How should we celebrate Christmas?
Buying gifts, booking trips to visit family, reserving tables in restaurants: this would normally be the time for doing all this, but a coronavirus Christmas is no ordinary Christmas. In most European countries, restrictions of various degrees are still in place and governments are weighing up whether to cut their citizens a little more slack. The media evaluate the plans and make their own suggestions.
Just write it off
The best way to avoid disappointment at Christmas is not to have any expectations in the first place, says columnist Aggelos Kovaios on the web portal In:
“It makes no sense to have endless discussions on TV and radio about whether to open restaurants, how to do it and what will happen at Christmas. Because more and more people are asking themselves: If things go on the way they are now, do we really want to celebrate Christmas at all? With whom, and with how many people? And finally, what exactly will we be celebrating? It's better for everyone to be prepared and assume that this year's Christmas will be a non-event. Then, if it turns out differently, it will come as a (somewhat) positive surprise.”
A small celebration can be a fine thing
The Guardian warns against suspending coronavirus restrictions over the holiday season, as the British government is planning.
“January is horrible enough as it is: a season of divorce lawyers, diets and regrets. But to afford a 'normal' Christmas with all the trimmings this year, it's going to be January for months. ... It's ridiculous to pretend the choice is between a miserable, killjoy Christmas under house arrest and a week of full-blown bacchanalia. There's a middle ground, for heaven's sake, between the two, and it involves a smaller Christmas than usual but not necessarily a worse one; a slightly different December, followed perhaps by a January with fewer regrets.”
Suddenly different standards apply
In Germany coronavirus restrictions are also to be relaxed for the holiday season. Cicero editor-in-chief Alexander Marguier is nonplussed:
“The fact of the matter is that there would be no question of relaxing restrictions if Christmas wasn't around the corner. So if the course thus far has made any sense at all (and there are several good arguments to suggest it has), why should things suddenly be different at Christmas? For sentimental reasons? Not that this has played much of a role until now when it comes to all the lockdown-related social and economic upheavals. But as I said: over the wonderful Christmas season different standards apply.”
Tests before Christmas will be reassuring
In the Czech Republic, all citizens are to be offered a free corona test before Christmas - a plan Lidové noviny applauds:
“The antigen tests, which the state is offering nationwide and free of charge, won't prevent a potential third wave, but perhaps they will ensure that it is milder than would otherwise be the case. Without doubt, the mental endurance of individuals and society has its limits. Some will say they don't need to be tested because they have behaved responsibly during the second wave. ... Nevertheless, for those who want to be with their loved ones at Christmas but don't want to take risks, a test one week before won't provide absolute certainty, but at least some degree of reassurance.”