No Scrooge Here: Johnson Opposes ‘Canceling’ Christmas to Fight Coronavirus

For Mr. Johnson, a leader craving approval, the paradox is that the public seems to be facing a tougher approach. According to a recent poll by Ipsos MORI, nearly half of people said they felt the Christmas rules were not strict enough. About two in five said they were right and only 10 percent said they were overweight.

Those results may seem surprising given Britain’s deep attachment to Christmas. The festivities stretch over two days, with December 26 also a national holiday known as Boxing Day. Some date the extravagant celebration of Christmas to the Victorian era, when it began symbolize some of the country’s common values.

“It has been seen as a symbol of the British love for home and family, their respect for tradition and the past, and a shared way of life in a society divided by class and politics,” said Martin Johnes, professor of history at the University. from Swansea.

“During World War II,” he said, “some suggested that it was important to celebrate Christmas because it summed up everything that people were fighting for.”

Giles Fraser, the rector of St. Mary’s Church in Newington, South London, agreed that Christmas “plays a central role in the cultural psyche” – so much so that he said he was unsure whether the politicians made decisions fully realized how central it was. was for people’s morale.

Mr Fraser, who works in economically disadvantaged parts of London, said the need for celebration was particularly acute this year following the death, illness and job cuts from the pandemic. His own parish was recently hit when the church hall collapsed after a suspected arson attack.

For Mr. Fraser, the pandemic meant planning compromises such as moving Christmas carols outside of the church. But canceling Christmas would “be an existential blow to people’s well-being in a way that may not be understood elsewhere,” he said. “That’s why politicians are so reluctant to tackle it.”