Some Canadians are choosing to leave their Christmas lights on a little longer this year in a bid to keep the holiday cheer going during these dark times.
In Kitchener, Ont., Mayor Berry Vrbanovic is encouraging his constituents to keep their Christmas lights on until the end of January, in hopes the lights will help spread some cheer as COVID-19 cases rise and lockdown measures continue.
“It's just going to give them that hope -- that positivity -- that is really going to be needed to get them through the dark and dreary months that we have to get through as Canadians every year, and this year is going to be particularly challenging,” he told CTV News.
Vrbanovic originally tweeted the idea on Dec. 29 and within nine hours, the City of Guelph, Ont., the Township of North Dumfries, Ont., the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ont. and Wilmot Township, Ont., all agreed to join in.
The town of Bracebridge, Ont. home to Ontario’s Santa’s Village, is also taking part.
“So many people are really enthusiastic and I think it really speaks to where people are at in their own personal lives,” Vrbanovic said.
The idea has even spread to as far as Fredericton, N.B., where residents are being asked to keep the lights on until early February.
"I think it just gives people a lift and isn't that what we need this year?” said Bonnie Greenwood, a Fredericton resident.
Dr. Tina C. Montreuil, an associate member of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, said the lights can really bring a boost to morale during trying times.
“Hope is an essential ingredient of resilience,” she said. “One of the only really true ways that we can sustain the ongoing restrictions is to holding onto some level of hope.”
The Reid family, known for their light display in front of their Markham, Ont. home for the past 30 years, also understands the joy that comes with witnessing an impressive array of lights first-hand.
"The smiles on the faces that come here, do it all for us, when you see those kids -- even adults, like children -- just amazed," said Barb Reid.
Wow! Can't believe the enthusiasm for this! Let's #LightUpCanada in January as we fight #COVID19 #wave2! So far @cityofguelph, @northdumfries and @WilmotTownship are joining in with calls for other nearby communities in #WRAwesome & beyond to join! Can you help @FCM_online?— Berry Vrbanovic (@berryonline) December 30, 2020