Choose your Christmas – a proposal to save Christmas (and a few lives)

There’s lots of talk at the moment about people afraid of missing Christmas because of Omicron, or having to cancel other social events to save their Christmas. It just seems crazy to me that we can’t be more flexible about this. My solution: Choose your Christmas.

Chris Whitty at the recent Downing Street press conference

This year (and last) would have been a great opportunity to turn Christmas into a moveable feast. You would still get together with your loved ones, just not all in December or when the weather’s crap. Your family might wait til March for your Christmas, or go early in November. Whenever suits.

It’s not just because of Covid – pandemics don’t happen often thankfully, but Christmas has always been mad. It’s great, but there’s so much expense and chaos. I come from a family of retailers who get no time off and collapse exhausted on Christmas Eve, and then spend 10 months not doing much. Why do we stand for this?

If Christmas could be personal and happen anytime, I think everyone would be happier. Retailers would be a bit busier throughout the year, and they’d have no mad rush at the end. Likewise, the NHS wouldn’t be brought to its knees with so many people getting ill at the same time (this has happened for years before Covid with flu, norovirus and other grot), plus you’d have a greater chance of actually being treated, as half the doctors and nurses wouldn’t be off sick themselves.

Don’t misunderstand me – I get that it’s good in dreary northern Europe to have a Festival of Lights at the darkest time of year. But we could have that anyway – and extend it. Imagine having your lights up from November all the way through February, it’d be bloody lovely.

And I also know it’s good to have a Season of Goodwill. But we could have that any day. Or every day, even. Just think: every day someone, somewhere would be having their own Christmas. More chance of running into someone in a good mood. If Christmas happened more often people would find there was less opportunity to drop bombs on someone or yell at them or be horrible to them in other ways.

In other words, instead of everyone being slightly grumpy from January to November (because no Christmas) and then very grumpy, stressed and poor in December (because Christmas), the good vibes that Christmas IS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT would be distributed through the year and nobody would be grumpy about it at all. Wild!

At a time when we can all choose what to watch on TV when we want to watch it, and in whatever order we want to watch it in, it doesn’t make sense for everyone to be forced to have the same stress, the same expense, the same brussels sprouts AT THE SAME TIME.

So how about it. Choose your Christmas. Families benefit. Society benefits. The economy benefits. Lethal respiratory viruses won’t go nuts and blow up the NHS. It’s a win-win.

The only problem I foresee is that the Queen would be a bit busier, doing a different little speech on TV every month, say, rather than once a year. But that might be nice. She might enjoy it, too. Has anyone ever asked her? I bet they haven’t.