2020 has been a very strange year for everyone! When the country went into lockdown in March, few could have expected that it would last for 6 months and even fewer could predict we'd be right back there again come November! – and as we leave the summer sun and socially distanced barbecues behind and head towards the end of the year, there’s one big event that we are all looking forward to.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all gestured towards the sudden appearance of Christmas trees and decorations in shops in early September, rolled our eyes and told our friends “It gets earlier and earlier every year!”, but this year, it feels a little different. This year, it feels like we’re ready for it!
This year, many of us can’t wait to pick out our tree and get the decorations down from the attic. 2020 has been challenging, to put it lightly, and maybe we could all do with a little festive spirit to cheer us up! There’s something so comforting about everything that surrounds the Christmas season, whether it’s enjoying a glass of Bailey’s as you watch a festive film or coming in from the cold and getting into your fluffiest pyjamas.
On the other hand, the festive season traditionally comes with a lot of stress. Neighbours compete to see who can light up the outside of their home the brightest. We put hours of time and effort into planning the most delicious Christmas dinner, picking out the perfect gift for everyone we know (including the Secret Santa gift for that one colleague that you barely know), choosing outfits for Christmas parties and wondering how we’re going to get all our shopping done in time for the big day – and don’t forget, you still have to find a way to explain to your children why Santa and his elves aren’t going to be able to deliver that pet llama that they’ve asked for!
We’re always chasing after the perfect Christmas, and maybe we’ve always thought that delivering the perfect Christmas is about planning and shopping and hoping that all this festive stress will be worth it in the end. This year, however, maybe we’ve realised that having the perfect Christmas isn’t about any of this at all.
Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, something which we’ve been missing in 2020. However, there’s something else about this festive season that will make it feel a little different. We’ve had so much time this year to question our values and the things that really do matter in life, and we’ve realised that no matter how much other stuff we fill our homes with (did anyone else get a little trigger happy with the DIY and home improvements during lockdown?), the best thing that we can fill them with is all of the people that we care about.
This Christmas will be an important one for all of us, after a long year of uncertainty, worry and some very unprecedented times. Whatever happens, we all have loved ones that we rely on who can usually give us a hug and tell us everything will be alright, but in a year where so many of us needed that, it was one of the many things that we just couldn’t have.
Christmas 2020 won’t be about the chocolate, the drinks, the presents and gifts… or rather, it won’t just be about the chocolate, the drinks, the presents and gifts! It will be about pulling a cracker with your Nan. It will be about laughing at the same terrible jokes that your dad tells every year. It will be about asking your mum if she needs any help in the kitchen, being told ‘no’, then hearing her complaining under her breath that ‘nobody ever helps me in this house’. It will be about catching your nephew feeding his sprouts to the family dog. It will be about absolutely ruining ‘Fairytale of New York’ on the karaoke with your sister.
What makes Christmas isn’t the decorations, the tree, the turkey, the pudding, the music or the films – what makes Christmas is all of the wonderful people that you share those things with. Hopefully, in a year where we’ve all had so much time to realise that, we’ll get the chance to enjoy Christmas even more than ever because of it!
When it comes down to it, Christmas 2020 is about being together at the end of a year that was all about staying apart. If there’s one thing that we’re all looking forward to more than anything else as we head towards the festive season, it’s that.
Now, is it too early to pick out my advent calendar? Maybe get the tree up?