This Sunday, the Schindels and the Barrs will celebrate Christmas in May.
Regina’s Chad and Taryn Schindel and their two daughters – Sophie, 11 and Myla, 7 – have only seen Grandpa Russ and Grandma Marla Barr a few times since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was dropping off presents or dropping … a Mother’s Day meal – a ring and run type of thing,” Taryn said.
She also saw her parents when her uncle passed away and when her eldest daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had to be hospitalized – her youngest daughter then stayed with her grandmother and grandfather for a few days.
“So the times we saw them, it was definitely not for a happy occasion,” Taryn said. “It will be our moment of pleasure. It will be our pleasure and our relaxation.”
May 30 marks the start of stage 1 of Saskatchewan’s three-step reopening plan. It is seeing some of the restrictions put in place last fall loosened, including allowing private gatherings indoors for up to 10 people.
Chad said the family planned to reunite for Christmas, but the province later announced that gatherings would be limited to immediate family only during the holidays. They decided they would wait to celebrate Christmas when he was safe again.
“We weren’t expecting the end of May, for this to be the time,” he said. “We were thinking maybe a month or two by then at most.”
The Schindels had their own Christmas together at home, so the girls were always able to open presents on Christmas Day, and they had a video chat with Taryn’s parents and Chad’s mother. They were able to celebrate Christmas with Chad’s mother on another day because she lives alone.
Taryn is a nurse, so there was also an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in her workplace, and Sophie’s recent diagnosis of diabetes means she is immunosuppressed, so Taryn said the family was always going to be careful and slow down the startup. to socialize again.
But she said it was important for her family to reunite.
“I think it needs to be done now for our own emotional well-being,” she said. “My children need to be with their grandparents. They have to do it. We just need to be together.
‘A surprise for everyone’
It will be a real Christmas party – Russ and Marla Barr have yet to remove the decorations they placed last fall, and there are still presents waiting under the tree.
Taryn and Chad chose the gifts at the request of the grandparents, but they say they can’t remember what they got.
“It will really be a surprise to everyone,” Chad said.
“We’re going to look at them and say, ‘What did you get?’ And we really won’t know, ”Taryn said.
As for gifts for grandparents, Taryn says they bought jigsaw puzzles and crosswords and other activities that would be good for seclusion.
“And now everything is opening up, and [the presents are] all the things they probably won’t want to do anymore, ”she laughs.
Russ and Marla Barr are planning the full spread: turkey, potatoes with gravy, coleslaw rolls, perogies, and saskatoon berry pie with ice cream for dessert.
But Chad said it would be strange to have so many people at a table together.
“We haven’t had more than four people at a table in quite a while, and in general we wouldn’t make such a large meal either,” he said.
Everyone is excited to celebrate Christmas on Sunday, and Chad said the kids are especially excited about another set of Christmas presents.
Taryn said she can’t wait to regain a sense of normalcy.
“It will be nice if we can sit with them. We can be with them on the same couch,” Taryn said. “It won’t be across an aisle – just together.”