For many, this Christmas will be a subdued affair with a sizeable percentage of households opting not to mix as coronavirus looms large over the festivities.
This is usually the time of year that I would rather hide behind the Christmas tree than take part in tidings of comfort and joy.
I’m more of a bah humbug type unimpressed by the commercial shopping glut that Christmas has become while riddled with self-loathing after gorging on one mince pie too many (I don’t even like them that much).
Somehow, Christmas feels different this year, it matters that we are together with the family in our designated COVID bubble.
Since the pandemic, the outside world has become the inside of our homes.
A new normal of limited activity, social distancing, avoiding physical contact has become attached to our daily routine.
Everything we do has to be tempered with whether there is a health risk involved.
Travelling abroad has become a no-no while even a visit to the supermarket has its pitfalls.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have learnt to live with the fear of catching COVID, feeling vulnerable and exposed.
A section of society has yet to be convinced that the ‘sniffles’ is a killer disease that has long-lasting effects on survivors contracting a heavy virus load.
The younger generation isn’t too bothered.
They believe it only kills “old people” ignoring the fact that their parents or grandparent are among those who don’t need to live much longer.
Cyprus has suffered as much as any European country in the second wave of COVID-19.
As the bells ring out for Christmas, the death toll has registered three-digits while the cases are hurtling beyond 20,000.
Such worst-case scenarios were unforeseeable at the end of the summer.
In an ideal world, Santa will be climbing down our chimney with two doses of the COVID vaccine for every man, woman, and child to become immune.
Science has dome wonders to discover a safe vaccine, but it will come too late for some vulnerable groups.
Ironically, while praying for a special gift from Santa, a new potent strain of the virus was discovered in the UK, triggering a new wave of panic.
This new COVID variant is more infectious, but there is no evidence to suggest it induces worse outcomes or higher frequency of severe symptoms.
Needless to say, the scare prompted Europe to shut its door to the UK until it could get a handle on the newcomer.
Cyprus was one of the few countries that didn’t at once impose a flight ban, it opted to impose a quarantine regime.
Nicosia also, sneakily, shunted the UK into category C which effectively banned entry to anyone arriving from Britain who wasn’t Cypriot or a Cyprus resident.
It informed the British authorities but did not make it public knowledge because we were supposed to assume this had happened.
The government has acquired a taste for acting without full transparency or not keeping the public informed on why they have imposed measures that restrict our personal freedoms.
We are experiencing a health emergency, but the government will only win over public support if it shows a method in the mayhem.
A policy of geographical-tiered measures to tackle a spike in coronavirus proved redundant when it had to put the entire island under a form of lockdown where you are free not to be free.
Ministers have shown their human face for the holidays in allowing people to stay out later on Christmas Eve – in case you are still turkey hunting – and New Year’s Eve.
Everyone will have to dash back home like Cinderella after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to beat the 1 am deadline.
Enjoy this COVID Christmas safe at home in the knowledge you may have saved a life.
There are other ways to stay connected with loved ones.
Share the love and not the virus during the holidays our frontline heroes are depending on us.
The only thing you should be mixing this Christmas is your drinks.