"Knowing my grandparents will be alone on Christmas Day is heart-breaking"

Jenny BathurstJenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst
Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March.

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"Christmas Day is next week. NEXT WEEK. I understand that this is a surprising revelation for many at the moment, but it really is challenging to believe that the festive period has reared its head when it feels as if we are still slogging through late March. With my 99p tacky charity shop Christmas tree adorning my desk and the boxes of mince pies slowly mounting up on the worktop, there finally appears to be a glimmer of normality in a year that feels anything but. For many, Christmas is purely a time of tradition where Brits eat the same roast dinner, see the same family members and watch the same festive films. However, this year will this be yet another sacrifice we will have to make?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It is a fair assumption that none of us supposed at the beginning of this year that our Christmases would be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. My nonchalant remarks that the virus would never even reach the country have put me in my place and then some. Like every other family we have our traditions, and they will, on the most part, not be massively be affected this year. Our Christmas Eve coffee and our Boxing Day walk are both activities that have not been shunned by Boris, but of course it is not these pastimes that are the hardest to lose. Knowing that my grandparents will be alone on Christmas Day is heart-breaking, but not as heart-breaking as if I were to put their health at risk. I think that in the midst of the current climate discernment is vital, and even if it is permitted to share the day with them both I don’t believe it necessarily means we should. I am aware that most families this year are placed in the same situation so I hesitate to complain, but I think that if such realities are unspoken of it can often begin to feel as if we have no right to feel the way we do.

"Despite this, my household will in fact be taking advantage of the relaxed restrictions over the period from the 23rd to the 27th December. Having formed a bubble with a university friend living alone who cannot travel to her home country for Christmas, we will be joined by not only her but a family friend also living by herself, in line with the government guidelines. It seems strange that the middle of a pandemic is when we first host Christmas Day to those not in our family, but in 2020 especially it is so important that the number of individuals spending the festive period alone is limited as much as possible. As a Christian I believe that this time means so much more than simply the gifts and the food, but the act of gathering with those you love without a mask covering your face or applying sanitiser as you walk through the door will be a welcome show of familiarity that I have been craving for months.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.