2020 seems years long. It has been a difficult and challenging year for us all. A global pandemic which has claimed far too many lives due to those clinging to power, influence and wealth, circulating misinformation and interfering with efforts to contain it. These efforts leading to a global recession. People need hugs but can’t safely get them. Normally this time of year you see a scrum happening out there. People running around powered by guilt trying to prove to one another how much they care for one another by going out and buying things.  We can’t safely do that this year: There is a global pandemic and until we’ve been able to inoculate everyone with vaccine, the only way that we can protect one another is to practice social distancing. Online shopping is frantic as a result and people are experiencing lengthy delivery dates for packages. And people are freaking out because this pandemic is going to interfere with their usual rituals of getting together to celebrate the season.  Thinking back, I remember all the gatherings that I attended in which the thing we gave to each other was each other. The Order of Paladins has a Yule ritual in which the Grand Master hands a lighted candle to one of the knights, masters or squires and invites them to hold the light. And while that person holds the candle we go around the circle and every single squire, knight and master turns to that person who is holding the light and tells them what we think of them, what they mean to us, how we love them, how we care for them.  If it is a large group it takes a bit of time but it is time well spent. We have this rating system for these events: one, two, three, four tissues, or no mascara. This is definitely a no mascara event. But do you see what I mean? Instead of trying to go to somebody and try fool them into thinking that you really care for them even though you haven’t called them in months because you’ve given them this thing, give them yourself. Rather than spending hours driving around in traffic jams and risking your health wading through crowds and malls, trying to get things to eventually throw at somebody, take that time and contact that person, spend some virtual time with them. Do Skype, do Zoom, do WhatsApp. Engage. Tell them what you are experiencing and thinking. Give yourself. Give yourself to friends and family, give yourself to the community. This is part of the service of largesse, which is part of the code of chivalry of our Order. They may not remember the words you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Because we shared each other, we gave ourselves. So this holiday season whether you do Yule or Christmas or Midwinter Blot or Hanukkah or whatever it is I hope you have a safe, happy, prosperous and joyous season. Go out there and connect with one another virtually, and be glorious. Wassail.