Let’s raise a glass this Christmas

It looks like Christmas is not going to be the same at all, and pretty miserable for many who are usually with family and friends but this year cannot be.  There are many in that position that often get invited to someone else’s house for the day, go along to a community meal, as well of course, those that are just on their own.

So I thought of how we could encourage some cheer into an otherwise lonely day.

Why not “raise a glass”, at say midday on Christmas Day.

My ideas is that people go outside, just like they did when it was “clap for the NHS” and raise a glass of whatever to each other.  It can be non-alcoholic, of course, to ensure that all are included, and I am not sure what term to use, but “all who look after us”.  This is more than NHS workers at every level, but carers, emergency services, police, delivery drivers, shop workers, public transport, food bank workers, postal services, etc.

For those who are not able to go outside, even for the minute, maybe the braver souls could walk along and go outside their window and raise a glass to them.  If it was going to be at a fixed time, then the person inside would know to be there ready.

Most people will be out of bed by midday, not yet serving up and eating dinner, and morning present openers would have finished doing that.

If this were to take off it wouldn’t be a party initiative, it needs to be a community based one, but it ticks lots of Lib Dem principles of caring, involving all, community, and recognising the contribution made by so many in our society.  To say nothing of Lib Dems being able to celebrate and enjoy themselves even in dark and miserable times!

So what do we think?  Floating the idea here first.


* Suzanne Fletcher was a councillor for nearly 30 years and a voluntary advice worker with the CAB for 40 years. Now retired, she is active as a campaigner in the community both as a Lib Dem and with local organisations and author of "Bold as Brass?", the story of Brass Crosby.

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  • Adrian Mark Sanders 25th Oct '20 - 2:10pm

    Down here on the English Riviera we will already be outside on Christmas day having our annual Turkey bar b que and all the trimmings. However, I am concerned about people from up north beyond Exeter who may not wish to raise a glass of bubbly during the normal downpours of rain or snow storms we read about down here. Otherwise, what a great idea.

  • Creepy!

  • Katharine Pindar 25th Oct '20 - 3:20pm

    Suzanne, lovely idea, but for many of us in our supposedly Christian country, Sunday mornings and the special happy mornings of Christmas and Easter Day are a time for church services, so I hope you will make your glass-raising a bit after twelve. I am lucky in that my church is holding weekly Sunday morning services again, with the congregation sitting in masks and social distancing and not allowed to sing openly, which we in the choir can do, from chairs spaced out in the chancel. Those who can’t make a service in person can often attend Zoom or YouTube services, and there are bound to be many on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.

    I will admit I don’t go to church quite as regularly as before, this season, but I shall still be looking forward to singing carols at a service and rejoicing at the thought of the birth of the baby Jesus, this Christmas Day as ever. There is comfort for the lonely and the sad in our faith, which I must hope many of the bereaved are finding.

  • suzanne fletcher 25th Oct '20 - 4:32pm

    @Katharine Pindar – I thought of 12 as people would be home from Church then, from those that are open. It isn’t likely ours will be, and we have our service on zoom/fb/utube at 10, chat afterwards, and still over by 11.
    In the olden days when we actually went to Church we would get home at about 11.45 after coffee, putting things away etc. but I don’t think things are allowed to be out now, to put away, and socialising afterwards not allowed.
    Christmas Day service itself was always a bit shorter as people want to get home to cook dinners and play wiht presents.
    but I am wide open to ideas on what others do.

  • Ian G L Jones 25th Oct '20 - 5:28pm

    Very supportive of this idea, especially the motivation behind it.

    Perhaps we could also consider doing something practical before Christmas as well. Finding out what local organisations we have that support: homeless, distribute toys etc to children and young people, making a donation to an organisation that directly helps, being more directly active politically in our local area campaigning on these matters eg in our Focuses, letters to local papers, speaking with our own members and letting them know what the Liberal Democrats are actually doing.
    # Donation of food stuffs to our local food bank, especially if we don’t generally do that
    # Gifts for children through Salvation Army perhaps?
    # Identifying those in need where we live and delivering Christmas card, some food and gifts – always copying paid deliverers – ‘ leave on doorstep, ring bell, step away.

    Example: We have a lady on my road who, since the beginning of this crisis, has baked small buns ,or similar, and once a month delivers them to 50 houses making sure there is 1 for each person.

    Make this Christmas practical: Do something.

  • John Marriott 25th Oct '20 - 6:30pm

    Over the past few years Christmas Day has usually consisted for my wife and I of getting up early, having a light breakfast, phoning our son and family in Manchester, then going round to our other son’s in laws for a Christmas dinner with four other adults andvtwo young children and then going home early. What a miserable pair we must seem to be to many people.

    Well, this year, because of the ‘rule of six’ we have decided to spend Christmas Day on our own. There might be a bit of Face Time and even Zoom, but at least I can enjoy a bit of roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding instead of having to work my way through a chunk of cardboard masquerading under the title of ‘turkey and all the trimmings’ (sorry, Glenn).

    I probably sound a miserable old killjoy, but, so what? I have always felt that Christmas has always been massively overrated! A bit like Sir Robin Day’s famous description of Defence Secretary, John Nott, during the Falklands’ War, “Here today and gone tomorrow”!

  • suzanne fletcher 25th Oct '20 - 6:41pm

    @John Marriott, I don’t call that being miserable at all. It is doing what you are happy with, and you have been spending time with your family. We really must not put ridiculous barriers up around what someone deems to be how one ought to celebrate ( including if the whole country adopted “raise a glass” scowling at anyone that didn’t want to, or just wasn’t for then).
    “None should be enslaved by conformity”.

  • We normally spend Christmas with one son (and family) or the other, and sometimes all together, which we love. We have already accepted that it will just be the two of us this year – punctuated by Zoom calls, Facetime etc – and are actually looking forward to a cosy time at home. Never regret what you can’t change, but look for the blessings.
    Lovely idea, Suzanne. Keep plugging it so we all remember to do it.

  • One of the most uplifting stories from the early days of the pandemic – the Italian lockdown – was the spontaneous communal singing, typically from balconies across narrow streets. So if something similar can happen at Christmas – socially-distanced carol singing- that may help relieve the winter gloom.

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