Here’s why I can’t wait for Christmas this year – Jim Duffy

Holidays are out and the sporting calendar has been ripped up, so Jim Duffy needs something to look forward to

It's not just youngsters who will be looking forward to Christmas this year (Picture: Jon Savage)
It's not just youngsters who will be looking forward to Christmas this year (Picture: Jon Savage)

As a 50-something, who now feels like a 50-something, life is passing me by. The next big event is my 60th birthday. Yikes! Sixty! I remember when I was ten, when I was 18, when I was 35. I was literally invincible then. But, now as an older guy living through a pandemic and approaching a big old milestone birthday, I need something better to look forward to. Something more meaningful that I can pin some nice and positive thoughts on. And do you know I think I’ve found it. It’s Christmas.

And when you think about it for a second it actually makes sense.

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I exaggerated a little on the age thing. I have a few years before I hit 60. And some decent birthdays to look forward to in between I hope. But, as I sit and observe what coronavirus has done and is doing to people and society, I need to stretch my imagination a little. And possibly you do too.

Coming out of lockdown is going to feel strange for so many of us. Walking back into an eerie world of face masks, social distancing and whatever the new normal looks like. One thing is for sure. The annual holiday is looking like it ain’t happening. The summer break and getting away to warmer climates is so vital for us. It punctuates Easter from Christmas and gives us all a mental boost. It enhances our wellbeing. But not this year I fear.

With so many counties invoking quarantine rules after travel, it is putting a real damper on the holiday season. Resorts in Europe are trying to open up, but social distancing, disinfection and strict local rules mean that the usual behaviours will be suppressed. Airlines and airports are striving hard to get back up to speed. These businesses need us to use up our vouchers and buy more tickets. But again, new rules and regs are stifling progress. And add to this, the nervousness of huge swathes of the population about actually going out again and it just compounds the pressure to give this year’s annual holiday a wide berth.

Then there was always sport to pep us up in the summer. Of course Wimbledon was abandoned and horse racing is suspended. No Glorious Goodwood this year. No British Formula One with roads heaving with traffic around Silverstone. And the golf also looks like a damp squib. And for once, I fully realise how important these events are to boosting people’s spirits and providing great entertainment. I haven’t mentioned football yet, but it sits here in pole position really. Cup finals and end of league nail-bitters ain’t happening this year by the looks of things. One can feel the frustration in football fans who live for the sport. And while not a big footie fan, even I am feeling a little miffed at not getting to watch the cup finals.

Next up as the final spoilsport for the summer is my partner’s 40th. Well, not just hers. All her chums are having their big birthday this year and in short they have postponed it till next year. As we all know lockdown or semi-lockdown birthdays, even on Zoom, are not quite the same.

So, with all this stuff going on or not going on, you can see why I am so excited for Christmas now. And many of you may feel the same way.

As the jobs market opens up, many will return to work. But, it won’t be the same. Some companies will fold soon after opening. Customers may not return as quickly as hoped. Schools, colleges and universities will eventually go back to normal after the summer. But, there will be so much to sort out as many appeal exam results and placings. Gyms will open and bars and restaurants will try so hard to tease us out into the open. But, for a while and probably a good while it will take some getting used to. We will have to learn to trust again.

And this is the crucial factor for me in getting to Chistmas. As local communities, towns, cities and countries slowly get their mojo back over the coming months, Covid-19 will still be lurking, infecting and breakout. As we sit with work colleagues or with fellow commuters on a bus or train, how confident will we be that we are all trying hard to be sensible in getting through this?

The answer is we have to be.

The next while is going to feel very odd. We will feel like that turtle on a beach wading through the shifting sand in an attempt to get to the ocean. It will feel strange as we aim for feeling normal as we hit the water and are off on a surer footing. But, just think as we do this – Christmas is going to be great.

I’m definitely recalibrating my internal time-clock to happier times. I’m craving Yuletide like never before. I want to hear all the usual soppy Christmas songs in the radio. I’m yearning for Wham! and Last Christmas. I want the Wizard of Oz on the TV. I can’t wait to see and sit with family again with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes. My Christmas jumper and my paper hat on my head. A time that I took for granted on so many occasions. But, now I am so excited about it. Even though it is eight months away.

I’m hanging my hat on a Happy Christmas. And as we come out of lockdown – let’s look forward with hope.

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