JAN MOIR: The Aaargh to Zzzz of a Covid Christmas

The Aaargh to Zzzz of a Covid Christmas: A variant born to be mild, hoarders (again!), and No. 10 party hysteria… check out JAN MOIR’s inimitable guide to yet another year to forget

Last Christmas, we spent it apart and the very next day, you were still away. This year, to save me from tears, we’re trying to make it special . . . but the question is, will we succeed?

Should we eat drink and be merry, partying like Downing Street elites because another lockdown could be just around the corner?

Or should we cool our yule and err on the side of festive caution? Whatever you do, don’t miss my A-Z guide to Christmas Covid — The Second Coming.

A. . . is for another year over, and a new one just begun. Well, almost. In some ways we know what to expect for Christmas 2021.

A circuit-breaker is no longer just a missing bulb on the tree lights.

Hands, face, waste of space? As good a phrase as any to describe our political leaders.

Contact tracing, the pingdemic? Been there and done that, along with doomscrolling and caremongering when WFH on a Blursday — but what is next?

B . . . is for the Big Boost. For getting your booster. ‘Have you been boosted yet?’ is the kind of thing perfect strangers feel free to ask as you socially distance at the bus stop.

What you do in the privacy of your own home is entirely your own businesses, but fear not. At Covid Christmas ‘boosting’ merely means what volume of alcohol you have managed to smuggle into your everyday drinks. Gin in a teacup, sherry in a trifle, rum in your cornflakes? We’ve all been there. The gratuitous injection of premium spirits into innocent beverages is the boost we all need at this time of year. See also C.

C . . . is for Christmas Milk, aka Baileys Irish Cream. 

Christmas is the one time of year when it is socially acceptable for mums everywhere to pour themselves a nutritious glass of Christmas Milk when basking in the glow of that 15-minute window of opportunity when the table is cleared, the dishwasher is full, the living room isn’t a war zone and no one is asking where the next cup of tea/meal/gift/snack is coming from.

Christmas is the one time of year when it is socially acceptable for mums everywhere to pour themselves a nutritious glass of Christmas Milk

D . . . is for Drinks. Story doing the rounds at the moment: on a flight from London to Belfast this week, an air hostess pushed her trolley down the aisle. ‘Any drinks or snacks?’ she asked. ‘What do you think this is — a cabinet meeting?’ roared one passenger, to the hilarity and delight of everyone on board.

I do so hope this is true, because it has made my Christmas.

E . . . is for elves, the unsung minions who run around in regrettable shoes and man tights to help the big guy get the big job done.

Some of them are more helpful than others. Dominic Cummings was once a chief elf, but now he is on Team Grinch. He seems hell-bent on destruction, on bringing down the government and the people who once employed him, purely to satisfy his own dark urges. Does he have low elf esteem? Someone help him, before it’s too late.

Elves are the unsung minions who run around in regrettable shoes and man tights to help the big guy get the big job done

F . . . is for the fourth vaccine. Are you kidding me? Four calling birds, four riders of the apocalypse and now a fourth Covid injection? Is this the quattro formaggi of intravenous medicine, the last stab on the pinpricked pizza of your bicep? I’m not going to argue. If that is what it takes, I am in.

G . . . is for Gandalf and also for Gummidge (Worzel). Much has been made of women’s lax grooming over the pandemic, but take a look at the men in your lives. What a state!

The British Prime Minister looks like he sleeps in a skip and rubs a balloon on his head before every press conference, while Keir Starmer is very ageing boy band.

The British Prime Minister (or Worzel Gummidge) looks like he sleeps in a skip and rubs a balloon on his head

H . . . is for Hamsterkaufing — the wonderful German word for stockpiling and/or hoarding foodstuffs. If you see someone filling their trolley with Christmas puddings or festive boiled meats, you could shout: ‘Hey, stop your hamsterkaufing, lady!’

Only don’t be surprised if she shouts back: ‘I’ve got ham but I’m not a hamster.’

Please also note the verb to ‘magpie’ — to snatch up desirable staples in the supermarket, such as toilet paper or pasta, like a mad old bird.

I . . . is for idiot — and possibly also for idi-not. ‘If you are eligible and refuse the Covid vaccine, you are an idiot,’ said Tony Blair this week.

Uh oh! Beware the Man From The Past daring to venture into the modern pit of public opinion without learning the new rules.

No sooner had Tony spoken his truth, than anti-vaxxers were triggered into a rage. Before the day was out, the former Labour prime minister had changed his mind. ‘Possibly I was a little too undiplomatic in my use of language,’ he said. Possibly. Or possibly not.

