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  • Leanne Ammon

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – What to Plan and What to Buy During the Covid-19 Pandemic

As we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, we have learned a new way of navigating our lives in order to adhere to Government advice and to keep ourselves and our neighbours and loved ones healthy. Nipping to the shops has become something I can only just about remember doing, without having to remember masks, hand gel and making sure I am complying with queuing and one way systems. Socialising too has become something that requires careful planning, compliance with bubbles and working out who you can see and who you can’t. But as we find ourselves nearing the busiest shopping and socialising time of the year, what do these restrictions and requirements mean for Christmas? How do we do Christmas when we are still in the middle of this pandemic?

Christmas time has usually always been a time of parties and get togethers, whether through work, friends or family, most of us at some point have planned and/or attended some kind of social event all in the name of Christmas. Not only are they an ideal way to spend some quality time with the people you love the most, they can also provide a great way to release some of the pressures built up over the course of a long year and let off some steam with those you care about most. And while there are probably a fair few of us who are secretly quite glad the annual festive party may not be going ahead, there are equally a fair few of us who are already grieving the family get together or the drinks with friends. Just dressing up for a festive get together can lend excitement to an already highly emotive time of year. It’s something special we can look forward to. And in a year where quite a few of our somethings special have been cancelled, it feels as though we could do with something nice to plan and look forward to.

So what can we do, if lockdown plans and bubbles are still in place at Christmas time, to help us all enjoy the Christmas we deserve after a very long and mentally trying year?

Virtual parties – dress up in something festive, put those Christmas earrings on, get Mariah Carey playing and open the fizz. Invite your treasured friends and family and raise a festive glass to each other. The beauty of it being virtual is that if you decide you can’t be bothered to dress up you can all wear Christmas pyjamas instead.

Virtual readings – Sitting down together while someone reads a Christmas story could be the start of a lovely Christmas tradition. Fill a plate with mince pies and sip on some hot chocolate too.

Virtual film night – put the name of all your favourite Christmas films in a hat and pick one for the weekends leading up to Christmas. You can all enjoy the same film together, snuggled up with popcorn, mince pies and mulled wine.

When it comes to presents, going to the shops might not be an option for us. And while most things are available online, this could be an opportunity to think creatively.

A framed photo or photobook of the few special times you managed to share and enjoy in a year of cancelled moments can be a thoughtful way to savour the positive aspects of this year.

Seeing as we are all spending a lot more of our time indoors, snuggly things like slippers and socks, and lotions and potions to pamper ourselves with are guaranteed to be used and appreciated.

Talking of spending more time inside, flowers and candles are a nice thought to brighten anyone’s home.

And for those of us who need something to look forward to, how about buying an experience to enjoy together when bubbles can merge and restrictions can reduce. But keep the date unplanned just in case.

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