I normally write some sort of Happy Christmas post, and I hope it goes as read that I do wish anybody who's reading this a Happy Christmas - which is a season, not just a day, but this year the normal platitudes don't feel entirely appropriate.
My Christmas day was good, it's actually the first one I've spent with my partner of 14 years - he's normally with his father in Scotland whilst I'm down here with my mother, but normal plans are suspended. I really liked walking the dog with him, and being together to open presents and eat. I know that plenty of my friends and acquaintances similarly enjoyed the quieter, calmer Christmas that restrictions dictated - but equally, plenty did not.
At times like this it's sometimes easier to be on your own, for those of us who are used to spending a lot of time in our own company there are all sorts of strategies for dealing with potential loneliness, and if most the rules around Covid tiers are made with families in mind, at least social bubbles give us some options. It's far harder to deal with a situation where you're desperate for some time and space to yourself. I can't imagine how hard it is to be cooped up with people if that's how you feel.
The last few days before Christmas bought out a lot of horrendous stories of the crap that's been happening to others as well. I have a convalescing mother and dog on my hands - both will be better before they know it (as long as they behave) but one friend who broke her ankle a couple of weeks ago had her partner test positive for Covid on Christmas eve, and came down with symptoms herself on Christmas day. They're clearly not coping well, and so many pf the normal things we do to help at times like this are off limits.
I've always liked this lull between Christmas and New Year, and during all my years in retail missed it badly - the 2 or 3 days off after being crazy busy then going straight back to a tidy up and relative boredom always felt wrong. Even now without a job, this week for me is an opportunity not to worry, to just ignore the looming questions about my future for a brief time - although in some ways most of 2020 has felt a bit like this gap in the normal (is it a case of being careful what you wish for?). And again I know there are other people in my life who really struggle with this time, and are finding it harder than ever right now.
So yes, Seasons Greetings, I hope it was a Happy Christmas, I hope it'll be a Happy New Year, but I know it's more complicated than that for many of us at the moment.