I remember one year as a child when dad came home from work on 23rd December to announce that ‘Christmas is cancelled’. At the start of his career, as a textile chemist in the fashion industry in the sixties, a promised bonus wasn’t forthcoming or something similar. Four little glum faces (later to become five) reflected the disappointment that I can recall even now. Determined to make the best of things, on Christmas Eve we went exploring the countryside with mum to gather greenery and a branch to make our own ‘tree’. It was a straggly thing we festooned with fairy lights and a few ornaments.
Back then, Christmas wasn’t a month-long affair but just three magical days of decorating the house, baking sweet treats and family time. If it snowed, and it often did, there would be snowballing and games in the street outside, traffic-free and muffled by dense snow drifts. The next day, Christmas Eve, dad came home hauling a magnificent tree and loaded down with good things to eat. I was too young to recall now the details but I think that his boss, knowing he had a young family, had kindly gifted lots of goodies. It’s the feeling of absolute joy that I recall all these years later, my parents’ smiles as much as those of my brother and sisters. Dad was a single child but was part of a large extended family and adored Christmas. All his life it was a special celebration of family and friends.
There’s to be no respite it seems this year, as the pandemic continues to rampage around the globe. In the south east of England where I live, a new virulent strain of the virus has been identified and the R number UK-wide has increased. Christmas is once again cancelled. In those areas where people ‘can’ meet they are encouraged not to or to keep it short and distance as much as possible. My own plans for a good long walk in the countryside with a flask of hot mulled wine with family have gone by the board.
We just heard the news last evening and today I’m so saddened, and it’s a struggle to dig deep to find the resources to remain upbeat right now. I’m generally a glass-half-full kind of person but this year has really taken its toll. So for this last blog before the 25th December I’m not going to tell you about the places to travel, new hotels or exhibitions I had lined up to share.
I’m simply going to wish you all a safe, peaceful and healthy Festive Season. If like me, you are Home Alone, I especially wish you joy. Look for the silver linings wherever you can find them. Make yourself a good cup of coffee, open a bottle of fine wine and prepare yourself delicious meals (and lay the table, light some candles). Listen to podcasts, connect on social media, schedule Zoom time with friends and family. Santa Claus may not be real but the one certainity we have is that things will change, that’s the nature of life.
Christmas Carols from the Palaces
On Christmas Eve I find the carol service from Kings College, Cambridge very peaceful (broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on 24 December at 3pm (10:00 EST or 07:00 PST). I’ll be making mulled wine, turning on the fairly lights and letting the beautiful music wash over me. Tommorow Christmas carols from the Royal palaces will feature the choirs of the Chapels Royal at Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London, together with some special guests. Christmas Carols from the Palaces will be broadcast on 21 December, 6pm GMT. It will be free to view although donations are welcome. Christmas Carols from the Palaces will be broadcast online in support of Historic Royal Palaces, Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace, and Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal at the Tower of London.
I wish everyone a Safe, Peaceful and Happy Christmas 2020. Love and joy to the world!
Unless otherwise stated, I have no affiliation with the brands mentioned but simply aim to share places and products that have caught my eye. I will always state if a post is sponsored or gifted. In addition, during the current pandemic I haven’t had the chance to review any of the hotels, resorts and so on.