Unusual Christmas

It’s been an unusual year. To say the least. And Christmas will undoubtedly be unusual for some, or most, of us. And that’s OK. Christmas (or any holiday) is what you make it.

I know it sucks to not be able to spend the holidays with your family. Believe me, I know. I’ve lived in the UK for 15 years and I’ve spent maybe five Christmases with my parents in that time. And even fewer with my sister (she lives in California). It sucks, there’s no way around it. But it is what it is and it turns out it’s not the end of the world. You can spend a Christmas with just your household, or your “bubble” and still have a lovely Christmas.

Maybe you will even enjoy parts of it more. Fewer people to cook for, maybe you can skip some dishes completely if the only person who actually enjoys them won’t be there this year. You can probably get away with less cleaning if you don’t have to impress your mother in law or your auntie or whomever always points out the single cobweb you missed despite cleaning for two days solid before the extended family descended upon your house!

And maybe there are fewer arguments or you won’t have to listen to uncle Mick’s racist comments about ‘bloody foreigners coming over here and stealing our jobs’.

See, there are upsides too! ;-)

Unless you are observing particular traditions for religious reasons, I am more and more of the opinion*** that you can leave out the things you don’t enjoy at Christmas and it will still be Christmas.

Or you can adapt to your situation and, although the holidays are different from what you are used to, it can still be enjoyable. Living in England, Christmas is on Christmas Day, which is different from Denmark where it is celebrated on Christmas Eve. And the food is different.

When I first moved here, I tried to keep everything as Danish as possible on Christmas Eve. But some ingredients were difficult to find so some foods I had to make slightly differently, or not make at all (sometimes because it was just too much hassle when I was basically only making it for me, yeah I’m lazy).

When I became vegan, more adapting was necessary. Although this was really a relief because a lot of Danish Christmas food is meat of some type. And although I only became vegan in 2012, I hadn’t eaten those things for many, many years anyway because I didn’t like them.

So that particular change actually improved my Christmas experience because no one had ever suggested/offered to make an alternative for me, so growing up my Christmas Eve meal consisted of two kinds of potatoes and dessert. Yeah, I know.

Anyway, my point is: it is OK to change things at Christmas! It may even improve the experience! “This is how we’ve always done it” isn’t necessarily a good reason to keep doing something. I know, some people are very set in their ways and won’t even consider trying a different or modified dessert or whatever. But if you’re not seeing those people this year anyway, why not do Christmas your way? Do the things you enjoy and leave out the rest.

Tony’s parents usually spends Christmas Eve with us, but they probably won’t this year. Tony already told them that it’s fine if they’d rather not. We don’t want them to feel like they are disappointing us or anything! It’s not a regular year!

Since we may be alone at Christmas, we may scale down on the food etc. And to be honest, I am secretly fantasizing about pizza for Christmas Eve dinner but I’m not sure it will go terribly well with caramelised potatoes, a Danish dish I do love! :-)

It’s been a weird year. A difficult year. I don’t think any of us need to feel bad about Christmas being different than usual. It’s also OK if it’s a relief to not have to do Christmas. And it’s OK to have a wee cry too because you’re missing your parents or your sister or niblings on Christmas Eve/Day. Thank goodness for the various video messaging apps. It’s still possible to be in touch with people right there in your living room even if the other people are five thousand miles away!

I was going to leave it there, on a pretty upbeat note, but I can’t. I keep thinking about all these people who insist on doing Christmas as usual and how many people will get the virus because of it. It’s just selfish. And stupid. It is completely possible to have the virus and not have any symptoms. I know I wouldn’t want to spread it to my loved ones.

Isn’t it better to stay home with our own households to help keep everyone safe? To help keep the numbers down so the health services don’t get overwhelmed again?

I think it is crazy that the government here isn’t tightening the rules for Christmas, considering the numbers are already rising. And why is Christmas so special? Why can that go ahead when Eid and Diwali, for example, were cancelled.

So I think we must take responsibility ourselves in this situation. Staying home, and not having people visit, is surely an investment in the future? A positive thing? That will help everyone?

I’d rather see no people, until the vaccine has started doing its job, if it means that there will be more people to see once this is “over”. (Yeah, I think we will be living with this for a while.)

Or maybe that’s just me? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Stay safe, friends. xx


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