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Pope Goes Practical With Christmas Basket, Opts for Medicine Instead of Wine

Because of COVID-19, Pope Francis made changes to the Vatican tradition of giving gifts.

Many traditions and celebrations have been changed and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Birthdays, anniversaries, and yearly practices have not been celebrated how we have in the past due to the health crisis and the need to be safe and practical. That includes Pope Francis who is changing the contents of his Christmas baskets this year for the employees of the Vatican.

In the previous years, the Pope has given panettone and a bottle of spumante (Italian sparkling wine) every Christmas to the thousands of employees who work at the Holy See. But this year, because of COVID-19, Pope Francis has become practical when it comes to giving gifts— a value he has championed over the years. (Read: This Trendy Christmas Stamp Will Add a Pinoy Touch to Your Holiday Card)

Practicality for the Holidays

Pope Francis shakes hands with Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, as he arrives to bless a car donated to the papal almoner’s office at the Vatican, Feb. 6, 2019. (Photo from CNS photo / Vatican Media / Crux Now)

Instead of the famous Christmas bread and wine, Lolo Kiko has decided to provide the employees with paracetamol and flu medicine this Christmas. The decision was made upon the suggestion of Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who distributes the pope’s charity around the city.

It is a practical decision and welcome change as it reduces the expenses of the Vatican— which has been greatly affected economically by the pandemic— and provides health benefits for the employees. (Read: 5 Insta-Worthy Spots in the Metro for the Ultimate Christmas Feels)

The reduction of expenses for the Christmas baskets is another one of the Vatican’s means to keep them afloat and continue providing the employees their monthly salaries, and not have to lay off any of them.

Cost-Reduction Methods

Photo from Wallpaper Access

Before the Christmas basket change, the Vatican in the world has already been cutting down its expenses to match its economical losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promotions, provision of overtime, and hirings have been put to a halt since May to prioritize more important budgetary allotments. (Read: Meet 3 Filipinos Who Work in the Vatican)

The Vatican Museums, one of the Vatican’s most income-generating establishments, closed for three months at the beginning of the pandemic, which cost the city-state millions of euros in revenue.

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