A 2020 Christmas
2020 as we all know has been a year of changing plans and restrictions. As we look ahead to the festive period, we know that many traditions and activities are going to be different for many people this year.
In this festive article we thought that we have a look at the restrictions that have been put into place for this festive period with the continued Covid-19 pandemic, and to have a look at some Christmassy ideas that could be utilised in the home over the festive break.
In a bit to try to make Christmas as normally as possible, although not normal for the country, the UK Government and the devolved administrations have agreed a change to the social contact restrictions for a short time only.
The changes to the restrictions take place from the 23rd December until the 27th, although those who are travelling to Northern Ireland there is an extra travel day either side.
So, what can be done during this 5-day period?
- you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than 3 households,
- you can only be in 1 ‘Christmas bubble’,
- you cannot change your ‘Christmas bubble’,
- you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your ‘Christmas bubble’,
- you can only meet your ‘Christmas bubble’ in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces,
- you can continue to meet people who are not in your ‘Christmas bubble’ outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in,
- if you form a ‘Christmas bubble’, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your ‘Christmas bubble’.
The Government does advice the consideration of other ways of celebrating Christmas for example, using technology, or meeting people outdoors, without travelling between different parts of the country and bringing many people together.
The advice from the Government remains that vigilance and that people should keep taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes ensuring indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible, washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and following rules on self-isolation if they develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.
At the time of writing (December 15th) these are the current plans, however there are leading medical journals advising that this guidance should be revised and changed to reduce the escalating cases of the virus. The warning from The British Medical Journal and The Health Service Journal is that the plan is rash and could cause many lives and should be reversed. In amongst the rumblings of the warnings, comes the response from the Government of personal responsibility is needed from the British people.
How to celebrate Christmas this year
There is a saying, ‘it’s not about the presents under the tree but rather the presence around the tree’ this year has been difficult for many, and many people will be struggling to put presents under tree, and therefore this saying has never been truer.
Christmas is a time for fun and frolics, and we really want people to enjoy this special time, however we do not want people to think they have to plunge themselves into huge levels of debt to fund what is essentially one day, when there will be many more such events once a new level of normal returns during 2021.
This year be the ‘Presence around the tree’ even if you cannot physically be around the tree, consider beaming into your loved ones living rooms. Never before have so many video conferencing platforms been available. There is bound to be a platform that can be utilised by all.
Have you considered playing games, Christmas Karaoke or watching a Christmas movie together all via technology? These could be activities that you would usually do together but can still take place while on a video call.
Usually, have a large family dinner? Set up a place with an electronic device and have a cyber-dinner together. Who will have dessert envy?
Having money worries this Christmas?
We know that everyone wants to provide presents to them around them at this most festive magical time. As we have said before, this may not be reasonably practicable without plunging oneself into a large amount of debt, in an uncertain financial world.
So, what can you do?
- Consider utilising gift coupons made by you, these coupons could pledge an activity, or some of your time that the recipient could utilise in the year ahead. For instance, ‘When we are allowed, I promise to take you to a show’, or ‘I promise to do all the dishes for a week’ these ideas may seem like you are not doing anything, but you are giving your loved one something to look forward too. You are totally in control of the promises that you are making and can be as specialised as you like. Feeling creative? Design the coupons as you like.
- Make some cake jars. In the jars you place all the dry ingredients your loved ones need to make a cake or other item of your choice. All you need to purchase is the jars and the ingredients.
- Home-made gifts are always popular and show the recipient that you are thinking of them and wanted to give them something special.
- Give people your time, in the lead up to Christmas if you have spare time, you could offer to go to the shops and get things that your loved ones need in the lead up if they are not able to get out themselves as they are elderly, or self-isolating. On Christmas Day itself as we mentioned before use technology to be around their tree from your tree.
Christmas for Children
We all know that Christmas is a fun and exiting time for children, and so may this year be just that!
In the lead up to the big day remember that some shopping centres and shops, will still have a Grotto for Santa. Although there is social distancing involved and the traditional sit on Santa’s knee is not allowed, the children are still able to see the big man. Why not have a look at your local shopping centre and see if they have a grotto?
Children love the lights and music of the festive period, a magical trip out in the dark to see all the festive lights on people’s houses can be a lot of fun children to see the magic and lights. Some people have set their lights up for charity, and therefore you could donate and make a difference to people less well off and in need of support. Why not make the drive even more special and have a rule that everyone dresses in their best Christmas attire? If you are lucky enough to have Car antlers why not put these on the car and make the event as Christmassy and magical as you can.
The visit of Father Christmas
Christmas Eve will come, and we know the children will have a question about Father Christmas, and where he is able to still travel around the world and deliver the presents.
Can Father Christmas still travel and deliver presents?
We have it on good authority from the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the Dutch premier, Mark Rutte who have said that the restrictions will not apply to Father Christmas. He will still be able to travel around the world and deliver his presents.
What to leave out for Father Christmas?
This year have a conversation with your children and find out what they think they should leave out for Father Christmas. It goes without saying they will suggest milk and a mince pie for the big man and a carrot for Rudolph. It will be an idea to suggest that maybe you leave out a bottle of hand sanitiser for him as well to help him stop the spread of the virus.
Christmas Eve Bell Ringing
There is a social media idea doing the rounds suggesting that at 6pm on Christmas Eve, the nation gathers on their doorstep and rings bells. This could be a magical idea for the children to get involved and give them an experience that they will remember going forward.
Christmas Star in the Sky
Our last piece of Christmas spirit magic for children is the appearance of the ‘Christmas Star’ This obviously sounds a little bit far fetched however on the 21st December Jupiter and Saturn are set to create the ’Christmas star’ with a dramatic close encounter, at 0.1 degree apart in the sky, that has not been seen from Earth in nearly 800 years. The Solar System’s 2 largest planets will appear to merge, creating a bright point. The 2 gas giants have not appeared so close since 1623, however astronomers believe the position of the sun meant it would not have been seen.
According to EarthSky the last time that the naked eye would have seen the ‘Great Conjunction’ would have been 1226!
So why make this Great Conjunction such a special event, there are 2 reasons for this, 1 is the magical memory of the ‘Christmas Star’ in the night sky leading up to the festive day for the children, as well as reason 2 which is the next chance to see this astronomical event will be in the year 2080! Maybe your children can share their magical memories of this event with their children and grandchildren in 60 years times.
How can I view the ‘Christmas Star’?
The ‘Christmas Star’ will be visible from anywhere on Earth, but conditions will be best near the equator, and it will appear low in the western sky for roughly an hour after sunset. Nasa said people should look for them low in the south-west in the hour after sunset when ‘the two giant planets will appear just a tenth of a degree apart – that’s about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length.’
You are looking for a thin crescent moon with 2 bright objects right next to it. You can start practising now as the planets are already edging together. If you have good eyesight or a pair of binoculars, you may be able to differentiate between the planets, Jupiter will be the bigger of the 2.
Whatever you decide to do for this Christmas,
We would like to wish you and your families
A VERY Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year for 2021.