Rossweisse
RIP Rossweisse, HellHost and long-time Shipmate.
Please see the thread in All Saints remembering her.

Christmas 2020 - Managing the 'New Normal'

Christmas is always slightly fraught in our house as we have the conflicting claims of my brother's family and my mother in law. Until she moved into a care home last year there was also the my mother complication too. This year with all the covid restrictions that may or may not be in place things look likely to be even more difficult.
At the moment my brother is making plans for the festival. This is understandable as he spent last Christmas Day in intensive care. He'd been in hospital for months by then and he had a bad dip after an operation a few days earlier. His current idea is for our son (who doesn't live with us) to go to their house and cook Christmas dinner. It also means their eleven year old has someone who'll play computer games with him. I'm not sure if we're invited and if we were, if it would be legal for us to be there. I'm also expecting one of my sister in laws to phone up and expect us to go and spend the holiday with my mother in law.
In normal years we jiggle both sets of expectations spending the day with one or other and visiting the other household sometime during the holiday, but of course this is far from a normal year. Since we moved here eight years ago I've never spent a Christmas in this house and as we will be moving next year I'd rather like to do it this year. However if our son is elsewhere my husband will be unbearably sad and I won't be a very happy bunny either. Ideally it would just be the three of us cooking a fancy meal going for walks and playing games, but it doesn't seem likely to happen.
Anyone else got similar dilemmas?
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Comments

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited October 26
    Not really, but I know people who have...and I sympathise with the difficulties you, and many others, are up against.

    It's hard, though, to make any Plans - unless you go for several different Plans (A to Z!) - because we just don't know what restrictions, lockdowns, etc. etc. may be in force. The way things are going, it's quite possible that no-one will be able to go anywhere at all at Christmas, though I hope I'm wrong.

    If we are all in complete lockdown, I suppose that simplifies matters somewhat, but...

    Personally, I generally spend Christmas Day on my own (apart from Church on Christmas morning - if that's still permitted), with emails and phone calls to or from scattered relatives later in the day.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Sympathy likewise. I can remember quite a few Christmases, growing up, which were blighted by cousins of my mother's turning up - uninvited - in the afternoon. After some years she gathered the courage to ask could they come on Boxing Day instead? - at which they were black offended (but not enough to stay away entirely unfortunately).

    Confronting rellies is never easy, but I would announce your Base Plan - that, given the uncertainties, the Sarasa family intend to spend Christmas Day at home, the three of them. From this core - and immovable- resolution you're can negotiate concessions (subject to allowability) such as visiting other households, son going to play with cousin etc. on other days.

    Repeat the mantra: 'Never apologise, never explain.'
  • As we've been warned by the government, we may be looking at a "digital Christmas" with each of us in our own homes communicating via Zoom or similar. Well, the Scottish government have been honest enough in declaring that a possibility. I'm basically assuming that at the moment I'll be spending Christmas here, and that travel elsewhere will be impossible. It may be OK for my brother (living alone and local) to come and spend a few days depending on what sort of 'bubble' arrangements will be allowed. But the normal pattern of me taking the kids down to my mum for a few days seems very unlikely (as is the option for her getting a train to come up here).

    We'll just muddle through and hope that there'll be a functional track and trace system up and running in time for us to maybe get together next year.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    We always spend Christmas Day at home as DH refuses to go anywhere. Normally he goes off on Boxing Day to stay with his daughter and I catch up with my side of the family. No plans this year, though my daughter is trying to make some.
  • kingsfoldkingsfold Shipmate
    edited October 26
    Firenze wrote: »
    Confronting rellies is never easy, but I would announce your Base Plan - that, given the uncertainties, the Sarasa family intend to spend Christmas Day at home, the three of them. From this core - and immovable- resolution you're can negotiate concessions (subject to allowability) such as visiting other households, son going to play with cousin etc. on other days.

    Repeat the mantra: 'Never apologise, never explain.'

    I'm with Firenze on this. If your son lives alone, he can form a bubble with you (assuming he's not already done so elsewhere) & is therefore permitted to visit anyway (especially if local). If he goes to his uncle's , presumably that then is deemed to be forming a bubble with them, which means it can't be changes and he can't visit you until restrictions lift...
    I'm basically assuming that at the moment I'll be spending Christmas here, and that travel elsewhere will be impossible. It may be OK for my brother (living alone and local) to come and spend a few days depending on what sort of 'bubble' arrangements will be allowed.

