A Christmas like no other.

On this Christmas like no other may you have, in the words sung best by Judy Garland, a merry little Christmas, as best you can.

If your celebration feels as if it is edged with sadness, you’re not alone. This year has traumatised us all, some greatly, others less, but none of have escaped. It’s normal to feel loss during such a celebration. Acknowledge it, it doesn’t make you a misery.

It feels healthy to take a moment to remember the reality of this year. To name our loss, our struggles and our fear. To raise a glass not just to the triumphs but also to the tragedies. There is such great freedom in honesty.

We are all in this together, this Christmas like no other.

Remember the healthcare workers, exhausted and stressed, once buoyed by the hope of the rolling-out vaccine, now fighting yet another wave and two new variants of this virus. We see you. Thank you.

Remember those of us who lost people either to the pandemic or to some other, equally painful way. Those of us who haven’t been able to fully grieve those we have lost with those who also loved them. No hugs for our bereaved families and friends. Comfort from a social distance, is not nearly as comforting. May tomorrow be filled with the Christmas memories of your person, your people, and may you smile more than you cry.

Remember those separated from a loved one who lies in a hospital bed fighting this virus. May your worry be met with hope and the news be good. In the pain of tomorrow may you feel somehow held by those who love you.

Remember the separated families, unable to gather, smiling at phone cameras as gifts are unwrapped.

Remember the business owners and workers wondering what lies ahead for their jobs.

Remember those for whom furlough has been a lifeline but who have had to fight the boredom and depression of inactivity.

Remember the teachers who’ve not stopped working to educate our kids in constantly changing circumstances.

Remember those shielding and the loneliness brought on my months of isolation.

Remember the delivery drivers and postal workers, who’ve kept the country moving.

Remember the heroes, the Captain Toms and the Joe Wicks of the world.

Even remember the deniers, so afraid of the unpredictable chaos of life on earth that it feels safer to believe in a hoax or conspiracy. May their fears be overcome by the truth.

This Christmas is like none any of us can remember, and hopefully will be the last like it. May you make the best of it you can. May you find more joy than pain and more hope than despair. That’s the whole point of the season.

‘Through the years, we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow. So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now,’ as best you can.

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