Christmas celebrations come early in 2020 

Sophie Fletcher 

2020 is a year that many would happily forget, with Covid-19 dominating both global news and global health.

There has been an increase in mental distress in people aged 16 and over, according to a recent survey comparing before and after Covid-19. 

Christmas 2020 has become even more important because people want a reason to celebrate – even if they can’t be physically together with the limits on social gatherings in homes.

In Belfast, the festive season seems very different

This year, there is no Christmas market in Belfast City Hall, a staple of the time of year for locals. People were told not to gather for the turning on of the Christmas lights in the city – an event that signals the start of the Christmas season for Belfast – which was brought forward this year perhaps in a bid to lighten the mood.

“People all over Dublin have been putting up decorations early to try and get some sort of Christmas cheer going as soon as possible,” explains one Dublin student Eoghan Gardiner. 

This eagerness has been noted by one Christmas tree farmer in Co. Antrim, Noel Curran, owner of Ballylagan Christmas Trees & Woodland & Garden Services. 

Curran noticed that customers have been coming earlier than usual: “The first tree we actually sold this year was an 8 ft Nordmann Fur to a couple who normally come round the 5th of December, but they were up on the 14th of November this year.” 

Curran says that he has sold more this year compared to l2019. “I think COVID-19 has made people buy them earlier, because people wanted to ease their depression a wee bit.”

Tirna Slevin, another Dublin-based student, says she put up her tree at the end of November just to brighten the place up.

“This year since most people are mainly at home, they have that extra time to focus on home comforts and festivities.”

Christmas this year is especially important worldwide, as people are excited to get together, virtually or otherwise, to celebrate and try to forget what a Covid-dominated year it has been. 

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