The last train out of Sydney was almost gone when the ACT effectively shut its border to Greater Sydney, derailing many Canberrans’ Christmas plans.
Sydney-siders living in Canberra and those with flights booked to leave from the Harbour City found themselves stranded in the capital for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Those looking forward to a joyful silly season with family and friends suddenly found themselves isolated after a tumultuous year.
One group, a motley crew of fly-ins and imports opened their doors and hosted a “bring a plate and donate” Christmas Day celebration in Deakin for Christmas Day 2020.
“COVID has made this a tough year and seeing the family would have been a highlight,” Jacob Masina said.
“The next best thing was to open our doors to everyone we knew in Canberra who was in a similar position and make sure everyone had a pav on their plate this Christmas.”
The potluck had Canberrans from all walks of life bring everything from pavs to potato bakes and cannoli to spanakopita.
Bella, who missed her traditional family dinner in Sydney for the first time in her life after moving to Canberra recently, said she was worried about being alone this Christmas.
“Coming from a very religious family, Christmas is always an important time of year to catch up with family and friends, so it was nice to still be able to hang out with friends after the year that we’ve had,” Bella said.
“Christmas isn’t usually a time people spend with new friends, but when everyone was in the same boat, it just worked.”
However, across Canberra, almost 40,000 people live amongst Australia’s poorest households, including 25,000 people experiencing food stress.
So attendees were encouraged to not only bring a plate but donate to a Canberra charity helping those doing it extra tough this Christmas.
Jacob said, “even if you were able to spend Christmas with your family this year, try and remember those who can’t and consider donating a little money or goods to make sure the spirit continues to thrive well after this lockout”.
The Communities@Work Christmas appeal is helping put food on the table for those who are struggling. To donate, please visit Communities@Work.
You can also help various charities across the region by donating at Hands Across Canberra.
What did you do this Christmas to make it special and memorable for all the right reasons? Share your Christmas pics and stories … and a merry Christmas from everyone at The RiotACT and Region Media.