Southern Albertans reflect on ‘quiet’ holiday season as many head back to school and work

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge residents reflect on ‘quiet’ holiday season' Lethbridge residents reflect on ‘quiet’ holiday season
WATCH ABOVE: As the first full week of 2021 kicks off, many in Lethbridge are getting back into their daily lives of school and work. Eloise Therien spoke with some residents about how they spent their time off amid the pandemic, and what hobbies they picked up – Jan 4, 2021

Another winter holiday season has come and gone, with many returning to online school or work during the first full week of 2021.

In Lethbridge, many residents say the COVID-19 restrictions forced them to have quieter than usual holiday celebrations.

Freddie Gelleny explains that a drive-in church service made her holiday experience seem more complete, despite not being able to see her mother or daughter.

Read more: Kitchener asks residents to leave holiday lighting up through January

“Christmas Eve doesn’t start for me until we go to service,” she explained. “So that was probably a real highlight, like to still be able to do that.”

Gelleny adds she found herself playing lots of crib and spending more time at Henderson Lake and in the river bottom.

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Others, like Amanda McGaffin and Irwin Bergen, say getting a new dog over the summer kept them busy through quieter periods this winter.

“We got a dog in August because I wanted to get out and walk more because [of the] pandemic,” McGaffin said. “I figured it would help me get out an hour a day, and it actually does really help.”

Read more: 20,000 people sign petition calling on B.C. to delay return to school

Bergen adds he spent much of the holiday playing video games. McGaffin says she also took up painting with her sister to help quell pandemic boredom and exercise her creative side.

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“We started drawing and painting on canvases, really a first time for both of us,” she said. “We needed something to do.”

For the Klassen family, watching movies and going on strolls around their neighbourhood helped to occupy the time they would have otherwise spent with friends and relatives.

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“We spent a lot of time at home, obviously,” Chase Klassen said. “We didn’t do a whole lot, lots of movie-watching I guess. Found out that we enjoy Harry Potter a little more than we thought.”

Read more: Alberta MLAs who travelled during COVID-19 pandemic lose ministry portfolios

Not being able to see family was the most difficult part for many, with government restrictions prohibiting the intermingling of households.

Current provincial restrictions, including those prohibiting gatherings, will be in effect until at least Jan. 12.

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