Let’s face it, 2020 has been a bit of an unusual year.
It’s imminent ending, with Christmas as the highlight, poses questions about how we will in fact celebrate this year. Normal, whatever that implies for each of us, is almost certainly going to be different with the current COVID plans in place.
For many, the excitement of Christmas starts as soon as the nights draw in. It appears in our shops with oversized baubles and humungus trees, adorned in brightly twinkling lights which help us to shoo away the darkness. Staff are festooned with tinsel and Santa hats, while Mariah Carey tells us all exactly what she wants for Christmas.
Its traditional and comforting – like when you open the first tin of chocolates (despite them getting smaller each year) and hear the glug as you pour a glass of Baileys over ice. It sets the mood to contemplate presents buying, wrapping paper and whether or not to make your own Christmas cake - not forgetting how big the turkey needs to be.
After the thinking comes the doing and we venture out, lists in hand, as we mingle with our fellow shoppers, soak up the atmosphere and marvel at the window displays.
But that was before a rampant virus was found lurking in our city centres.
So, this year, the usually acceptable proximity of our fellow shoppers may well instil uneasiness for some of us. For many, shopping will be denied for their own personal safety, while the rest of us will have to shop with caution.
A worldwide pandemic kind of takes the fun out of those festive shopping plans – maybe it’ll be the thought of the long and widened queues – the mutterings of fellow shoppers, who like you, are hot and sweaty under their own face masks or the restrictions on numbers in shops.
But let’s not forget the many, many positives of this time of year and the fact that at its core, Christmas is all about family and friends.
Which kind of brings me to the point of this post… Gift buying.
The big retailers are making it loud and clear that Christmas 2020 isn’t cancelled – and there is no need for it to be – we just have to get planning.
Try Shopping Locally
Seeking out and buying from local suppliers will make a huge difference to them, whilst providing you with a unique gift that hasn’t come from the shelves of the bigger stores. Importantly, local businesses advertise via Instagram and Facebook so add anything you like to your list of gifts.
It is doubtful that we will all be dashing around the country over the festive season do look for businesses that will send your chosen gift directly to your intended recipient. With the addition of a handwritten note, the receiver will get that you are thinking of them this year.
The usual Christmas dinner is also going to be paired down this year. At this time, it is still estimated that numbers will be restricted to six. But don’t let that stop you organising a bigger family feast with the help of Zoom. Pop the laptop or telly on, sit round the table and share the festivities over the wonder that is the internet with your nearest and dearest.
Following dinner, leave the washing up till later and spend some time together. Pre-arranging a quizmaster means you can enjoy a family and friend’s quiz. The perfect way to spend Christmas afternoon. Reminisce about the year and start thinking about and making plans for 2021.
Let’s also not forget Netflix sessions, gaming online for the ‘kidz’ amongst us and good old-fashioned drinking games.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate this year, acknowledging that it has not been the norm is important. For so many people it has been an incredibly challenging and difficult year. We may feel different, hardened by our experiences and emotions, but we have also become more resilient.
And 2021 is right there and waiting for us.