In these challenging times, out of step with ordinary life, many of us will take solace in the chance to reflect and celebrate with loved ones. But in the absence of the usual hallmarks tales from holidays abroad, hugging older relatives, or a party with the neighbours how do we mark the end of the year. These are some 2020 tradition.
A travel tree
‘At home, we have two Christmas trees. Whenever I go to a new city or country I buy an ornament for one. It’s our travels tree. The baubles depicting something about these places aren’t always my favourite so instead, my tree includes things like keyrings of Venetian masks, a coaster from the Grand Ol Opry, and a fridge magnet from New York. Sadly, I didn’t add to it this year but we will,’ says Nicola Gormley, Scotland.
My 200-year-old tradition lives on, over FaceTime
‘My great grandparents on both sides of my family immigrated to the US (Minnesota and Illinois) in the late 1800s, and their Norwegian holiday traditions have carried on. On Christmas Eve my grandma Dahle would make lefsa, lutefisk, mashed potatoes, and pitchers of melted butter to drizzle over everything.’
‘She would usually make krumkake and sometimes she’d make romegrat to eat on Christmas morning. That’s our main meal but lutefisk is not my favourite (It’s like eating fish-flavoured rubber covered in petroleum jelly), so there are always more items to choose from that are more American like turkey or ham.’
‘Grandma Dahle used to make lefse for our family and sell it in her small town of Hayfield, Minnesota. About 10 years ago, she lost her vision and most of her memories. Before she moved to a nursing home, she gave me her lefse-making apron, rolling pin, griddle, and recipe so I could carry on the tradition (but I don’t sell it). My two cousins and I are going to make it together this year, and we’ve asked the nursing home if we can FaceTime with Grandma so she can at least hear her grandchildren carrying on her family’s tradition,’ says Shannon Johnson, US.
A knees-up, two meters apart
‘In my neighbourhood in London, there is a fantastic pub where the locals congregate on Christmas Eve. It is heart-warming to see friends and families reunite as the kids return from university or wherever they have been. Young and old regulars hug and greet each other warmly and cards and presents are swapped. Beer and mulled wine are consumed, and a bit later, shots for the brave.’
‘The landlord hands out presents for the dogs; steam cheers and carols rise up into the frosty air from the crowded beer garden. This year will not be the same, but the warmth and love will still be felt from our socially distanced seats. Waves and smiles from behind a mask will do. The small gestures matter more this year,’ says Tamasine Pritchard, England.