Why Christmas in Leeds will be far from 'normal' this year
As a little girl I’ll always remember the time ‘Father Christmas’ paid a visit to my Nanna’s yearly Christmas Eve party.
My cousins and I were absolutely convinced that it was my uncle who had donned the red hat and white beard - and we were right.
So imagine our faces when we saw ‘Father Christmas’ in the house opposite as we were leaving the party.
I can still remember that feeling of being desperate to rush home to get to bed. We were all so excited that none of us clocked the sheer sense of relief on our Nanna’s face after thinking my uncle’s cover had been blown.
Since then it has become a long-running joke in our house and is one of those festive stories that is recounted every single year without fail.
We will all no doubt have countless memories that are reeled off while sitting down to tuck into the turkey donning paper hats.
And at the heart of these treasured tales is family.
There is something very special about coming together and spending time in each others’ company.
Christmas is a time when we can be together with those we love and also remember those special family members who are sadly no longer around the dinner table.
But this year - whether we like it or not - is going to be anything but ordinary.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned yesterday that “Christmas is not going to be normal” despite England preparing to move out of lockdown and into a strengthened three-tier system of restrictions next month.
The Prime Minister will today outline his “winter Covid plan” detailing what restrictions will replace the national lockdown on December 2 and how people can spend the festive period.
We’re all desperate to spend time with our loved ones at Christmas. I miss my family terribly as we’ve not been able to see each other since August and as the months pass by it takes a strain.
But we’re the lucky ones in that we might get the choice to spend a short amount of time together if restrictions are eased.
Sadly there are relatives grieving the deaths of their loved ones from Covid-19 and this will be their first Christmas without them.
Speaking yesterday she said: “I, for one, would forego Christmas with my parents if it meant that we as a family still had a future.”
And her heartbreaking words can give so many of us a sobering reminder of the human tragedy behind the pandemic.
There are still those who stick their heads in the sand about what is happening in the world around us.
So while we’re waiting to see what happens next we need to remember those families like Kathryn’s who have been so profoundly affected.
This year is going to be a very different Christmas regardless of what today’s announcement will be.