NINE months into this pandemic and I am as aware as the next person how much we all miss our loved ones.
We long to hug them and hold them close in these toughest of times.
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The three-household limit has left everyone with tough decisions to make about their Christmas bubble[/caption]
But after all we have sacrificed to get coronavirus under control, dodging the worst until there is a vaccine . . . well, I am struggling with the idea that we can have five days “off” from it all.
For a start, the three-household limit issued in this week’s Christmas guidance has left everyone with tough decisions to make about their Christmas bubble and who is in it. And, more importantly, who is not.
Already I have friends who have all but come to blows with relatives about who is hosting, who will attend and who will be left out.
Now, more than ever, we need to exercise our own judgment about how to be safe.
After all we’ve been through, I think most of us are resigned to the idea that the festive season won’t be anything like Christmases of the past.
And for some, whisper it, that might even be a good thing.
After all, pared-back and scaled-down plans mean that whoever is usually responsible for planning, shopping and cooking the feast will have a much easier time of it.
Being told we can get together with two other families is not only confusing, it is contradictory to the many months we have spent in various degrees of isolation.
For five days over Christmas, three households will be able to mix, and the Government has also agreed to relax social-distancing rules, allowing friends and family members to hug.
After everything we have had, it is going from one extreme to another, for five days only.
That, some might say, is just long enough for multiple households to mix repeatedly and create super-spreader events.
And then what? We face another month in total lockdown as some kind of penance.
Having got this far, with months of sacrifice under our belts, isn’t it crazy to chuck that in the air for five days of Christmas jollity?
Many of us have questioned whether a lockdown was, and is, the right response to this pandemic.
But if there is a risk involved with getting together, is it really worth putting our loved ones in harm’s way in the name of tradition, just for some dry turkey and mushy Brussels sprouts?
This virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas. It won’t take a week off just so we can get together with our various beloveds.
So we really do need to be sensible. Maybe this year is your chance to step away from old traditions and form new ones.
Yes, Christmas is a time for family.
And yes, this is the day we most want to celebrate, play games, eat too much food and drink too much . . . then go on to think about starting a diet in January.
But this year, of all years, really must be different.
I urge you all to be sensible and to stay away from any relatives who are elderly or vulnerable.
If the weather is OK, why not meet for a drink in the garden instead?
This virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas, it won’t take a week off just so we can get together[/caption]
And if it is not safe to see them, stay on the sofa sipping Baileys and eating mince pies.
I know it’s hard, but it is just one day. And how much harder will it be if your parents get sick?
As my friend’s dad said to her when he suggested they should not meet up over Christmas: “Let’s stay alive until we have the jab. Then we can party.”
In other words . . . this too shall pass.
Well done Rishi
FINALLY! Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced this week he is cutting back on foreign aid.
Frankly, he has not gone far enough in my opinion. But it’s a start.
We can’t help anyone else until we have helped ourselves.
Foreign aid does little to help the poorest people on the planet.
Let’s help countries suffering in the wake of natural disaster.
But it is high time we stopped contributing money to the many inane causes to which our foreign aid so often seems to end up going
Meghan’s brave to speak out
IN a distinctly un-royal essay in The New York Times this week, the Duchess of Sussex revealed she suffered a miscarriage over the summer.
Meghan described the “unbearable grief” it caused her and Prince Harry.
Meghan Markle revealed she suffered a miscarriage over the summer[/caption]
What bravery she has shown in opening up about her experience. In doing so, she instantly allowed more women to feel able to talk about this all too common experience more openly.
I know there will be those who think that miscarriage is a private thing that should not be shared.
But the grief and trauma suffered by women who feel unable to talk about their loss is tremendous. I feel very sad for Meghan and Harry.
I had a miscarriage and know what a lonely and painful time it is.
It is not easy to talk about and it takes time to heal.
I know they escaped the UK for privacy, and there are people who will say they should have kept this quiet.
I feel very sad for Meghan and Harry – I know how painful it is[/caption]
But there is a time to be private and a time to have courage to share for a higher purpose, in this case to raise awareness of how difficult miscarriage is for the parents.
I am so sorry for their loss and, knowing that an estimated one in every eight known pregnancies ends in miscarriage, I know many people will be grateful they have chosen to share their pain and support others who are suffering.
It is a very tough thing to go through but it sometimes leads to a happy ending.
I went on to have two healthy children, so there is hope.
But the other thing to bear in mind is that happy families come in all shapes and sizes.
J Lo and behold
WITH such a plethora of spectacular role models, could there be a better time to be a woman in her 50s?
Did you see Jennifer Lopez the other day at the 2020 American Music Awards?
Jennifer Lopez is 51 but looked 20 years younger at the 2020 American Music Awards[/caption]
Holy macaroni, does her confidence comes through. She is 51 but could be 20 years younger.
Of course, her appearance was accompanied by the usual predictable criticism that she was “flaunting” herself, or that she was mutton dressed as lamb.
But such accusations can only be levelled by the blind and jealous.
She looks a million dollars.
Stop this age-old anomaly
I HAVE huge admiration for Charlotte Carew Pole, who is running a campaign called Daughters’ Rights to end male primogeniture.
This is where hereditary titles favour sons and pass daughters by. Some might say it is a niche problem to have.
Charlotte Carew Pole is running a campaign called Daughters’ Rights to end male primogeniture[/caption]
But there are still 92 seats in the House of Lords which are reserved for hereditary peers, and those seats are all held by men.
So, in the interests of equality, this is something that affects us all.
Charlotte is flagging up the idea there should be no place in society where it is acceptable to treat daughters differently from sons. I couldn’t agree more.
She doesn’t necessarily endorse hereditary peers but is making the wider point that while this system exists, discrimination based on gender should be removed.
She is trying to turn around the juggernaut that is British history, which massively favours men in a way that is truly archaic.
Good on her.
THIS year, many of us have entered into a meaningful relationship with our TV.
So one of the biggest stories this week, as far as I am concerned, is that Netflix has doubled its UK production budget to a BILLION dollars.
Thanks to the success of hugely popular shows such as The Crown, above, and Sex Education, the streaming company has expanded its budget to splash out on more than 50 shows in this country.
All I can say to this news is: “Yippee!” They do make really good TV.
Also, to Netflix, a personal thank you: I don’t know what I would have done over the past nine months without you.
I’ll get you my pretty
CLOSE your eyes and imagine how the world would react if a woman turned up, anywhere, with six men claiming they were all her boyfriend.
Then imagine what people would say if she revealed she had a child with each of them.
A man turned up at a Nigerian wedding with six pregnant women – whom he claimed were all carrying his children[/caption]
The comments would be unprintable, wouldn’t they?
So why is it that when a man described as a “controversial socialite”, who turned up at a Nigerian wedding with six pregnant women – whom he claimed were all carrying his children – it is seen as a comment on his virility?
The man in question, known as Pretty Mike, told his 250,000 Instagram followers the photo was “no film trick . . . we are just living our best life”.
Describing the women as his “six baby mothers-to-be”, he was filmed feeling each of their baby bumps as they waited in line at the wedding.
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Just to be clear, this man was reportedly arrested in 2017 for putting female guests in chains and walking them on leashes to a wedding.
Six mothers-to-be? What a piece of work. I wonder who will be doing the night feeds.
I hope revenge will come in the form of the six potential mothers-in-law he has to answer to.
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