    I hoping travel is permitted at least for bubbles, as that means I can bubble with my sis, b-i-l & nephew. I'm not currently in a bubble - I've kept out of one in the hope we can spend Christmas together as it's the first Christmas without both our parents. The plus side is that it's Christmas without my father, which had become increasingly difficult & strained over the past few years.... That would have been a blank blank nightmare with him in Norfolk, my sis in Tier 3 in Lancashire & me in central Belt Scotland (no doubt soon to be Tier 3 as well), him expecting to either be visited or to visit, and him having been very vulnerable (he would have been in the shielding category).
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Mr Boogs is going to host an online family quiz. We are having a tree because we’ll be at home - we’ve been away for Christmas for the last several years.

    Turkey crown. Lots of Prosecco and red wine.

    I’m looking forward to it already!
  • Positive thinking @Boogie - nice one!
    :wink:
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    I've been thinking a lot about this lately:
    Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4, NLT)

    I would dearly like to see my parents over Christmas. What with lockdown and quarantine and all the rest, we haven't seen them since last Christmas. I have no idea if travel accross the Channel is going to be possible for us or them, and there's no way of making any kind of plans.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    We gave up on Christmas a few years ago, and frankly haven't missed it. But bar a couple of geographically-remote siblings, we don't have immediate family. We did meet up with friends for a Bah Humbug dinner, which I fancy won't be the case this year.

    I will be trying to spend time outdoors in hopes of catching that still point around the solstice.
  • I would dearly like to see my parents over Christmas. What with lockdown and quarantine and all the rest, we haven't seen them since last Christmas. I have no idea if travel accross the Channel is going to be possible for us or them, and there's no way of making any kind of plans.

    We were due to see mine shortly after lockdown. They've just cancelled their rescheduled trip. Now we're hoping for spring, but we'll see what things look like then. We'll see how well zoom Christmas works - it's been a bit of a challenge with small children, because everyone talks at once and nobody listens, so what you have is several small people waving some favoured Christmas present in the vague direction of the computer and yammering away incomprehensibly.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited October 26
    Yes, even a Zoom Christmas has its drawbacks...
    :grimace:
    Firenze wrote: »

    I will be trying to spend time outdoors in hopes of catching that still point around the solstice.

    Eliot's 'still point of the turning world'? Good idea - though who knows what the ensuing months may bring...

    (I hated Peotry when I was at skool, but have grown to appreciate it in later life...)

  • The late end to term and low confidence that everything would align to get a Christmas Eve ferry and a 6-8 hour drive to either set of grandparents means we're staying put, having not seen my parents since last summer.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Last Christmas Mr Nen and I ended up on our own for our Christmas meal. I didn't like it one bit and vowed Never Again, if at all possible.

    We are a very small family with no elderly relatives and no grandchildren, so I was hoping if we kept to the rule of six we could have our son and his boyfriend to stay and go over to see our daughter and son in law during the day for exchange of presents, nibbles and mulled wine. Then back here for an evening meal with the four of us (daughter and son in law generally like to have their meal on their own).

    Now, of course, who knows? Our son and his boyfriend live in an area which is currently on whichever tier it is when you can't travel unless it's for work and can't mix households. We live in an area where we currently have the rule of six indoors and outdoors, but it may all change.

    I love Christmas and am trying not to feel sad about what it might look like this year as the main thing, of course, is that we're all safe and well.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited October 26
    I ve started collecting the dvd s to be binge watched

    Wine is steadily being accumulated

    Furniture rearrangement is fully underway, we finally have a decent settee that I can fall asleep on!


    We have a large extended family, scattered like so much confetti across the country .
    But this year no visiting

    It will be just ourselves, no doubt enlivened by lots of FaceTime or the like.

    We have decided to get down to the beach at some point, currently favouring Breakfast at the Beach even if it is raining ...... the campervan is still at the garage, alas! Or it could have been a cooked breakfast




    Tbh our biggest thing will be the first Christmas ever without a dog or a cat
    😢
  • I’m hoping to extricate our 19 year old from his university flat share.
  • It's simply not possible to get all our family together at Christmas these days. But seeing different people on different days made a lot of sense until this extremely crazy year. I'm still hoping that we will be able to get together in small family groups, rather like we did over the summer. But have not made any definite bookings yet, in case it all goes wrong.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I could really be in a pickle - I've got a sister, brother and s-i-l, two nephews and two nieces (all with partners, three with children), and all of whom get on really well.

    Obviously I'd like to be able to see all of them at some stage, but it's looking ever more unlikely. I'd hate to have to pick a single household, but that may end up being what I have to do.

