christmas sweater or even singing Christmas carols in Kanien’kéha.

Videos and photos will be uploaded on the Facebook page of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake or Kanesatake Health Centre for the chance to win different prizes that have yet to be announced.

“We thought this would be a great way to reduce the feeling of isolation and promote mental wellness,” said Bonspiel.

The holidays are meant to be a joyful time, spent with families and friends but it can also unbox unwanted presents such as depression and stress. It can be overwhelming to plan gifts and expenses, dinners, or simply to deal with loneliness.

Add that little mix into the anxiety brought by the coronavirus and the holiday cocktail could be hard to swallow. However, it can be reassuring to know that ironically, we are all together, going through the experience of loneliness.

A recent poll showed that 50 percent of people across Canada reported that the state of their mental health had worsened, with stress levels doubling since the beginning of the pandemic.

So get your camera ready, take out your Christmas decorations, dust off your old pans for the bake-off and post your best take.

Let the magic begin!


Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door