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By now, most of us have experienced multiple corona birthdays: mine is next week, and my husband already looks hunted. I am the worst kind of birthday tyrant: insistent I don’t want a fuss, then furious when I don’t get one.
Things only got worse when my friend Benjamin introduced me to his invention: the “birthday penumbra”, meaning you get a free pass to behave unreasonably for a week either side of the big day. “Birthday penumbra!” I now shriek, refusing to wash up or demanding a fancier-than-usual takeaway. I won’t apologise for it: we need little highs, in this dismal trudge of a year.
Our first corona birthday was my stepmother’s in April: whisky, chocolate biscuits and an anxious but loving Skype. I hated the lack of va-va-voom for my son’s 18th, but he seemed happy; he hates parties anyway. My father’s big birthday was a chaotic, dog-interrupted family Zoom; my stepfather ignored his entirely.
My husband lucked out with a lockdown interregnum birthday but I failed to surprise his “closest inner circle” with a trip to a private island like Kim Kardashian West. This is a shame, because the idea of us and his largely silent, fleece-clad climbing pals, Alain and Dominique, posting pouting selfies in a tropical paradise, is a pleasing one.
As corona-Christmas looms, have I learned anything about 2020 celebrations that may make it enjoyable? My only suggestion is: do whatever the – legal – hell you like and let everyone else do the same. I suggest a collective Christmas penumbra in which anything goes for a fortnight: cherrypick the bits you enjoy (panettone mainly) and sod the rest.
An “unprecedented” Christmas can be a good thing. I have had three so far (holiday, dead mother and separation) and although occasionally sad or strange, they also felt like a hard reset and vital breathing space: how often do you get that in life?
We want things to be exceptional in spite of Covid; but of course, they already are because of Covid. So stop worrying about how to make it special: it already is.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Worried about corona-Christmas? Relax … I know what to do | Emma Beddington | Opinion