    Part of me wonders whether, if the current restrictions have anything like the desired effect, will the PTB ease down closer to the time? I can't see BoJo wanting to be remembered as the Prime Minister who Stole Christmas.
  • I suspect the PM will not care much, as he'll spend Christmas with his families just the way Mr Cummings allows him to as he likes.

    Who knows, though? Hopefully, the restrictions will be eased, but Ms Sturgeon will probably be keeping a watchful eye on the situation, and I don't doubt is ready to deal with whatever crops up in the way of increased infections...
  • In recent years we have had Christmas lunch with Elder Son & family, who live just about within walking distance. Unfortunately '& family' includes our DiL and the three eldest grandchildren, so the rule of six will put paid to that as an idea for Christmas 2020.

    Normally we would go to church, but too many people visiting or being visited by far flung relatives and then coming to church possibly incubating the virus makes that a bit too risky, so we will have to forego that celebration.

    Younger Son & family usually come to us during the week between Christmas and New Year, and we all gather at Elder Son's house during that time. Even if they felt it safe to bring baby away from home, there could be no visiting between the brothers' families - because of the Rule of Six. That gathering will have to be put on hold until spring, or summer - and even then, only if larger gatherings are allowed. Or if there is a vaccine.

    So, I expect it will be just the two of us. Possibly a quick visit by Elder son, on his own or with the eldest grandson, and maybe a Skype with younger son, DiL and youngest grandchildren.

    I might have to play Scrabble with Mr RoS.
  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    My Christmas plans are dominated by the forthcoming arrival of my second grandchild around Jan. 5. My daughter lives 875 miles away and wants me to come stay with them for a bit. So celebrating the holiday is a secondary consideration to the need to get myself halfway across the country in the midst of a pandemic. I prefer to drive and hope that we don't go back to having no hotels open, as I can't drive 14 hrs in one day. I absolutely have to be there.
  • I’ve begun to realise people are looking at me expecting answers because they are suddenly in the same boat as me - facing Christmas on their own, or if it is with whoever they live with it won’t be with who they want to be. For me, it’s the first for decades without a cat and my resolve to be cat-free for a few years is weakening daily.
    My usual plans are to visit the beach or Forest with a Splendid Picnic, and I wonder if those places will be rather packed this year. I really don’t want to spend the day glued to zoom or with people who are usually tied up and don’t have time for me over the festive period. I might take my Splendid Picnic over to the place that I store my caravan, and hang up some fairy lights.
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    I think I would like to join daisydaisy ....

    I really struggle at Christmas time for the most part and have had lots of very socially isolated Christmasses due to crippling awkwardnesses and anxieties that I am finding my way through. I did work at a charity one year and found that really valuable and wonder how the homeless charities will be impacted.

    I expect for me it will just be another day.
  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    In-law dynamics are the worst.

    We are still struggling with Christmas traditions between 2 very competitive grandmas. I fantasize about going to church for Christmas one year... But we've been seeing both grandmas, equally, and will probably have to do the same at Christmas. Maybe next year we can fly somewhere and have time alone.
  • I was widowed straight after Christmas three years ago. Last year I wanted the children to go to their respective in-laws (who had been very patient over the years DH was ill) partly in the interests of fairness and partly so that I could see how I managed alone. I was overruled but it looks as if we'll all have no choice this year. I would have preferred to do it for the first time by choice rather than necessity.
    However, I have booked an online talk on making Christmas decorations, I am already recording rubbish television (in case there is not enough on offer at Christmas, you understand) and have plans for amazing food - and I love the idea of a Splendid Picnic, thank you daisydaisy.
  • I don't really like crowds, so have always enjoyed spreading out seeing people over the 12 days of Christmas, rather than all at once. So it's not such a problem, but obviously that will depend on what the rules are exactly when the time comes. Our spread-out family will mean that, even to see people on different days, there will have to be some travelling. And travelling is something we haven't been able to do much since March, due to extended and repeat lockdowns.
  • Two sets of plans. If I can travel I will stay at a hotel near my sisters for a couple of nights and we will bubble with them. Then the ones if I can not which might well be church followed by lunch at a local restaurant if it is open. Some of the other tables might be taken by other people from church stranded at home.
  • I am guessing we will have Christmas day for us two and son and his girlfriend who both work from home will come to visit us the weekend after. They along with two neighbors are in our bubble of people we see in person. Everyone in the group is staying at home for the most part and very careful when having to go out with a mask, distance, and hand cleaning. We always visit with masks and in the open air on the porch. Not so sure that would be true in colder December.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    My daughter and her husband were due to visit on Christmas Day. They will not be visiting as they are sticklers for the rules and I approve of their stance.
  • daisydaisy--

    Your plan of Splendid Picnic, caravan, and fairy lights sounds great!!!

