Christmas was always the event we were expected to be so excited about, revelling in the prospect of presents and Father Christmas sneaking down the chimney. How does he get in though? Magic? Slimming World? Burglary? I’m still confused.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, this year’s festive holidays will be a little different. Normally, we might bring our loved ones together at Christmas and with the Government’s guidance on a ‘Christmas Bubble’, this is possible to some extent. Up to three households can meet indoors in the bubble from the 23rd to the 27th with a minimum of other social contact ensuring we can have as happy a Christmas as possible.
Last year I was riddled with excitement, anticipating the most perfect Christmas ever. I started listening to ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ much too early to count as advent and this year my lack of patience has been replicated as a national phenomenon. On my morning bus journey I’ve been hearing Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ over the radio since the start of December. It seems the nation is so completely fed up that we’re resorting to timeless tunes to keep us in the spirit. I can’t blame us. As a nation (and planet) we have endured a lot of challenges this year. By now we’ve all seen the word “unprecedented” so many times that there’s nothing like the antidote of Mariah Carey. There’s a lot of things we want for Christmas and for me, not many of them are tangible. If it was possible I’d ask my mum very nicely for a meal out, to see my grandparents and have a snuggly yet prosecco-induced sleepover with my friends. For college students our education has been vastly disrupted with little to no idea whether we’re working towards an exam or not, in any form. For year two students who’ve had mocks last week, you must be working incredibly hard to stay afloat the madness and I hope you can have a recuperating rest.
But we must see the positives. This year has given us copious volumes of time to reflect, reevaluate our outlook and assess the way we want to conduct ourselves. Reducing travel saw more deer in the fields and fish returning to canals in Venice. We gained time to get to know our family more (for better or worse!) and understand what really makes us tick. Christmas may be tinged with melancholy but it will also be showered in gold, glittery tinsel showing just how far we’ve come. Michael Bublé will still be there for us, just one phone click away. The Grinch will still be on the telly, eating glass and generally being the antithesis of festivity we love. As a nation we will sink into the sofa and watch our choice of Christmas special with deep satisfaction. We have made it through the rollercoaster of 2020.
I often find Christmas hard for reasons that I can rarely articulate. Although I love the tradition, family and food, I can’t help thinking about the people who are lonely at Christmas and what my family means to me. As a child of separated parents, as I’m sure many of you are, deciding where to spend Christmas is always tinged with extra weight and emotion. In spite of this feeling I make my Christmas as merry and bright as possible with classic festive films, fluffy socks and a lot of ice cream.
Typically of our generation, the internet informed me that there was some backlash to the announcing of the Christmas bubble. A screenshot of a tweet was shared on Instagram and liked by thousands who “want to live in a society that treats all religions and races equally”. Lockdowns were announced the day before Eid and those celebrating were expected to drop all their plans. Some have said they don’t want the removal of the ‘Rule of 6’ for Christmas in the interests of solidarity and equality with those affected. We will have to wait and see what happens in the Christmas Bank Holiday period.
This year, as with all years, Christmas will be what we make it. Some of us will have fraught family lives, some will be facing economic hardship and some may be battling with a multitude of unseen fears or problems. When New Year comes around we will welcome it in with open arms. If we can’t change the situation, we can change our outlook. We can have a fresh start.
I hope you all have a happy and fun Christmas! We’ve certainly all deserved it.
Barnaby Wilde, Journalism Intern.