It’s the 1st of December. I wanted to share a sweet, simple photo, on Instagram, of Izzy opening her advent calendar. I started to write the caption in the small space on my phone. Then I became overwhelmed with so many things I wanted to say and disclaimers I wanted to make.
We all know Christmas is both a wonderful and a worrying time. We also know that this year the woe and worry is heightened even more by Coronavirus.
The Guilt of Sharing Instagram Photos
As I went to share my photo, I felt worried in case it would put extra stress on another parent. Would an overworked NHS worker feel guilt that they didn’t have time to buy their own child an advent calendar? Would a redundant pub owner’s stomach be in knots as they don’t know where they’ll find the money this year to buy gifts? Perhaps my photo would bring someone to tears as they feel the hurt of not seeing their family this Christmas? Those are just a small number of the worries people are facing at the moment.
A Difficult Christmas
Christmas is hard for some families (and individuals, of course) every year. This year Christmas is going to be different in some form for everyone. Even with the relaxed rules for meeting family, this Christmas allowed, our freedom to meet up with the family members family we want, to visit relatives in care homes or hospital and to go out for a Christmas drink etc are gone. Personally, I blame Coronavirus for that by the way, not the Government. Many people don’t agree with the rules, especially stopping the pubs selling alcohol (but keeping them open?!). However, even without the rules imposed on us, I have chosen to limit my own freedoms due to the virus. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can stay home as much as possible and keep safe.
As a family, I feel we’re taking risks with Dave going to work, and to shops occasionally, and the kids going to school and college (mixing at school is my biggest concern and if it was only my decision to make they would not have gone back at all). Therefore, I’m not putting myself and therefore family, at extra risk and going to shops, restaurants, cinemas or pubs etc. I used to love going to places but I don’t miss it at the moment as if I went I would only feel worried and guilt for putting Danny at risk (he’s in the extremely vulnerable category).
I try to support businesses by buying from local places online, through Facebook when they don’t have a website, and buying gift vouchers, takeaways or theatre tickets for virtual screenings etc. Like everyone, I really feel for the businesses forced to shut during these times but also I really admire the ones who are diversifying and keeping going in a different way.
We’ll do our reverse advent calendar again too and pop an extra item in our charity box ready to give to PATCH before Christmas.
Making Christmas Special
Kids all over have had a tough year this year, and I want to make our children’s Christmas special. In our own house, our main upheaval was having Dave living away from us for three months while we shielded. Now we’re back together, it’s back to school and work and having rushed rather than quality time together. Therefore, I’m so looking forward to having time for each other, to talk, have party teas, play games, craft, watch films together.
I want to make the run-up to Christmas as calm (ha!) and enjoyable as it can be. I’ll be honest, I’m already feeling the stress begin to rise up in me as yet again it seems to have come around fast this year (yes, I know, it’s the same date every year!). This year has been so strange. Sometimes I feel we’re still back in March and this has all been a horrible dream. Can we all just wake up and find Bobby Ewing in the shower again, please?
Then I remember how lucky we are: we’re back together, we’re all happy and healthy, our businesses have kept going, I can work from home safely, the kids are doing well. We’re going to be okay. It’s because I’m grateful for all this that I want to keep sharing our photos and celebrating advent and Christmas. I just hope they don’t make anyone feel bad.
I hope we can all be kind to each other and ourselves and just do the best we can and feel proud of ourselves for doing that. If you only have one day off over Christmas, I know you’ll make the most of that day off and that time with your family.
I will be sharing gift guides and competitions in the next few weeks. I did consider giving them a miss this year but some people will still be buying gifts and want ideas. If you’re not doing gifts this year, that’s fine too. I know it’s a cliche but it’s so true that everyone appreciates presence over presents and even more so this year.
Sending lots of love and hope to you all xxx
Read more Christmas posts: Christmas Day 2017