We know it’s not been an easy year for most, especially those who who are struggling with their small businesses under threat or redunancy looming, not to mention illness. As we finally enter December there can be no doubt that we are counting on Christmas to get us out of the doldrums, and the Ramsgate Rooms team is no exception!
Not long to go now and the twinkly decorations will be up, the turkey ordered and the presents wrapped! Of course, some things are going to be different this year, as we all navigate Covid restrictions and stay safe. The updated national tier system begins on 2nd December so the time has arrived to start planning just how we can best enjoy Christmas 2020, very important for such a difficult time. Not ones to be brought down by all the doom and gloom, the nation has ‘gone early’ this year, many trees already decorated and house-fronts bedecked with cheerful lights.
The government has said that between the 23rd and 27th of December, the restrictions are going to be relaxed, allowing up to 3 households to visit each other and even spend the night if they wish. Naturally, caution is advised and it may also simply turn out to be a case of exchanging presents and well-wishes at the front door to people outside of your bubble. In other words, it looks set to be like nothing we’re used to, but if you’re anything like us you’re up for the challenge!
So what exactly will be different? And what does this mean for house shares? Depending on your circumstances, maybe you’re visiting family like you do every year, maybe you’re spending it with friends, or maybe you’re staying at home and sharing it with your housemates. Some people say, what is Christmas dinner but a fancy roast and in a way that’s not so far from the truth. Thinking of it like this stops us piling on the stress, after all this year all bets are off. If you’re planning on staying put, you may well end up feeling a bit isolated. Remember to check in with friends and housemates, have Christmas dinner together, lend a hand and – really important – keep the place clean, especially communal areas.
The biggest change this Christmas is pubs, bars and restaurants operating on limited hours at best and, if you are in Tier 3, staying shut for the duration. For a country with pub culture so ingrained in our psyches this might prove tricky for some. The same goes for parties and gatherings, but when you think about it, what is a few quiet months between friends? Many establishments will have switched to take-away options, so that you can enjoy your favourite fare in the comfort of your own home.
Another big change is Christmas shopping. This time round, all retailers are still able to stay open with social distancing measures in place. Again, depending on your circumstances, you may want to choose the quieter times of the day to avoid the crowds. On-line purchases are at an all-time high currently, which seems a sensible option. With December just beginning, there is still plenty of time to tick everything off the list, with wrapping and ribbon-tieing all that’s left to do. Some outdoor Christmas markets will be still be going ahead, albeit with social distancing in place too. In fact, they can be quite magical once it gets dark (which is currently just after 4pm!) and who can resist a hot mulled wine to warm the cockles?
Also taking a break this year are most pantomimes, which is a real shame for children and grown-ups. Having said that, as long as they come downstairs to a big pile of presents on Christmas morning, kids tend to be ok! If you are set on seeing a panto don’t give up hope. A few theatres are doggedly putting on shows, so it might be worth putting the feelers out in your area. Oh yes you can!
Of course, all this doesn’t mean we can’t make it a special Christmas and while things might be different to what we’re used to, in some ways it’s a chance to really focus in on the simple things, in what really has been a tough year for most. We can still cosy-up on the sofa, watch Christmas TV and of course have as many Zoom calls as we feel able!
Lastly, if you’ve never volunteered to help out a local charity or vulnerable neighbour at Christmas, why not give it a go? This year is a great time to lend a hand, connect with others and get a sense of satisfaction and gratitude, knowing you have made someone’s life that little bit better. It’s what Christmas is all about after all and it will set you on a positive track for 2021. Have fun!