COLUMN: Be as merry as you can this Christmas
*Column originally published in the Eastbourne Herald on 25.12.20*
Christmas this year is definitely not what we all expected it would be. Rules and restrictions are changing what seems like on a daily basis, and then just when we think we’ve got five days of freedom secured Boris comes and snatches that away on the weekend before the big day. All this back and forth means people have been left very much deflated and fed up at the end of an already very difficult year. Christmas was something we were all relying on cheering us up but it seems we can’t have that now either.
One part of this that has been criticised is the subject of timing. Only days prior we were reassured the five days for Christmas would remain in place and untouched. Just as things were starting to look a bit more hopeful with a new vaccine being rolled out this new variant has thrown things back into the same level of panic we were in when people were bulk buying toilet roll back in March.
Announcing the London tier four details specifically meant that suddenly train services were crammed with people escaping the capital – it looked like a scene out of a disaster movie. The ‘save yourself’ attitude felt very appropriate to describe it all. To be honest, I can’t really blame them either.
When I say that I mean the people who live alone in London who haven’t seen family for God knows how long - I would have done the same thing in their position. Travellers escaping tier four weren’t irresponsible, they were reacting to the panic created from the timing of that announcement.
It’s all well and good telling people to stay at home and look down on those breaking the rules by leaving London, but if you’re living with people, family or not, you’re already at an advantage. I know life isn’t fair and we need to get on with it, and there’s nothing fair about this virus, but I understand why many of those people have done what they’ve done – even if it is against the rules.
What I do hope we take from this Christmas is that gifts and food really aren’t important. Someone asked me the other day ‘What are you looking forward to getting this Christmas?’ and I just replied I don’t care about presents, I just want to see my family.
At the end of the day, the luxuries of Christmas mean nothing unless you’re with the ones you love to enjoy them. This year many people aren’t going to get that and my heart aches when I think of them.
All I can think is next year has to get better. The vaccine is here and slowly but surely things will return to something we remember as normal. We will hug the ones we love again, we will see live music again, we will travel again - we will start living again.
For now, we’ll just have to get through the end of this year and make the best out of a bad situation. Call the ones you can’t be with, check in on people on their own, and remember that it’s okay not to be okay through this – tell people how you’re feeling.
For anyone struggling this Christmas there are a number of charities out there including: • Age UK – 08001696565 • Samaritans – 116123 • SupportLine – 01708765200
Merry Christmas to all our readers.