J. . . is for Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey, too. This travelling family with their new baby won’t break the Rule Of Six in Wales, or bust Nicola Sturgeon’s decree that socialising should be limited to three households in Scotland. However, this does mean that visits from shepherds, angels and anyone from red-list countries, wise men or otherwise, is out.

K. . . is for Kate and her laudable dedication to festive dressing. You’ve got to hand it to the Duchess of Cambridge.

From December to Hogmanay, that girl is never knowingly underdressed on a festive theme.

Kate Middleton wore a red cashmere jumper from Miu Miu that came with its own built-in baubles

Red coats at carol services. Velvet collars in church. Gold and silver accents everywhere. Tartan skirts for Christmas drinks.

And best of all — for decorating the trees at Westminster Abbey — a red cashmere jumper from Miu Miu that came with its own built-in baubles! Not to mention a Peter Pan collar and pearl buttons.

Most of us would look like a knitted tea cosy in that number, but Kate carries it off. Just.

L. . . there is Noel.

M. . . is for mistletoe. Forget it. It’s just not happening.

M . . . is for mistletoe. Forget it. It’s just not happening

N . . . is for the New Normal. What even is that? No one knows, so would everyone please stop saying it. Nothing is normal any more and no matter where you are, there you are, so you had better just get on with it.

O. . . is for Omicron, our lovely new friend which might be a new wave or a parallel pandemic.

It is called the mild version of Covid, which is like saying a cold is the mild version of flu — we all know that both are horrible.

A strain that’s half as virulent can surely cause just as much damage if it is also spreading several times faster. Omicron may be born to be mild, but let’s be careful out there.

P . . . is for parties, which we are not having this year, not even if we work in Downing Street. Boris has his critics, including me, but that photograph looked to me like fed-up colleagues taking a break outside their workplace, sustained by cheese and wine.

Perhaps they were wrong and certainly thoughtless, but what is far worse is the confected outrage and tribalism of those who condemn them all.

Q . . . is for Queen, of course, who is having a very different Christmas, too. It is also for Quality Street and in a way — puffs on pipe — the two are inextricably linked. One has a gold crown and a coconut topping, the other is a chocolate. Q is for quarantinis, which must be ingested in vast quantities over the coming week.

R . . . is for reindeer. Please extend a warm welcome to the new members joining Donner, Blitzen and the gang. Say hello to Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. This is not their first Christmas rodeo and they are going to be around for years to come.

S . . . is for saviour complex. The new photograph of Harry and Meghan and their children, Archie and Lilibet, is just adorable.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have finally shown the first photo of their daughter Lilibet Diana, six months after she was born, in their family Christmas card (pictured)

But why does the accompanying statement say they have made donations to charities on our behalf? Why not their own behalf?

There is only one person allowed to bask in a saviour complex at this time of year, and that is the little guy in the basket. Someone who is not away with the fairies like the Sussexes, but away in a manger instead,

T . . . is for terminology. Let me be clear on this once more. A Covid staycation is when you stay at home and don’t have a holiday. A holiday is when you go on holiday, even if that holiday is in your own county.

A drivecation is when you sit in the car in your drive and sulk because you have been forced to have another staycation. Got it?

U . . . is for useless presents. Never have we been more in need of something silly, expensive and utterly futile, and for once I don’t mean the Duchess of York, the most persecuted royal in history, up to and including Mary Queen of Scots, who lost her head instead of just her reason. Most useless presents this year include the Hot Chocolate Velvetiser at £99.95 and the £160 Smeg milk frother.

V . . . is for Very Closely, which is how Sage and the Government are watching the data. Let’s keep an open mind on a fast-moving situation and tolerate the different views of our fellow citizens. Or let’s not, and just carry on fighting.

W . . . is for Worst. The worst part of Christmas will never change. It is when Emma Thompson unwraps the Joni Mitchell CD in Love Actually.

X . . . is for Xmas Traditions, many of which have drifted like snow and been lost in the pandemic blizzard (see M for Mistletoe).

Y. . . is for yesterday, when our troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as if Covid’s here to stay. But remember, the true Christmas spirit lies in your heart. Who said that? Baby Jesus? Meghan? No, you fools. It was Tom Hanks’s Santa in The Polar Express.

Z. . . is for Zoom Quiz. It seems astounding that there are people out there who seriously want the Prime Minister to be investigated by the police for holding a Zoom quiz last year. Not only that, they want him punished and possibly locked up.

It could happen. I’ve heard that you get 25 days for an advent calendar in these torrid times.

And finally, I would just like to wish a Merry Christmas to all my readers.

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