Well if you had told me in March that we would still be going through this madness over Christmas time I would have thought you were “a bit touched in the head” as we would say in England. Oh my goodness, so here we are with a new kind of Christmas (if we even get to have a Christmas that is).
But in a way it has been good for me because over the years I have become tired of the way Christmas has become so commercialised. Past Christmas celebrations seemed to have been focussed on overspending on gifts, eating and drinking too much and a nonstop stream of functions and cocktail parties where everyone talks about business and it’s almost as if the whole meaning of Christmas has disappeared.
And then came COVID.
Suddenly we find ourselves wondering if Christmas will even happen. Will I be able to see my kids? My grandkids? Who knows? So suddenly the person (me) who was saying “Bah Humbug” suddenly felt the need to get my Christmas tree up on 1 December. And not just one Christmas tree but two! Strangely it seemed as if all the false hype about Christmas had fallen away and the lights on the tree were comforting and brought back memories of Christmas Past. It was made even more significant by the fact that the sight of the Christmas tree and all those old familiar decorations made me feel really good.
Is it just me or are people nicer at the moment? There is carol singing in the neighbourhood, people are being so generous with fundraisers even though the economy is decimated at the moment and there is just a general all round feeling of kindness. Maybe it’s because we realise that this Christmas will be very different for so many people. During the Second World War Christmas in Britain was also very different as is described in this very interesting article about a World War Two Christmas
“Today it is hard to imagine, with the conspicuous consumption and commercialisation of a modern Christmas, how families coped during World War Two. However despite all these challenges, many families managed to put together a very successful festive celebration.
Presents were often homemade and as wrapping paper was scarce, gifts were wrapped in brown paper, newspaper or even small pieces of cloth. Scarves, hats and gloves might be hand knitted using wool unravelled from old jumpers that had been outgrown by members of the household. War bonds were bought and given as gifts, thereby also helping the war effort. Homemade chutneys and jams made welcome presents. Practical gifts were also popular, particularly those associated with gardening, for example homemade wooden dibbers for planting. Apparently the most popular Christmas present in 1940 was soap!
(Read the whole article at https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Christmas-in-World-War-Two/)
So although we don’t have to huddle together in the underground while our city is bombed to pieces on Christmas Eve we have a different enemy to deal with – one that doesn’t like us to huddle. It will mean a smaller Christmas, a smaller turkey and zoom calls to family who live just a short drive away. If we are really lucky and Mother Nature co-operates with a chinook over that time we could even see ourselves having a driveway Christmas – just to exchange stockings and gifts – but not hugs or kisses.
Maybe once in a while we need to have a Christmas like that – so that we can really appreciate what we have. But please COVID – go away now – you are not invited next year!