Christmas – ‘the most wonderful time of the year’
December usually brings festive parties, dinners, and drinks with friends and family. It can often feel as though the world comes to a holt in order to celebrate the national holiday. However, due to COVID-19, 2020 has been a year unlike any other and with Christmas quickly approaching we can expect an unconventional holiday season.
The usual bustling atmosphere that is such a large part of the Christmas build up will certainly be different this year due to the size of crowds allowed to gather at one time. Whilst this is disappointing, I think many would agree that it is the inability to see their family this year that will be the biggest change. For a lot of people, Christmas is a time of year celebrated with loved ones. Yet, this year that will sadly not be possible for many reasons and traditional Christmases for many will not go ahead.
In the lead up to Christmas the government stated that across most of the country we were allowed to join with up to three households between the 23rd and 27th. This brought excitement to the country as it suggested a sense of normality in an otherwise turbulent year.
Despite, the relaxing of rules, my grandparents, like many other elderly and vulnerable people, were terrified to spend Christmas day with their loved ones in fear of catching the virus. For most of these people, they have spent the majority of 2020 within the four walls of their home and surely Christmas should be a time in which they can enjoy at least one day out of the year? It breaks my heart to hear that people filled with anxiety and it is for this reason that a COVID Christmas doesn’t seem quite so jolly.
As I was writing this article, Boris Johnson issued new guidelines on the 19th December, only a week before Christmas day. For London and most of the south East, where I live, we are now in tier 4. This means that you are only allowed to spend Christmas day in your household or with one other house if they are in your support bubble. For many people, including myself, this has put a hold on previous plans.
I personally will, for the first time, be spending the day with my immediate family. I am heartbroken to not be seeing my grandparents who I have not hugged in months or my cousins and I will miss celebrating as a big family.
Despite this, I am beyond grateful that I am able to spend the day with some of my family as many people will not be able to see their loved ones at all this year. I think we must also remember to be grateful this year in particular for the health of those around us as so many have lost their loved ones to the virus.
The change in guidelines are preventative measures in attempt to slow down the rise in cases seen across the country. Though, one must ask will people actually pay attention to the new rules? Will every single family cancel their plans? I think it is naïve to think that people won’t try and get away with having their traditional Christmas festivities. How is there any way to monitor and control so many people? In particular are those families who are split between two houses meant to only see one parent?
Though there is no way to make sure everyone partakes, I think we must follow the rules to the best of our ability to keep our loved ones safe. I also think it is tremendously important that we look out for those who have struggled this year. A phone call to check in, or a gift in the post are both lovely ways to show someone that you are thinking of them during what is going to be a hard Christmas for so many.
Although, this Christmas will not be exactly the same as those which we are used to, we can see it as a time in which to create new traditions and memories that can be cherished for years to come.
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