‘Who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” Melania Trump was recorded saying to a friend in a conversation that was leaked in October. Which was not, well, very Christmassy of her. But while it seems unlikely that the grinch in the White House is excited about her last festive season as first lady, Christmas seems to have come early for the rest of us. An entire cul-de-sac in Telford, Shropshire, has already put up its lights, holding a street “switch-on” on 1 November. Ornaments are reportedly flying off shelves on both sides of the Atlantic; companies selling Christmas trees and decorations are announcing record sales.
In the before times, people might have wrung their hands about whether it was acceptable to put up Christmas decorations in November. This year, however, we need all the cheering up we can get. It is going to be a tough holiday season for everyone. More than 1 million people have died of Covid-19; an unfathomable number of people are mourning loved ones. And, with cases surging in many parts of the world, many of us will not be able celebrate with our families this year.
I live in New York and have been feeling depressed about not being able to go home to London this Christmas to see my parents. Still, I keep telling myself, ’tis the season to be optimistic. Pfizer is working on a vaccine that it says is 90% effective. Moderna says its vaccine is 95% effective. Give it a few days and I am sure Oxford/AstraZeneca will announce a vaccine that is 110% effective.
The holidays are going to be hard, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, I am going to buy all the tinsel I can get my hands on.