With exactly one week to go before the Big Day, a snapshot of Christmas 2021 — the Omicron Christmas. After a year of government by headless chicken, we have now entered the seasonal phase, government by headless turkey.
Nationally, the UK hovers somewhere between Plan B and Plan C, with nobody having a clear idea what either entails. Is Christmas cancelled? Depends on who you ask.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty urges caution. Boris says party on.
Boris, of course, is on the horns of a cocktail stick. He can’t very well tell people to put away the party poppers when Downing Street hosted numerous wine and cheese “gatherings” last year.
He’s also advising people to work from home, dubbed by some as Lockdown by Stealth.
Lockdown (stealthy or otherwise) and WFH have already left their mark upon the nation — not least upon the nation’s waistline.
On the plus side (in every sense), festive fashion is embracing elastication. This Christmas the shops are full of what’s being marketed as loungewear. Clothes for lounging around in. Or perhaps for lounging in the lounge bar.
Some of it is very odd. Tracksuit bottoms which look like your granny knitted them. The only people who will suit this stuff will be very athletic and very toned. In order words, the sort of people who never, ever lounge. Never mind, for real loungers, there’s always pyjamas. No longer just for the school run, but now also the official office wear of WFH.
For Christmas 2021, you’re encouraged to buy matching pyjamas for all the family — including for the family dog. This season, dog pyjamas are the cat’s pyjamas.
There’s a certain logic at work here. According to research published this week, dog owners have remained more upbeat during the Covid crisis than those who don’t have a pooch.
Not that this has created a whole lot of renewed respect for man’s so-called best friend. Another report this week details how some pugs and bulldogs are having to have surgery because, having been bred to look “cute”, they have extreme difficulty breathing. Still. Who cares about the poor thing smothering so long as he looks good in his festive pyjamas?
International news: France has banned people from the UK from entering the country. This is apparently to stem the flow of Omicron. But Omicron is already on the rise in France, so either this an example of closing le stable door or it’s Monsieur Macron continuing to exact his revenge for Brexit.
Haulage drivers will not be affected by the ban. So, if you’ve booked that skiing holiday in the French Alps, all is not lost if you can just get your hands on an HGV licence.
Travel is a nightmare all round. Tests, uncertainty, last-minute restrictions. Somewhere in the cold north right now, a meeting of SAGE (Santa’s Association of Greenland Elves) is trying to work out just how many lateral flow tests and passenger locator forms the big man will need to enable him and his team to circumnavigate the globe next Friday night.
Sports news: Chris Whitty says you can go to a football game if that’s your priority. By the look of it, you’ll be lucky. Premier League players are testing positive left, right and centre forward.
The “R” number, on pitch and off, is now Omicronic. But how deadly is the new strain? Again, depends on who you ask.
In the UK, at time of writing, there’s been one death. Many of those who’ve tested positive say they didn’t even know they’ve had it. But it’s given a boost to the booster programme. The vaccine centres are currently busier than the pubs.
And the Christmas shopping spree continues as per almost usual. The Spend Local card deadline has been extended — yet again. Mostly due to the fact that over 8,000 people still haven’t got theirs.
The Spend Local card may have a longer lifespan than the Galapagos Giant Turtle.
And meanwhile, up at Stormont, they’re now warning that, immediately post-turkey, a “significant intervention” is heading our way. Back to the pyjamas, then.
Still. Despite it all — the tests, the chaos and the genuine concern — here’s to a safe and happy season.
Have yourselves a merry little Christmas 2021 — as deemed compliant, obviously, with current Government advice.
Awwww! At last. A little baby face. Carrie and Boris have released a pic of their newborn Romy and, unusually for a child of celebrities, or well-known public figures, you can actually see her in the photograph. Not just her feet, or hands.
Babies generally look much alike. The fashion for releasing pics of their extremities has more to do with celebs signalling their own self-importance. The child’s face doesn’t have to be hidden, because she or he isn’t going to be out and about by themselves. In little Romy’s case, not even in Peppa Pig World.
Vladimir Putin has been talking in an interview about his dismay at the fall of the Soviet Union back in the early 1990s. Not least because the former KGB man had to get himself an honest job. For a time, he says, he worked as a taxi driver. A bit unsettling to think of those beady eyes scrutinising you in the rear-view mirror. “It’s unpleasant to talk about, to be honest,” he says of that time in his career. Not as unpleasant as right now, presumably, when he’s threatening to invade the Ukraine and, according to a Ukrainian minister this week, potentially triggering a Third World War. Taxi for Putin?
There’s only one Queen of Christmas and her name is Mariah Carey. But unsettling news for Mariah from Australia. In the Australian charts, she’s been nudged aside by a new hit. It gets worse. The Aussie chart-topper is a compilation of the chirps and cries of endangered Australian bird species from the Bowerbird to something called a Smew. The album is titled Songs of Disappearance. Hopefully, not an omen for Mariah, who’s recently signalled that she may be done with touring.
All I Want for Christmas is Smew?