A lovely gift; friendship!

By Kelly Arévalo

The cold Canadian winter warms up every February with the celebration of Valentine's Day; also known as the month of love and friendship. Despite this, since the COVID-19 pandemic, speaking in terms of economy and consumption, there has been less enthusiasm in relation to celebrating these holidays.

Although flowers, cards, and chocolates are still more popular during this time of year, in

smaller amounts, the real romantic dinner dates with friends seems to have changed over to

ordering take out or staying in. In other words, the pandemic has made Saint Valentine

to stay home as well.

The online gift shopping for this holiday has also surpassed in-person store

purchases. In 2021, according to official figures, Canadians spent 20% less

than the year before on Valentine's Day. Unemployment, mental health, increased in cost of living,

social distancing; are obvious reasons behind the changes in consumption for this well

anticipated holiday.

The “consumer discouragement” that the pandemic caused in relation to the Valentine’s Day is a blessing in disguise because it  has opened up the opportunity for reconnecting with the true significance of love and friendship.

Although we are not able to speak of new forms of connecting at this moment, the pandemic has

shown us just how important the use of technology has become. Social media, video calling,

in order to maintain friendships, develop interpersonal relationships, and forge closer ties.

Long Distance Friendships

For immigrant families and individuals, the physical separation and distance from friends and

loved ones is a very hard and complex experience which has to be endured when we leave our

home countries.

Each person experiences different emotions and lives through different phases through this

difficult process of separation that comes with migration.

In this atmosphere of nostalgia, they long for friendships, a hug from

loved ones. 

It was that the COVID-19 pandemic that surprised many migrant families,

impacting the new arrivals with greater force.

The pandemic negatively impacted and interrupted the normal process of adaptation and

socialization of those who have recently arrived and are settling into their new communities.

Social distancing, the protocols and preventions associated with the pandemic have especially affected interpersonal relationships and friendship.

Translation Spanish-English: Natalia García