Coronavirus has given us an opportunity to rethink the meaning of Christmas

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Wednesday 16 December 2020 15:16 GMT
A festive view of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London
A festive view of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London (Getty Images)

Perhaps Covid-19 has given us an opportunity. It is not a question of cancelling the festive season but of rethinking the meaning of Christmas and the Christmas spirit.  

Once upon a time, it was a religious holiday. Families would go to Mass, then gather around the table, as children unwrapped presents left under the Christmas tree by the fire.  

This concept gradually changed as we all became consumers, bombarded and brainwashed by endless television commercials persuading us to “spend, spend, spend” on gifts, which would be forgotten; at restaurants, which doubled or tripled their prices for Christmas and New Year; or on holidays in the sun or snow.

All this resulted in panic buying, overcrowded streets, restaurants, stores, stations and airports and traffic hold-ups, as everyone took to the roads on the same day. Then came the January sales, which followed a similar pattern of frenzied purchases, everyone trying to find the best deals.  

I understand that this is all about the economy, which provides jobs, creates wealth and improves living standards, all of which have been affected by the pandemic. But perhaps, given the special circumstances, this year’s Christmas message should be to make it a family occasion, not one geared towards money.

Most of us should be happy to remain at home with family and/or a few friends over a special lunch or dinner, and cherish the smiling faces of children opening their presents.

Peter Fieldman


If the Christmas relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions remains, I can only think it is because someone at the heart of government wants to follow the rules with his or her own Christmas plans. Never mind the cost in more lives lost.

Martin Cross


A rock and a hard place

Gibraltar's situation, as mentioned by William Cook ('What will happen to Gibraltar after Brexit?', 15 December), is indeed unusual and unfortunate: voting to remain in the European Union, while also wanting to remain British.

I agree with the fear that Brexit will ultimately lead to further problems surrounding their national sovereignty. I can only hope that Boris Johnson's incompetence over handling Brexit negotiations doesn’t undermine the will of the people of Gibraltar, who want to remain in the EU, and have disastrous effects for those who live there, particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Gurleen Chauhan


Time to get on with Brexit

Given that leaving Europe was a bad idea, we shouldn’t be surprised that our rulers have spent the past four and a half years flapping around like headless chickens trying to decide on the “best” way to implement a bad policy.

Of course, there is no best way. The only thing to do now is to take our punishment without whining and without trying to put the blame on our ex-partners for the almighty cock-up we are about to witness, and for which we alone are responsible. 

We voted for it, so let’s start getting used to it.

Roger Jones


Lumped together

A few months ago, I wrote in to complain about Northumberland being lumped in with the whole of the northeast in the highest tier, even though we had little or no experience of Covid infections.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, we still weren’t on the Covid radar. Now, due to an outbreak at a local factory and the local school, we have had over 70 cases in the last week. 

Purely based on anecdotal evidence, the closure of pubs and other hospitality venues hasn’t saved us from the modern plague and the main driver has been the workplace, schools and household mixing.

With this in mind, the Christmas relaxations are yet again an avoidable own goal for the government.

John Archibald


If Boris says one thing…

We all know how mendacious our prime minister is. An epic, legendary liar. So I was delighted to read that he is proclaiming no-deal Brexit remains the most likely outcome. The best chance of a deal yet, I would say.  

Paul Morrison  


Taking notes

In reference to Rob Merrick’s article, ‘Dominic Cummings was handed huge pay rise before he was forced out, new documents show’, (15 December). So now we know what was in that series of cardboard boxes Dominic Cummings carried out of No 10.

Eddie Dougall

Bury St Edmunds

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