Families Seek Joy on Christmas Day During Unprecedented Year

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People across North Texas sought ways to hold on to a little slice of peace and joy on Christmas Day, finding reasons to smile in what’s been a hard year for so many.

Lucinda Salinas said the weight of the last 10 months has been hard to shake. She and her daughter are educators and she said they feel the loss of not being in the classroom.

“And we’re feeling it heart to heart because we’re teachers,” she said. “My daughter is a middle school teacher and I’m an elementary school teacher and it’s been very difficult to not be able to hold our children, our students.”

It’s why something as simple as taking family photos at the park on Christmas Day was enough to lift her spirits.

“Just looking for quality time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money you just have to spend time together,” Salinas said. “My daughter and her fiancé became engaged in the midst of all this COVID and we are here to celebrate them.”

Alexis and Saul Gates took advantage of the mild winter weather and sunshine with a mini photoshoot outdoors.

“That was the perfect opportunity to get these moments that we can share with our family virtually so we can still have that feel of Christmas being together even though we’re far apart,” Saul Gates said.

They said they’d normally spend the day gathering with family. Instead, they put on matching Christmas shirts and set out to enjoy each other’s company.

“With this whole pandemic, it’s taught us to appreciate the small things. It’s brought us back to the forefront of appreciating the little things in life,” Alexis Gates said.

Donna Wilson said she’s holding on a little tighter to moments of joy as well. She’s a therapy aid at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and knows first-hand the heaviness this year has brought. She spent much of her day spreading Christmas cheer to colleagues.

“I played Santa Claus and got them a gift each and just brought their spirits up,” Wilson said.

Wilson had one request for anyone who would listen.

“Be kind to one another. Be patient, be tolerant,” she said. “Just do your best, everybody, and stay safe.”

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