    Helix--
    Helix wrote: »
    I think I would like to join daisydaisy ....

    I really struggle at Christmas time for the most part and have had lots of very socially isolated Christmasses due to crippling awkwardnesses and anxieties that I am finding my way through. I did work at a charity one year and found that really valuable and wonder how the homeless charities will be impacted.

    I expect for me it will just be another day.

    I'm similarly situated. When possible, I find it helpful to volunteer, donate, or do free-to-me donations on click-to-donate sites*, then enjoy myself. (Depending on mood, weather, and circumstances, that might be a walk; sandwich while watching TV; church; reading a favorite book; or something more elaborate.)

    Sometimes, it's helpful to just ignore Christmas, whether that's Jesus-mas, Santa-mas, or both. Or to celebrate it on a different day, or a little at a time over several days.

    May we all get through the next several months ok, whatever we do or don't believe, whatever we do or don't celebrate, whatever our circumstances.

    {{{{{{{Everyone}}}}}}}


    *E.g. GreaterGood.com, home to The Hunger Site and many other charities. Click on the "Click to give--it's free!" link near the top. That give to GG, then takes you to a table of their other charities to click on.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited October 28
    One of the many things that annoy me at the moment is the way Polly Titians bang on about 'saving the family Christmas' (or words to that effect).

    Not everyone (a) has a family, or (b) wants them around at Christmas (whether because of personal difficulties, or the simple annual problem of logistics - where? And with whom?).

    Some people actually prefer a quieter Christmas, concentrating (said he, piously) on the meaning of the Incarnation, and not fretting for months about buying things they don't need for people they don't like, with money they don't have. IYSWIM.

    :grimace:
  • One of the many things that annoy me at the moment is the way Polly Titians bang on about 'saving the family Christmas' (or words to that effect).

    Not everyone (a) has a family, or (b) wants them around at Christmas (whether because of personal difficulties, or the simple annual problem of logistics - where? And with whom?).

    Some people actually prefer a quieter Christmas, concentrating (said he, piously) on the meaning of the Incarnation, and not fretting for months about buying things they don't need for people they don't like, with money they don't have. IYSWIM.

    :grimace:

    I can see parents going over the top on presents to make up for a boring year. And everything that is running will get booked up - it's already happening with a local light installation in one of the parks.

    Given that many families may not have physically seen grandparents or aunts and uncles since the start of the year, if they didn't manage it in the summer, I think a lot of people will be trying to do so by hook or by crook, unless they are stopped from doing so. Let's not even get started on what is going to happen at the end of the university term, as the national guidance will almost certainly be issued far too late again.
  • Thank you, @Cathscats and @Pendragon - points taken (as you may have gathered, I was feeling a bit east-windy earlier...).

  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    daisydaisy--

    Your plan of Splendid Picnic, caravan, and fairy lights sounds great!!!

    I'm similarly situated. When possible, I find it helpful to volunteer, donate, or do free-to-me donations on click-to-donate sites*, then enjoy myself. (Depending on mood, weather, and circumstances, that might be a walk; sandwich while watching TV; church; reading a favorite book; or something more elaborate.)

    Sometimes, it's helpful to just ignore Christmas, whether that's Jesus-mas, Santa-mas, or both. Or to celebrate it on a different day, or a little at a time over several days.

    May we all get through the next several months ok, whatever we do or don't believe, whatever we do or don't celebrate, whatever our circumstances.

    {{{{{{{Everyone}}}}}}}


    *E.g. GreaterGood.com, home to The Hunger Site and many other charities. Click on the "Click to give--it's free!" link near the top. That give to GG, then takes you to a table of their other charities to click on.

    Thanks Golden Key! I appreciate the thoughts and ideas which I like. In the past I have been pretty good at convincing myself that this is the best thing for me to do - charity work or be on my own. This year I am judging myself very harshly for it for reasons that I won't go into - so very good to have something positive to focus things better.

