Stephanie Davies’s Christmas message to TJ readers is to be kind to yourselves and revel in your bubble!
They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. And generally, that’s true. Except this year, at Christmas, thanks to the convoluted rules and restrictions of the Government’s Christmas Bubble policy, you can choose your family after all.
But it’s not an easy policy to negotiate. It’s so complicated that gov.co.uk has published a nine-point plan detailing the rules.
The first rule of Christmas bubble club is that you can only be in one Christmas bubble. The second rule of Christmas bubble club is that you cannot change your Christmas bubble. The third rule is that Christmas bubble club must be held in private homes or gardens (or places of worship, or public outdoor spaces).
It all gets a bit Fight Club doesn’t it?
However, the bit that will be music to the ears of many down-at-heel festive host is the clause that decrees: ‘if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble’.
Because what effectively this does is slam the wreath-adorned door in the face of all those hangers-on and members of your extended family that you detest hosting each year.
This year there will be no excruciating games of charades with people I barely know, or stunted conversations around the dinner table because none of us have much in common
In life I always say that you need to find the positives no matter the circumstances, so while the Coronavirus has been a terrible thing, we should embrace this one tiny, unexpected benefit.
Call me Scrooge or Grinch, but I can guarantee that when the announcement was made that numbers are being restricted to stop the spread of the virus, all over the country festive hosts who dread the annual lock-in with extended family members they don’t see all year, but feel duty bound to entertain at Yuletide, were doing fist pumps.
This year, for the first time ever, those put-upon hosts can have a guilt-free Chrimbo cull, courtesy of Colin Covid.
I for one will be taking full advantage of the rules. I’ve already sorted out my Christmas bubble. There’s me and my husband, my father-in-law and my cat Barry. He spends a lot of time in the neighbour’s house because she lets him sit on her lap and feeds him tuna, so technically I class him as a separate household. Anyone else can do one.
Sorry, those are the rules and if we want to get on top of the virus we need to follow them.
So this year there will be no excruciating games of charades with people I barely know, or stunted conversations around the dinner table because none of us have much in common, apart from the fact that we’re related, *sigh* it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make for the greater good.
I do understand that for some, it’s not going to be easy. Despite a decade of indoctrination from comedians in the 1970s, there are people who like their in-laws and enjoy spending time with them. The choices will be tough for these people.
There are others who like to catch up with extended family they rarely see, while slaving in a kitchen for hours. For these people, Christmas will be an etiquette minefield. Do you invite Aunt Mary, with her terrible flatulence, or do you ditch her in favour of Uncle Dave whose borderline racist jokes get worse the more the eggnog flows?
I can’t give you the answers to these dilemmas, but I can offer a tiny bit of advice to everyone. It’s been a really crappy year and we’ll be glad to see the back of it. Without sugar-coating it, the slog to the spring is going to be tough, so do yourselves a favour and enjoy the festive period, do what makes you happy and above all, be kind to yourselves. Merry Christmas.
About the author
Stephanie Davies is the founder of Laughology.