Dawn is breaking over our new world. Soon we will see who has survived the lockdown winter and who has adapted to the new order of things. For those privileged enough to have survived (and thrived) it is a very exciting prospect. But for many it is still a time of fear for the outcome and the journey ahead.
Putting aside the obvious health, financial and relationships issues, I am certain one of the most profound disappointments about 2020 will be all the wonderful, lost opportunities we had previously taken for granted. The weddings that never happened, the birthday parties, anniversaries, and the celebrations at the arrival of a new baby. The holidays we haven’t taken, the Mediterranean sun, sand and sangria, the thrill of the pack, the wax, and the no carbs before Marbs mantra. Even the queues at airports, baggage searches, delayed flights, and the inebriated hens on their ‘do’, are now remarkably appealing.
The saying you never miss anything until you haven’t got it, has never been truer. So many of us have fallen into the trap of not living firmly in the present because the future was always assured. Perhaps now we will appreciate everything more acutely because we know what it feels like to have it ripped away.
One thing is certain this year will see an annual event take on monumental new importance. We have got increasingly blaze in recent times, we have moaned about its commercialisation and we have treated the occasion as just another opportunity for a break from the office. I am referring to Christmas 2020. It will be the only Bank Holiday this year when we will truly be able to celebrate with friends and family. I predict it will be huge and significant for so many of us.
I doubt we will hear complaints when the schmaltzy TV commercials kick in, when the shops are lit up and inviting us to cross the threshold – even if we are still social distancing – and carols being heard in open churches. The planning and execution of the holiday will begin early, no one will take a chance on not getting it just perfect.
Any brands that see Christmas as a strong marketing opportunity should prepare early for the season. As a nation we will be more receptive than ever to being ‘got at’, it will a joyful sign that we are free to enjoy ourselves again. We will see December 25th as the day that makes up for the ghastliness of the rest of the year.
This means that special Christmas packs – whether it is biscuits or dog treats – will be a talisman for the season, and dietary considerations such as reducing meat eating in order to make the Christmas meals more special will be a rite of passage to the celebration. Better and best quality ingredients will be a signal of triumph over the adversity of the past year and buying certain items early will be a joyous reminder of the freedom to purchase, eradicating the memory of hoarding items as mundane as loo rolls.
Friends and family gatherings in the home will be extra important especially if restrictions are still in place in restaurants and other venues. Playing games and doing our own pub quizzes which have become the norm in lockdown, will survive into the new normal. We will see proper Christmas cards making a come-back, newly honed baking skills will mean Christmas recipes being both read AND made, trees will dazzle with tinsel and glitz and in raising toasts to the present and the past will be tinged with extra meaning.
Christmas in 2020 will be a last hurrah to a year that will never be forgotten and fervently hoped, will never be repeated.