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Covid Christmas: Getting through this unique festive season

By November 28, 2020No Comments

Esther O’Moore Donohoe’s guide to getting through Christmas 2020, where mistletoe is basically illegal, the Moderna vaccine will be on everyone’s wishlist and matching masks will bring more joy than you ever imagined they would…


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So this is Christmas and what have you done?’ asks John Lennon every December. To be honest with you John, I’ve done sweet sh*t all. That is to say, I’ve done none of the things I scribbled down on my New Year’s Day list cryptically entitled To Do in 2020. Instead, I’ve walked. I’ve baked. I’ve Facetimed friends while walking to talk about baking. I’ve quizzed. I’ve crafted and I’ve bought a ring light. Indeed, it has been the best and the worst of times.

And while it is not the winter celebration we imagined, like Celion Dion’s Titanic heart, our Christmas will go on. So unhook your wireless bra humbugs, hang up your Birkenstockings and let’s get this socially distanced, two-household party started. 


There’ll be no kissin’ or huggin’ strangers this Christmas so put away your aul’ mistletoe. Instead, suspend a mini hand sanitiser over the threshold of your front door and give the object of your affections a quick squirt in the lámh.


This year, consider crafting a miniature, open sided shebeen for display in a window or on a balcony. Fill it with inspiring figures from 2020 and reflect on the year that was. My Covid Shebeen is still in production but so far, I’ve Tony Holohan dressed in a doll-sized cashmere loungewear suit, standing around a vial of the Moderna Covid 19 vaccine. To his right, Leo Vradkar clutches a box set of Richard Curtis films and a copy of Findings. To his left, Mary Lou McDonald is dressed like Carol Baskin, cradling a 16 roll family pack of toilet paper. And peeking in through the window at the back, Stephen Donnelly holds a tiny trampoline for the vaccine, to help improve its motor skills. The pièce de résistance of my creation thus far however, is Phil Hogan hovering over the well-ventilated space, dressed like the witch from the Wizard of Oz with the speech bubble ‘I’ll get you my pretties’. But look, I’ve barely thought about it as you can see. What you put into your own 2020 window display is entirely up to you. You have literally nothing else to do. 


As an alternative to The 12 Pubs Of Christmas, anyone who’s no one is getting dressed up and doing The 12 Plugs of Christmas instead. Start in the hall and work your way around your home taking in plugs of interest along the way. Be sure and end your crawl on your jazziest plug though or it could be a real anti-climax. Perhaps you bought a lime-coloured one in the centre aisle of a German supermarket at some stage or you’ve got one with a scandalously long extension cable? For the big finish, flick the sitting room lights on and off for 30 seconds and party like it’s not 1999.


Matching pyjamas? Get back to 2019 Jane. This year, matching masks will keep you and your gang Covered and Cute. Just think how gas it will be in 10 years time when you’ve processed your Covid PTSD and you flick through the Christmas 2020 photo album. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hyperventilate and run screaming from the room.  


An Isolation Blanket is a must-have item for every household this Christmas. It looks just like a normal blanket and it is just a normal blanket but becomes transformed in emergency situations. If the festivities get too overwhelming, simply clap twice, say ‘TO THE ISOLATION BLANKET’ out loud and pop it over your head. When you do this, it renders you socially invisible and lets your family and friends know that they cannot ask you any more questions e.g ‘Are you seeing anyone?’ ‘Are you still working at X?’ Would you not get back with Y?’ etc. The Isolation Blanket can also be used on others too. At the first mention of ‘they’re puttin’ 5G chips in all de masks dontchaknow’, drape the Isolation Blanket over their silly heads and they’ll immediately STFU. It’s like putting a tea towel over a budgie’s cage.


In Poland, it’s traditional to set an extra place at the table for an ‘unexpected guest’ on Christmas Eve to celebrate hospitality. This year, think about setting an extra place for the sourdough starter you crossed three postcodes to obtain back in March and is now quietly burping away in your hot press. Make a fuss of it again like you did in the olden days. A simple meal of flour and water will feed both your starter and also your relationship. After all, if you can’t repair things with your lactobacilli and yeast concoction at Christmas, when can you? Use your loaf and dough, I mean, do the right thing. 


I once tried to set fire to a Viennetta at Christmas after I accidentally spilled half a bottle of vodka on it. I was unsuccessful however I did manage to set the fringing on my jumper alight which I only realised after my mum leapt over a party box of Tayto and plunged my arm into a bowl of soaking marrowfats. This year, try dousing your banana bread in rum, setting it ablaze and then never, ever, ever making it ever again so long as you live.


Gingerbread is amongst the most delicious of breads because it is a biscuit. But apart from filling our tums, gingerbread people will play an additional role this holiday season. None of us have seen our loved ones as much as we might like this year and so our social skills have become dulled. That is why it’s important to bake as many gingerbread folk as you can to help you get used to seeing more faces. Dot them around the house and give them names. Stick ‘Mum’ on top of the microwave and ‘Dad’ beside the TV. If one asks you to dance, don’t be shy! Grab their tiny gingerbread hand and go for whirl around the sitting room floor. Just remember, with real humans, you can’t eat their eyes or snap off their legs for a snack no matter how delicious they look.


Photo by joshua herrera on Unsplash