Christmas 2020

Christmas, Birthdays, and other things we didn’t want to have to celebrate during a pandemic

A lot of things about Christmas 2020 were exactly the same as any other Christmas we’ve celebrated: or since Max came along, at least.

Everyone ate way too much, but then ate some more anyway.

Max was more excited than he’s ever been in his life.

My mum once again outdid herself, with a table setting which included an entire miniature village, complete with tiny replicas of our house and theirs, plus the Disney castle for Max to play with when he got bored during dinner.

I once again forgot to photograph most of this, and, in fact, took no photos AT ALL of anyone other than Max: whoops.

We all ate even more, and yet somehow we all STILL managed to forget about the cheeseboard until Terry, Max and I were half way to the car, at which point my parents were all, “Oh noes, we forgot about the cheeseboard again! Oh well, next time!” Then they closed the door, and we drove home, thinking about all the cheese we didn’t eat.

Christmas Day 2020

It was a perfectly normal, perfectly lovely Christmas, in other words, and, as the five of us sat down to dinner as usual, we all commented on how incredibly lucky we were to be doing this, given how many other people in the country were, at that minute, banned from seeing their families on Christmas day… which, OK, that bit WAS pretty different, really.

Our Christmas day was normal on the surface, but there were still some significant differences: like the video calls with Terry’s side of the family, which had to replace our usual get together with them. Or the constant feeling that we were doing something dangerous, that might well end up killing us. I mean, I know I tend to be a “glass half empty” kind of person, but that one was unusual even for ME.

Christmas table setting, 2020

Christmas Day 2020Finally, of course, there was the looming Boxing Day lockdown.

At midnight on Christmas Day we all turned into pumpkins Scotland went back into tier 4: which meant that Max got to celebrate his 3rd birthday in lockdown, too. He’s spent almost a third of his short life in lockdown now, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still struggle with that knowledge sometimes: not because I think he’s unhappy, or knows any different, but because I can see how badly he needs to socialise with children his own age now, and how much he’d get out of being around people other than Terry and I all day, every day.

I think in the push to BE POSITIVE at all costs, it can be easy to forget that this is not a remotely normal situation we’re currently navigating our way through, and as much as I know that Max won’t remember or care that his 3rd birthday was spent in isolation, I ALSO know that he has aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who would have loved to have been able to spend more time with him this year, and who will never know the pure joy that was Max at two years old now.

But here he is at three, and, as you can see, while we may not have been able to have the same kind of party we’ve had for his last two birthdays, we did still manage to celebrate, and, thanks to his extremely generous family members, there was no shortage of presents, either:

Max's 3rd birthday

“This is very helpful of everyone!” Max kept exclaiming as he opened each gift. It was, he said, “the best birthday ever,” coming mere days after “the best Christmas ever,” and, well, who are we to argue with that?

Max's third birthday

I’m probably always going to wish that this year had been different, that next year will be better, and that we’d combed Max’s hair before taking these photos. But, then again, this was a year in which we celebrated all of our special events – all of our birthdays and holidays – under circumstances we couldn’t even have imagined this time last year: so I guess it’s probably OK to cut ourselves some slack here…

Max's 3rd birthday

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books by Amber Eve
  • Myra Boyle


    Merry Christmas and happy birthday to Max. I was looking forward to photos of your mum’s table and your miniature houses. I am very glad you were together to celebrate. We we lucky to be able to do that as well, so guess we are all thanking our lucky stars that we had this precious time together. All the best for 2021.

    December 30, 2020
  • Kelly Glen


    It looks like despite everything you managed to have a nice time at Christmas. Your mum certainly put on a very nice table for Christmas. And a very Happy birthday to Max.

    December 31, 2020
  • Nithya


    Merry Christmas and happy birthday to Max! I know it’s been a strange, sad year, but think of the stories you will be able to tell Max about it one day. I have a two year old niece, and I’ve been writing her letters documenting this time, knowing that one day she will read them and learn what 2020 was like for us, and of how hard we clung to hope and to each other. The New Year will be better, Amber. And one day all this will be just stories.

    December 31, 2020
  • Erin


    Happy birthday, Max!!! I remember when you were born <3

    These are tough times and the only thing I keep telling myself is to put one foot in front of the other and hopefully we'll eventually get to a better place. Thinking of you guys. I can't imagine how difficult this is to navigate with children.

    January 4, 2021
  • dublinerInDeutschland


    Aw Happy birthday Max!

    January 13, 2021