But for those people separated from loved ones, or who, tragically, have lost them this year, Christmas can feel simply like a time to endure. It has been a year that has focused everyone on the need to stay healthy physically and mentally.

In so many respects, we have been forced to do things differently. And while the virus has been eliminated in the community for the time being in Victoria, in the lead-up to Christmas that has not stopped us adapting to new ways of doing things.

Australian households bought more items online in the first week of December than ever before and nearly 1 million homes shopped online for the first time this year. That followed a record also set in the previous month in which Victorians spent more than 64 per cent more online than November last year. Many experts believe this will become the norm in the Christmas shopping rush.

Other of Victoria’s long-standing Christmas traditions have adapted this year. Organisers of Melbourne‚Äôs Carols by Candlelight have decided to perform the concert to an empty Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Some local councils have taken a more creative approach, with the Yarra City Council creating a mobile Carols in the Park that will be moved around to various locations on the back of a truck. Thankfully the Myer windows, which were cancelled at one stage, were able to be revived. The socially distanced long lines have been a testament to their enduring popularity. With luck, all of these traditions will revert to the usual format in coming years.

These things might seem trifles compared to the challenges facing many people around the world. Many countries, deep into winter by now, are feeling the ravages of this pandemic as political leaders struggle with how to deal with the illness and death it brings. The virus has little interest in offering respite during such celebrations as Christmas, as Sydney has found. We encourage you to reach out to anyone you know who is caught in much worse circumstances.

From everyone at The Age, we wish all Victorians a very happy Christmas. We thank you for your support this year, and your trust in our journalism. We have spent more than enough time this year apart, so enjoy your time together. And for all those who are taking a break, enjoy it. It feels as if it has never been more deserved.

Note from the Editor

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

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