WELL what a year! No-one can say it’s not been different!
And as we’re all preparing for some kind of Christmas, but not as we know it, I feel nostalgic for the old normal. I don’t want a new normal thanks, and if this year is anything to go by, then all I want for Christmas is the good old days back.
We flew back to the UK to spend Christmas with family, or that was the plan at the time! We travelled with Ryanair via Madrid to Manchester on a full plane. There was no social distancing going on, apart from if you needed to go to the toilet you had to press the call bell and wait to be summoned up by one of the cabin crew. Then you’d return to your seat, sat either side to a complete stranger’s overhang!
The first couple of days of being back in Harrogate were great, we got the Christmas tree up, hung the wreath on our front door and generously nailed the garland around the fireplace (we’ll get some filler on all those holes later). As I sat back with the wood-burning stove glowing and our Christmas lights twinkling, I felt joyful.
Fast forward forty-eight hours later and I was totally depressed. The glow of the fire and lights had worn off quickly. No-one was planning anything because we were all a bit clueless as to what we could do. The Tier system was changing by the day and everyone was even more fearful than before, due to a new strain of COVID. Great! So we came home in time for the virus to decide to mutate just before Christmas putting half the country into full lockdown, and the rest teetering between tiers.
How I miss just being able to pop in to a bar or pub for a few cheeky glasses of fizz whilst out Christmas shopping. Now you have to eat something ‘substantial’ if you want to have an alcoholic drink. Like we all need to be eating any more this year!
What about the obesity epidemic which will hit home after all of this? People generally overindulge at Christmas normally, so we’re all going to end up fatter, because all we’re really allowed to do this Christmas is sit in our own homes and eat and drink as much as we want. Is that any healthier in the long term than Covid?
The UK-wide NHS costs attributable to overweight and obesity are projected to reach £9.7 billion by 2050, with wider costs to society estimated to reach £49.9 billion per year. And that’s just the food! Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost the NHS in England £3.5 billion every year. Cheery stats aren’t they?
But despite all of the restrictions and this unprecedented year (how sick are we of hearing that word!) we all just have to make the best of it. My take on it was, ‘if you can’t have a normal Christmas, do whatever you normally wouldn’t’. So what if you chose a Chinese banquet over turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Day? Another plus was Boris had given us all an easy get-out for those who would rather have avoided some of their relatives.
So as we say goodbye and good riddance to 2020, let’s hope that this time next year, Christmas as we know it, (in the words of Take That) will be back for good.
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