Christmas will be smaller this year (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)The government’s U-turn on meeting loved ones over the festive period was hard to swallow.
For many, this means not seeing parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews and anyone else who is traditionally around the Christmas dinner table.
The result? A ‘stripped-back Christmas’ for much of the nation – particularly those in tier 4 areas. Some will even be spending it solo.
But while the news was agonising from many families and friends, others are now looking forward to a quieter Christmas for various personal reasons.
Francesca Baker explains that she usually finds Christmas incredibly stressful due to her eating disorder – but this year she won’t experience the pressure of having to eat with her family.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I usually dread Christmas due to anxiety around eating in front of other people due to having severe and enduring anorexia and trying desperately to recover. There’s so much pressure to eat certain foods and be jolly about it and I just can’t. It works me up a lot and means I can’t enjoy the family time.
‘I was happy about it just being my immediate family, as they are really helpful and supportive. But tier 4 means that can’t happen. So now it’s just me and my boyfriend, who I moved in with at the start of lockdown in November. And you know, I’m fine about it.
‘We’ve planned a couple of festive challenging meals, but still within safe boundaries. We will go for walks and drink prosecco and relax, and that’s what I need.’
Amy, from Luton, says that this year she won’t have to choose a family to spend Christmas with – which takes the pressure off.
She says: ‘Although it will be strange, I’m looking forward to a simple Christmas with just myself and my fiancé (and our two cats). It will be a bit of a novelty to be honest.
‘I’m an only child from a small family with older parents whilst my partner is one of three and has a very big extended family, so every year I always feel torn between where to spend Christmas, or I feel guilty prioritising one family over the other, so end up driving between celebrations in different counties to make sure I see everyone.
‘I feel sad that my parents (and his) will be on their own this year but we’re all in the same boat and we’re planning plenty of phone calls and a Zoom quiz between our two families on Christmas Day.’
Lots of couples will be spending it on their own (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)Susie Ramroop says that after separating from her husband last year, she’ll now be alone this Christmas – something she feels quite liberated by.
She tells Metro.co.uk: ‘I am displaying curiosity towards Christmas this year. I’ll be spending it on my own as my husband and I separated last year and our daughter will be with him for five days. I was managing the loneliness by going to a spa hotel which has now been cancelled.
‘This will be the first Christmas lunch I haven’t cooked since owning my home. I have no presents for me under the tree and I’m in tier 4 lockdown – yet I feel strangely and serenely free.
‘Now I’m going to watch my favourite movies, eat ready meals and a mini pack of sprouts for good measure and read books. I’m excited to savour the time and reflect on what I already know has been an important year.‘
Susie says that she’ll be running an online workshop to help others who are feeling lost at the moment.
She adds: ‘I’ll also be running a free mindset workshop on Zoom as I know many others feel lost, lonely and lacking direction. I want to be a role model for them.’
Suarav Dutt says he’s using this quieter Christmas as a time for reflection.
He says: ‘For me it’s been a mentally exhausting year and has forced me to face mental wellness challenges for the first time. I usually pride myself on being able to control my emotions and feelings but the year has tested me in ways I had not encountered before.
‘This Christmas allows me the opportunity to be grateful that for my physical health and the fact that as tough as it is here in the UK, we are far more protected than other red zones like India and the US, for example.
‘It will also allow me the chance to jump onto Zoom calls during Christmas to speak to people that I definitely have not connected with as much as I should have in recent years.’
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