Covid: Christmas is cancelled this year for me. I just can't take the risk –  Ayesha Hazarika

Politicians should have made it more clear that Christmas would have to be different this year, says Ayesha Hazarika (Picture: Shutterstock)Politicians should have made it more clear that Christmas would have to be different this year, says Ayesha Hazarika (Picture: Shutterstock)
Politicians should have made it more clear that Christmas would have to be different this year, says Ayesha Hazarika (Picture: Shutterstock)
It was only a matter of time before I was cancelled. I just didn’t think it would be me doing it. But I’ve decided enough is enough. I’m cancelling myself, at least for Christmas.

Not for me the warm family gathering in Glasgow with all the trimmings. And no, it’s not just to avoid the usual parental inquisition about why I’m not married and the fat-shaming while insisting I have room for just one more homemade turkey samosa.

It’s because it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Getting on a busy train to travel the length of the country will inevitably mean sharing and spreading germs. At least that would be my money-can’t-buy gift to my elderly dad taken care of. I can’t do it.

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I also think we’re all falsely creating an atmosphere where we think Christmas will be the same as usual. It shouldn’t be a normal Christmas, because this year has been far from it.

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Surely it would have been more sensible for everyone with any influence on society to plant the seed in our heads that Christmas this year was going to be different.

We should have been preparing people for a much more pared-down, distanced and digital Christmas instead of the five-day bender which will inevitably ensue, despite the Prime Minister telling us “although ’tis the season to be jolly, we also need to be jolly careful”. That’s like telling a kid in a sweetshop to not go mad. Or more aptly, telling the drunk at the free bar to mind their units.

It reminds me of that Saturday back in the summer. Super Saturday. Independence day. Fill your boots, and boy did we. Don’t get me wrong. I joined in with as much gusto as the next functional middle-aged alcoholic. We all had a marvellous time. We travelled the country, some of us went abroad. We ate out on the cheap to our heart’s content. As the sun slipped down, so did the cocktails and our inhibitions.

No one sets out to break the rules, by the way. Everyone has the best of intentions. At 4pm, you’re politely passing round the hand sanitiser and greeting each other with a polite wee elbow bump. By 10pm you’re hugging, practically getting off with each other, breathily going “bwoudy love ya, maaaate”.

All of which is to say, I know how hard this is. We had a respite from the joylessness of 2020 over the summer; we were given permission to have fun again. And it tasted so damn good. Especially that exquisite Orcadian gin I quaffed quite a lot of on holiday. But we have paid a pretty heavy price for our summer this autumn.

I get how much people love Christmas. I do. And I say this as a (clearly non-practising) Muslim. I yearn for the usual whirlwind of Christmas drinks, parties and the joy of a carol service, which is basically religious karaoke.

But I also know that certainly in my own case, I can’t trust myself. I don’t think I could stop myself from hugging my poor wee dad. It’s just not worth it for one year’s bogus comfort and joy. I would rather forgo it so that, hopefully, we can enjoy many more proper Christmases full of festive cheer and fat-shaming.

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