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Posted 2020-11-20 19:48:07 UTC

Should Christmas Be Cancelled?

GMTV’s Piers Morgan and his colleague Susannah Reid have been the driving force behind a new campaign to cancel Christmas this year. Morgan told Britons to “suck it up” and accept that this year, family gatherings may not be able to take place to celebrate Christmas due to coronavirus restrictions. TV presenter Lorraine Kelly has also joined the campaign to cancel Christmas, urging the government to “Do the right thing!”

 

"This virus has not got any less virulent," Morgan said on the show earlier this week. 

"It doesn't understand rule of six, or Boris' idea of having Christmas Day off, as if somehow we can all amass on Christmas Day and then go back to the rules. "If we miss Christmas Day as a country, if that's what we have to do, we have to do it.

 

However, many experts have disagreed with cancelling the festivities, citing concerns for people’s mental health if they are prevented from seeing their loved ones and families over the Christmas period. Psychologist Vivian Hill says the "descent into winter" can be a "very significant factor" in how people feel about loneliness, with less daylight and colder weather reducing the opportunity to get outside.

 

The week after the clocks went back saw Britain's highest levels of acute loneliness in the pandemic, Office for National Statistics figures suggest. The start of November, with darker evenings, saw 8% of adults who were "always or often lonely" - representing 4.2 million people- nearly twice as many as before the pandemic.

 

Many have lost loved ones during the pandemic and have been kept apart from their families, unable to visit elderly family members in care homes or relations in hospital. Single people have been isolated from loved ones, with travel restrictions keeping many people apart. Our lives have changed irrevocably, with working from home becoming the new norm, leading to further isolation and lack of contact with our friends and colleagues. 

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had warned that it would be “a bumpy road to Christmas” but has so far stopped short of saying what the restrictions will be when the national lockdown is lifted at the beginning of December.

 

Last week, Johnson warned that actions to stop a second surge of Covid-19 must be tough now in order to protect Christmas. The Prime Minister said people have to be "both confident and cautious" and that it is "crucial" the country does not re-enter "some great lockdown again that stops business from functioning. Christmas we want to protect, and we want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas," he stated. "But the only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now. So if we can grip it now, stop the surge, arrest the spike, stop the second hump of the dromedary, flatten the second hump."

 

Public Health England officials warned every day of easing the lockdown rules would demand "five days of tighter restrictions".

 

Many people have lost faith in the government’s ability to control the spread of coronavirus and are already planning to break the rules over the Christmas period.

 

 

BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire was criticized following an interview with the Radio Times in which she said she would break the rule of six, should it still be in place. “We're breaking it to have the rule of seven. We just are,” she said. “We’ll do it knowing what the risks are,” she added, saying her family would buy a thermometer gun. “We have to be together at Christmas. It feels almost irresponsible saying that, but I don’t think we’re alone in feeling that way.”  

 

Although the presenter later repeatedly apologised, saying her comments were “wrong” and “hypothetical”, and that her family would continue to follow whatever rules are in place at Christmas, it seems Derbyshire articulated a feeling that, for many, is bubbling under the surface, discussed only in private and behind closed doors.

 

 

There are also concerns that people who ignore the restrictions behind closed doors will not necessarily snap back into complying with the rules once Boxing Day is over. Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, warns that social distancing breaks down in two situations: one, when people are behind closed doors in the privacy of their own home, and two, when there is alcohol involved and the two metre rule is no longer observed. Christmas would involve many different generations potentially travelling between high risk areas to be together, celebrating under one roof.

 

Research by King’s College found 53 per cent of us have felt angry with other people because of their behaviour, and it seems Christmas will be no different.  

 

What do you think? Are you planning a big family gathering this year, or do you think people should stick to small gatherings for the greater good?

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