As the deluct, golden voice of Shakin’ Stevens rings through the house, accompanied with the cinnamony tones of mulled wine and Hugh Grant sashaying down the stairs to The Pointer Sisters Jump, the same conversation can be heard up and down the country.
‘How the bloody hell is it December already.’
‘It’s so dark.’
‘Where the f*** has this year gone?’’
‘Thank god 2020 is finally nearly over.’
Whatever your thoughts towards 2020; whether lockdown was hell on earth, a welcome respite from the chaos of normal life, or (as is probably the case for most people) a combination of the two, I think most can agree that this year has been far unlike any other. National lockdowns, armageddon in supermarkets and rocking up for work in pyjamas just a couple of quirks to name a few. And this Christmas is already shaping up to be a weird one. A hiatus from lockdown in the form of a three household bubble? Christmas drinks down the pub, only if accompanied by a scotch egg at the bare minimum? (Which very much does count as a substantial meal, according to Gove. Who says he’s not a man of the people).
In any normal year, without a doubt Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I am a self confessed christmas-aholic, and love everything from the first glimpse of the John Lewis ad (whether it be Edgar, Monty or the strange dog bouncing on the trampoline), to the sight of Colin Firth marching through Portuguese streets with Miss Dunkin Donuts ‘03 to confess his feelings for Auriela (if you know you know – second reference to the modern classic). Not to mention, drinks at the local pub with school pals on Christmas Eve, presents with the family on Christmas morning, and below average TV in the evening when everyone is too knackered from the food coma to do more than grunt at each other and top up their glass of red. A tried and tested formula.
But this year, for many, Christmas won’t hold the same excitement that it normally does. Excitement might be tinged with guilt at relatives who will be spending Christmas alone. Care free enjoyment will be curbed by restrictions, acting as a constant reminder that there is a cloud hanging over this particular festive period. After the year we’ve had collectively, it is more likely than not that most will experience a variety of feelings towards Christmas. If we think about it as the Nandos spice spectrum with extra hot being the most excited you’ve ever been for some much needed rest and merriment, to the mediocre indifference, and the mango and lime attitude of let’s just skip the whole thing altogether. All perfectly acceptable sauces. And all perfectly acceptable feelings.
4 potential attitudes to Christmas in 2020
- The Get me Christmas NOW people
This person has tunnel vision for Christmas, and will go above and beyond to make up for all the lost fun.
Yes this year’s been a bit of a shitter – lockdown OG, no holidays, lockdown 2.0 yada yada yada, but we can put all that behind us as soon as we hit the 20th December. Christmas this year will be better than ever before, because we’ll appreciate it more than ever before – in fact, Christmas ’20 is throwing a life jacket to the entire year.
Spending time with family, copious red wine and G+Ts, exchanging gifts, pulling crackers and watching family favourite films. The Christmas dinner is so close you can almost smell it – the honey glazed carrots, the salty bacon clinging to the turkey, the brandy fumes escaping the Christmas pud. Just a few more measly weeks to get through, and we can get the much needed rest and relaxation we all deserve.
- The lets give this one a miss people
The realists. The ones who know that it is likely we’ll return from our Christmas holidays to tighter restrictions in January, normally a pretty grim month anyway. Is five days of young and old mixing up and down the country, spreading the virus when we are still sans vaccine really worth it? Christmas is an annual phenomenon. We didn’t give Covid a 5 day holiday when Eid fell during the first lockdown – can we really not give Christmas a miss just this once?
- The Christmas is a sad affair people
For some, Christmas is not much fun. And this year for many, it will be a more difficult affair still. The expectations we as a society place on Christmas to be ‘the most wonderful time’ of the year does not ring true for everyone – and social media spewing up posts of people’s ‘best days ever’ (we don’t need to see you unwrapping your fifteenth Mac lipstick Christina) will make it even harder for those who struggle at this time of year. More people will be spending Christmas alone, particularly the elderly who will be nervous about mixing with kids and grandkids. Families unable to visit relatives in care homes. And with so many redundancies and job insecurity for certain industries, many will also be facing financial difficulties.
- The can we just get the whole thing over and done with people.
This year has been exhausting in so many ways. Can we really be bothered with the whole debacle this time round? The gift buying, the food prep. Then add to that the extra stress of Corona – who will make the three baubles? How long will we have to queue to pick up the turkey? Do we have to isolate before seeing Great Auntie Mildred? These people will go along with Christmas, and they will enjoy it (mostly). But they’ll do it half heartedly. And during the run up (which has started earlier than ever, with everyone and their dog seemingly putting their tree up in November – myself included, we’ll take all the joy we can get), they’ll wonder if the stress is really worth it this time. Let’s just get the whole thing over with minimal effort, and start again in 2021.
Again, attitudes are likely to encompass a variety of these emotions. You can be excited for Christmas one day, and over the whole thing the next. But whatever camp(s) you identify with, it is probably worth bearing in mind that this Christmas will be different to others, and should be treated as such. Turkeys will be smaller, pantos cancelled and gatherings restricted. A slimmed down version if you like – a semi skimmed edition, or a Muller light. But amongst all the weirdness with baubles or bubbles and testing and work zoom parties and ‘laying low’ before heading back home – there is light on the horizon in the form of a vaccine. Hopefully this will be the first and last Merry Covid Christmas.