When the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire said she was planning to defy coronavirus diktats to celebrate Christmas with her family, the backlash in the media was loud and she swiftly apologised. No doubt her employers had made it clear that her job was on the line, after all her message didn't comply with the BBC's narrative of fear and panic. However, in the community at large she merely addressed something that most people were going to do anyway. Panic and fear may still be rife among some households, but the overpowering and completely natural desire to mix with family and friends will be difficult to resist even for the most ardent lockdown enthusiast.
The last eight months have been lonely and depressing for many in our society, a fact lost on Covid zealots who have in most cases experienced neither sensation. Christmas, even if it provides just a fleeting visit, will be of incalculable valuable to the most vulnerable. Yes, the virus doesn't know it's Christmas and it will undoubtedly spread across some households. This is inevitable given that most infected people are not sick and don't know they have it, but for those who live in constant fear what is stopping them from getting tested ahead of their family gatherings?
The government knows that Christmas is a red line for many Brits. It's no coincidence that for the first time since March there will be unanimity across the UK - not even Drakeford or Sturgeon were prepared to be the odd ones out on this issue.
The rights of government to interfere in family life and what goes on behind closed doors has sadly been normalised this year to the extent that Boris Johnson announced the relaxation of restrictions as a 'special dispensation'. The reality is that many will have already made plans regardless of what 'allowances' are made by politicians.