“‘Tis the season to be jolly but ’tis the season to be jolly careful.” Those are the words Boris Johnson used to open his press conference regarding the nations emergence from the second lockdown on Thursday December 2.
Given the year we have had and the current situation with Covid 19 infection rates across the nation it was obvious that Christmas, like a lot of things in 2020, was going to be a little different this year.
That said, there are a number of restrictions to be lifted ahead of the festive period. The most important is that up to three households will be able to mix over a five day period. This means I will be able to see my immediate family in around December 25 which is all I can ask for having spent most of the year alone in my flat.
Christmas is a weird time for me. I love everything leading up to the day itself. I love the Christmas markets and lights in London, I love the Saturday night tv such as Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a celebrity and above all else I love the positive vibes from everyone.
Everything after the day itself falls into that period of winter I have no time for, with January being my least favourite month of the year which is why I decided to spend the whole month in New Zealand back in 2016.
With all the restrictions announced on Sunday set to last until Easter while the vaccine candidates enter the production stage there are a lot of Christmas traditions that will, like most things this year, be cancelled.
With all that in mind, plus the fact I have just put up my Christmas tree and will spend the evening watching Die Hard so doubt I will feel more festive than this all year, I’ve written a blog post about how I normally like to spend my Christmas holidays.
I grew up in a small village called Feering which is sandwiched between Britain’s oldest recorded town, Colchester, and the birthplace of radio, Chelmsford, which is the city I currently call home. Apart from 2018 when I was living in South London I have celebrated the Christmas period in Essex, my home county.
Colchester and Chelmsford both like to get their decorations up early, usually as soon as Halloween is over, sometimes earlier, I think this is to get their moneys worth. When the streets are lit up so spectacularly it really highlights the number of phone repair and vape shops spread down the high street.
I always loved the festive period growing up. Once school was out for the holidays I would always help mum out with the Christmas shopping, taking advantage of both Colchester and Chelmsford’s late night shopping days once dad was home from work to look after my brothers.
During my late primary school/early secondary school years my family would go to the cinema with my second cousins, heading to pizza express before seeing cinematic masterpieces such as The Santa Clause 2, Elf and Christmas with the Kranks.
The day itself was always kept close-knit in my family, sticking to just my household until my parents divorce shortly after I turned 18 in 2012. Since then it has been similar except I see mum and dad on separate days.
The Pre Christmas Festivities
As I’ve got older the end of year festivities have become a more prominent feature of the end of year celebrations.
My friendship group always have a Christmas party, over the years it has consisted of a trip to the Toby Carvery, a tournament at the local bowling alley or drinks in Colchester.
A number of us will also return to Colchester on December 23rd for beers in a very traditional British pub called The Purple Dog. It’s not my favourite pub in town but it is one of those places that just feels right at Christmas.
I think this is for a number of reason, it’s very cosy due to its location within the town, on a street corner along a back road secluded from the High Street, it’s also quite small and has a brick fireplace that adds to the vibe.
As for Christmas Eve my friends as well as most of the village descends on The Railway Tavern pub close to my mums home. I always enjoy this night because as well as being in the company of my closest friends who I see frequently it also gives me the opportunity to speak to people I don’t see so often throughout the year.
The reason I wanted to write this post today is because although all of what I have spoken about will either happen differently or not at all, traditionally, this is what Christmas means to me and those are the things I look forward to once Halloween and Bonfire night are out the way.
Therefore the situation we find ourselves in this holiday season means it won’t be as good. But what I have been telling myself for Christmas is the same thing I have been telling myself when all my other plans for 2020 were cancelled (Which i’ll go into more detail of in a New Years post) and that is we’ll get to do them again.
What I have got into the habit of telling myself throughout the pandemic is just because something I was looking forward to didn’t go ahead at all or as planned just means it will be better next year.
For example, i’ll tell myself ‘Oh, I can’t go to the pub on Christmas eve this year, that’s a shame, but it’ll be better next year.’
I’ve used the same logic with my cancelled holidays, concerts and other social gatherings but using that thought process of ‘It won’t be like this forever’ has gone a long way towards how I have coped with some of the misfortune of this year.