    And ignoring the christmas is great - apart from the pigs in blankets and all the amazing food!
  • Thank you @Cathscats - very wise words and it spoke to me. I have a few friends who will hate being forced to be on their own this Christmas, and I think I need to think of how we can somehow work around this, rather than stay in my own little world - I can do that any time, to recharge my batteries, but Christmas Day itself might need to be different.
  • edited October 28
    I'll miss attending lessons and carols. I used to take my father, who died this year. Some years, we also went to the sing-along Messiah. Both of these conveniently near that I could lead the blind man from where he lived. Probably we'll listen to these things, and then lie down and cry for a while.

    Then I expect the best thing to do is to pray for a lot of snow, and go out to our cabin and ski (the touring or cross country variety out there). The children and their common-laws* may show up after whatever necessary quarantine in in our house. Last year we saw a lynx with young ones, the year before some skittish deer crossed the lake with some rather lazy looking wolves following them. The lake freezes solid, usually about 6 feet of ice. Contact with nature sobers up my nostalgic sorryface. Cold weather and tears are nor friends.


    *wouldn't an engagement announcement be lovely; but after 10 and 4 years, I must hold my peace. That and grandchildren are for other people.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    I will be having Christmas Eve and Christmas with my two brothers, and I hope my daughter. But it will be just us, the two friends we always have for Christmas will be isolating as they are very strict about it, and my daughter' is estranged from her husband. So that will be a bit odd and sad.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    One year I told everyone I was having Christmas with someone else - and had it by myself. It was wonderful. When J my mother's cousin rang after Christmas and asked how I had celebrated I admitted that I had decided that I needed a quiet time so stayed home by myself. "What a good idea," she said - and copied me the following year.

    It is lovely of people and generous of them to invite others to share the day, but I would rather spend an ordinary day or meal together.
  • I am rather hoping that a lone bagpiper might consider practising their carols up and down our streets.........
  • A couple of years ago I was at a dig, a Bronze Age site probably now existing only in records with a modern housing estate going up on it, and in the field adjacent to the copse adjacent to the field adjacent to the dig site the local piper would practice. We were in the perfect spot to appreciate his skills.
  • Or not, as the case may be...but I suspect that was your meaning...

    I'll get ma bonnet.
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    For over 10 years it was just me and Hugal at home for Christmas. We'd go to a short service at church, then either cook dinner or go out to a local restaurant (which often worked out just as inexpensive and was a lovely treat). Then it would be a snooze before the evening's TV, and on Boxing Day a theatre visit.

    Then last year, as we were about to leave London, we made arrangements to have a friend over for Christmas Day who would otherwise be on her own. She was a close friend and frequent cat-sitter, so it wasn't 'taking pity', just a last chance to spend time with her. As it turned out, when we went to church we discovered that another friend had been let down at the last minute and would be going home to beans on toast alone - so she came too! We had a lovely Christmas lunch and lots of laughs.

    Now we're in Wales looking after my parents, the idea is that they will come to us - it's 2 minutes down the road and we see them most days as they are very dependent on us. That will be a challenge in itself for many reasons, but will certainly not be dull!
  • As a family, we have to coordinate people living in England, Scotland and Wales, so it would be rather convenient if all the nations within the UK could come to some sort of agreement.
  • Chorister wrote: »
    As a family, we have to coordinate people living in England, Scotland and Wales, so it would be rather convenient if all the nations within the UK could come to some sort of agreement.

    "Dear Santa,

    For Christmas I would like that all the nations within the UK could come to some sort of agreement as to whether we can travel and see each other...."
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    There's a good idea!
  • It would need to be a sensible and workable agreement between all the nations. Therefore I propose that the sensible and intelligent leaders of government (Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford and Arlene Foster*) get together to work something out then present it to Mr Johnson.

    * I didn't think I'd ever find myself putting Arlene Foster among the ranks of the sensible and intelligent ... the comparison with Mr Johnson re-arranges all prior assessments.
  • kingsfold wrote: »
    Chorister wrote: »
    As a family, we have to coordinate people living in England, Scotland and Wales, so it would be rather convenient if all the nations within the UK could come to some sort of agreement.

    "Dear Santa,

    For Christmas I would like that all the nations within the UK could come to some sort of agreement as to whether we can travel and see each other...."
    I actually think that merely asking Santa for "some sort of agreement" would be pushing it, never mind the "travelling" and "seeing" bits!

  • I propose that the sensible and intelligent leaders of government (Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford and Arlene Foster*) get together to work something out then present it to Mr Johnson.
    Which he would then ignore, with the result that the Celtic Nations would all declare UDI on Boxing Day.

  • Which would jolly well Serve Him Right...
    :naughty:
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