I mean, obviously if I’d had an inkling of what 2020 had in store for us I wouldn’t have wasted Sad Christmas on 2014 or Good News Stories on 2019, both of which were, relatively speaking and in retrospect, perfectly reasonable years. But alas I am no Dominic Cummings so instead of going back to edit an old blog post to make it look as though I predicted the pandemic, I merely acknowledge that if there was ever a year that made it hard to raise the requisite cheer for a musical advent calendar, 2020 is emphatically it.
BUT, wouldn’t it all be even worse without Christmas? Christmas will be different this year; for some of us in small ways, for others in heartbreakingly big ones. But I suspect the reason that so many people’s decorations are already up in November (I walked around Blackheath yesterday and even the middle-class millionaires all had their trees lit) is that we are all craving a little bit of normality, a little bit of love and light and indulgence, even if it’s just a hint of a hope of what we were expecting.
Personally I have embraced making Christmas last for twice as long this year by breaking out the pigs in blankets well over a month too early and ordering two Christmas crates of wine, so that we can drink the first one before the holidays even start. And in that spirit I bring you this year’s calendar, which has been designed not by me, but by my six-nearly-seven-year-old niece Edie, who has crafted an activity advent calendar, with a different Christmassy thing to do every day. We will be following Edie’s advice daily, starting tomorrow.
There will also be music, of course, but in a year when so many of our dreams, hopes and expectations have been trashed, let’s share some miniature Christmassy moments, however near or far away we are from our loved ones.