Christmas in lockdown? Not on your Nelly*

To keep families apart at Christmas would be political suicide

Just a few days into the second lockdown and already people in the capital – and the country – are turning their thoughts towards Christmas and what scale and type of celebration they will be able to have.

Will we still be in lockdown? I would be amazed if that were the case. Flabbergasted. If Boris were to do an impersonation of the Grinch, he might as well hand over the keys of No 10 to Sir Kier. It would be political suicide.

I can imagine this current four week period being extended by a further fortnight but, no, the shackles will come off for Christmas. I’m convinced of it. Indeed, I can envisage a third lockdown early in the new year. I doubt if the bookies would accept the bet were I to try to put money on it. But, I expect restrictions to be lifted for Christmas and the new year with probably a few caveats about the size of family gatherings.

Certainly the idea of having an office Christmas party has long been shelved. So, that’s at least one Christmas tradition that has bitten the dust in these Covid-blighted times.

Will Christmas markets be put on hold? Outdoor markets are still okay, aren’t they? But, I’m not aware of any. If you do know of one please let me know and I will publicise it.

I’m writing this on the first Sunday after the re-introduction of lockdown. I have just come back from the supermarket where there were no queues I’m happy to note. There was even some bog roll on the shelves, though not as much as in more normal times.

There is more traffic around when compared to four days into the first lockdown, but not a lot still. During the first lockdown I didn’t have to wait for the lights to be in my favour to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing on a major road. Not the case now.

I guess people are more used to living with Covid now. When we first went into lockdown there was an understandable fear of the unknown. Now people are saying ‘well, I haven’t got it yet, what’s all the fuss about?’ If you, or no one close to you, has been affected by the virus you are perhaps thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’. I believe that’s a dangerous way to think, but I have a degree of sympathy.

But what of the other big news of the day? The Donald (as Obama likes to call him) has been booted out of the White House subject to maybe a few legal objections. When the BBC attempted to list the five main reasons Biden won two of them stood out for me. One, was our old mate Covid again. The Beeb listed that first. Trump’s reaction to the Covid crisis was hardly a vote winner. The other was what they called the ‘anyone but Trump’ vote.

The suggestion is that Joe Biden only had to turn up and remain standing to win. But the fact remains that close to half of the Americans who voted still wanted another four years of Trump. At the time of writing, Biden had gained more than 75 million votes but Trump had close to 71 million. That’s a lot of people who believed in the Trump way.

How will Biden be towards the Brits? We’ll have to wait and see but if, as some commentators are speculating, he turns out to be ‘anti’ then those of us who wanted to see Trump removed may be left thinking ‘be careful what you wish for’.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

But back to my more immediate concern – Christmas. I think we need to accept that Covid is here to stay until, at least, a vaccine is developed. How I – and, I’m sure you – look forward to that time! Have a happy, peaceful and Covid-free Christmas everyone.

*By the way the origin of the phrase not on your Nelly stems from Cockney rhyming slang. It’s short for not on your Nelly Duff, which rhymes with puff – another word for life. Though quite who Nelly was is another matter.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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