Well, it looks like Christmas is going to be a little different this year. Without knowing the government’s exact plans for how the UK will be able to celebrate the festive season at the time of writing this article, we will have to assume that we won’t be cramming hundreds of people into tiny rooms like usual. So with that in mind, it’s time to create the ultimate socially distanced Christmas for Yorkshire. From the build-up, through the traditional December milestones, to the day itself, here’s how we can enjoy a safe and secure Yuletide in God’s Own Country.
The streets of Yorkshire are usually strewn with Christmas do casualties throughout December. And for part of November too if you have a particularly thrifty Yorkshire-born and bred boss.
Barry from Accounts, who “doesn’t normally drink”, downs 15 sherries because the company’s paying and ends up being arrested for jumping up on the statue of Constantine the Great outside York Minster and singing a frankly bawdy song about his line manager. That sort of thing is rife at this time of year.
Well, thankfully for Barry, that doesn’t seem to be a viable option in the days of social distancing, so we need to get smart. Which activities could you take part in with your colleagues in Yorkshire where you can remain two metres apart? Obviously, zorbing is the answer. Everyone remains in their own literal bubble, made of transparent plastic, and careers down a hill, causing much hilarity. The bonus is that we have a multitude of excellent hills to choose from in Yorkshire.
Imagine the bonding opportunities that will come by your way simply by rolling down all 2,400 feet of Whernside with your workmates like a collection of oversized marbles. Well, it beats another flaming Zoom quiz, right?
One of the mainstays of a Yorkshire Yuletide, Leeds Christmas Market, has been cancelled this year. The German-inspired event is one of the key indicators that we are heading full-on into the festive period every year, but you are going to have to try and recreate the magic at home this time around.
Stock up on your best/wurst sausages and bring out the barbecue from hibernation for that authentic al fresco cooking atmosphere. Grab the best china and charge your other half a deposit on their cup, refundable if they return it unbroken. Fill it with mulled wine, get tipsy and buy a load of stuff you don’t need but which seemed like a good idea three drinks in. Of course, you won’t be able to browse the lovely gifts at the traditional Bavarian stalls, but the internet will have to suffice. At least you won’t have to try and battle to transport 27 finely crafted string puppets safely on the last train home.
There are so many well-loved and iconic pantomimes across Yorkshire that will not be happening this year, which is a crying shame for the actors, crew, venues and their staff who throw themselves into staging these Christmas staples. Comedian Billy Pearce has been a part of the annual festive show at the Alhambra in Bradford for the last 21 years, but this Winter’s run of Sleeping Beauty was cancelled in August.
If you miss a good Yorkshire panto, you will need to recreate it in your own home. Dad can squeeze into mum’s clothes, mum dresses like a teenage boy and the kids…well…they’ll probably run off and hide somewhere, hoping for the ground to swallow them up and save them from the embarrassment. “Oh no they won’t”. Oh yes, they will.
Traditionally, Christmas shopping is all about tearing around department stores stuffed with similarly manic shoppers. We’ve all seen that well-known documentary Love Actually, right? Well, the ill-fated Alan Rickman shopping trip is essentially the template for all of our hassled festive retail experiences. Without the buying-expensive-jewellery-for-your-mistress thing. Usually.
But this year, it will be very different. The numbers of shoppers allowed in at any one time will be limited, meaning a bizarrely serene trip through the aisles, but also the potential for gigantic queues in order to merely be allowed through the doors of these mega-outlets in the first place. So what is the alternative?
Shopping local. Let’s get out and support the phenomenal independents that grace our cities, towns and villages across Yorkshire. Whether you’re near Saltburn or Saltaire, Hebden Bridge or Harrogate, there’s an abundance of brilliant small businesses out there who would be grateful for your business. Buy Yorkshire gifts for a Yorkshire Christmas and help Yorkshire folk pay their bills, treat their families and fulfill their dreams, rather than throwing your pennies into the gaping black hole that is the anonymity of the corporate machine.
Now, it could well be that Christmas Day 2020 will be restricted to your immediate family and any support bubble that you have developed. Of course it will be tough to not be able to gather relatives from around the country in your living room to simultaneously snore through whichever Bond film is on the telly on the 25th December. It will be tough to be separated from brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, shielding grandparents and the like.
But. And this is a big ‘but’. Whilst this is devastating for most people, it is an absolute dream for a proper Yorkshire dad. Christmas with the minimum of fuss? That’s a big tick. Not having to buy as many gifts to hand out on Christmas Day? Tick. A much lower food bill? Tick. Not having to share his precious booze stash? Tick. Less competition for the remote control? Tick, tick, tick.
You see, in many ways we have to adjust our lives to take on the challenges of coronavirus, but for dads in Yorkshire, it’s almost as if the restrictions and regulations have adjusted to fit their dream of an idyllic Christmas. Weird how things turn out, isn’t it?