Where to begin with Christmas?
Christmas is a time for being with loved ones, for indulging in delicious food and decadent drinks, for long walks, for playing board games, for reflection and long conversations, for sitting and watching the latest feel-good movie… It’s a wonderful time to be happy, joyful and grateful.
As soon as the kids break up from school, millions of households travel to far flung relatives, grandparents, mothers, sisters, to share this wonderful time with the people that matter most in their life.
My wife and I would normally head to London, to meet our adult “kids”, and carry on our trip to our beloved Ireland. Although I am Spanish, we have spent most of our Christmases in Ireland.
There are many reasons for this, for a start I was fortunate enough to marry a beautiful Irish woman, my Jane. We lived on this evergreen island for more than 5 years. During this time we had our two most beautiful and amazing babies, Yannick and Matilda. We realised how hospitable Irish people are, how very magical this country is and from all of this I began a relationship with the festive season I had never known…
And for this miracle, I have to give full credit to my wife Jane who has always made our Christmas feel magical and special, but especially to Valerie (my mother-in-law, who very sadly passed away in April) who would make us feel so welcome and literally showered us with tons of presents, delicious meals, and handfuls of sweets, but also had tremendous patience and love to give to all of us. I will be forever grateful to her, wherever she is now, for this constant love and generosity that she distributed to all of us, without ever expecting anything in exchange. She made Christmas so very special and unique for us.
So why is Christmas 2020 so different?
- This year has been one of the toughest for the human race that I have ever experienced in my lifetime. But with so much sadness, anxiety and depression, I feel mentally and emotionally ready for that joy the Christmas holidays normally bring: closeness, family, tradition and new memories. This year we will be starting our new family tradition as this will be our first Christmas season without our dearest Doedee. I also hate the fact that so many elderly people will be spending Christmas on their own, without friends and family around them. It makes no sense, almost as if we are celebrating and grieving at the same time.
- I don’t need to remind you of what’s going on right now, as it seems that almost every part of the world is on partial or full lockdown with very strict travelling measures put in place. So, no travelling to Ireland for us this year, and instead we are spending Christmas in Mallorca. We will, for the very first time, be spending Christmas at home in our hometown of Puerto Pollensa with our son, his girlfriend and our daughter…
Public health experts say that the safest, most prudent approach to the holidays this year is to stay home. To be “all in this thing together” means we must stay apart.
My daughter Matilda will be apart from her loved one, so she has composed a Christmas song for all those people in the same situation.
- Millions of households have been severely hit by unemployment, or business closure and are struggling economically. I personally have been furloughed for many months and I have to admit that we have had to cut down on our extras and keep a watchful eye on our expenses this Christmas.
- Our Christmas bubble is restricted to 6 people (all from the same cohabitation group), so you must pick carefully who you decide to share your turkey dinner with! And remember to order a smaller turkey this year, but if meat is not your thing I have left here a few vegan options for you to enjoy this Christmas. Find here 6 turkey substitutes for a vegan Christmas.
- This year’s work celebrations seem certain to take place on Zoom or to be cancelled altogether. So seeing friends for a pre-Christmas drink or meal will probably not be allowed.
- All the following prevention measures must be maintained as much as possible; wearing face masks; washing hands frequently; maintaining social distancing; maximising ventilation, keeping windows and doors open and minimising the number of people we have contact with.
- And If you have the misfortune of being infected with Covid 19 or have some symptoms you should not attend any family or social gatherings.
- This year most of your present shopping will be done online. As more and more shops are compelled to close, there will be a whopping 30 to 50% surge in online sales.
- And finally, if the pandemic was not enough for 2020, another life-changing event is happening a few days before Christmas. On December 21, a rare alignment between Jupiter and Saturn, also known as a Great Conjunction, is set to shake things up politically, socially, and in your personal life as well.
The last time Saturn and Jupiter, the largest planets in our solar system, orbited as closely as they will on December 21st and were visible in the sky, the year was 1226.
Astrophiles and other skywatchers are so excited, to say the least, as this once in a lifetime event is predicting a time of rebirth. This conjunction falls on the winter solstice so close to Christmas that it is also called the Christmas star. Basically, it’s going to be cool. Or as Renu Malhotra, a professor of planetary sciences at the University of Arizona, put it to The Times: “It’s a very romantic event to see these planets approaching each other.”
Such powerful forces acting in conjunction are bound to have some effect on us, on our home planet earth. I don’t understand too much about astrology but I know I will be meditating during this week. I hope to take advantage of these huge forces to wish for health and prosperity for this coming decade.
I am sure there are many more reasons why this Christmas 2020 is so different, and maybe you want to share with us which ones are yours?
Way beyond all this sadness, anxiety, and depression that has gripped the entire human race in 2020 I want to remain positive and hopeful for next year. But primarily my message is one of gratitude, for my extraordinary health and for my loved ones, for having adequate food and shelter, for having my amazing kids back to Mallorca with us, for the incredible privilege of sharing my days with my darling wife, and finally to live on such a beautiful island.
I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future but I doubt that in my long life I will see so many life-changing events happen in one year. Whatever happens in the future constant change is guaranteed !!!
Take care, my friends, Merry Christmas to all and I will be back next week.
Smart Living To 100.