By: Louise North – Principal and Head of the Senior School
I made my Christmas cake over half term. I love doing this even though I am certainly not a contender for the Bake Off. I love mixing the ingredients, I love the smell when the cake is cooking slowly in the oven, I love the ritual of pouring brandy over it, wrapping it up and leaving it to mature.
So, you can imagine my horror when I read the headlines which screamed “Christmas is cancelled”. Due to COVID-19, there would be no Christmas this year, and the nation had to ready itself for the disappointment.
However, given that Christmas has happened every year for 1000s of years, through thick and thin, through war, environmental catastrophe, personal tragedy, disease and destruction, I decided that these headlines were, in the words of a certain American president, “fake news”.
So, Christmas is most definitely not cancelled, although I admit, it may not be quite the same for some of us, and I may be forced to eat more of my cake than normal.
I am especially grateful that we are here, together. We have been given the opportunity to live, learn, work and indeed laugh together for the next six and a half weeks, and we must relish that opportunity.
But why does it matter right now? Well, let me tell you why: November is a cold, dark, wet and wintry month. That’s why we absolutely need to know that Christmas is not cancelled. We need something to look forward to, something to excite us, something to plan for that is special. So as we embark on this second half of term, it matters that Christmas is waiting for us. It matters a lot.
Because I am acutely aware that Boris’ recent announcement creates huge waves of stress, strain and anxiety for many families and friends, for our neighbours in Framlingham and for the wider community, I am especially grateful that we are here, together. We have been given the opportunity to live, learn, work and indeed laugh together for the next six and a half weeks, and we must relish that opportunity. We must cherish being with each other, appreciate what it means because we understand now how important it is to have one another’s company. Don’t waste a minute of it. Be grateful that your school remains open.
We are restricted yes, but as so many other organisations have shown, we are adaptable and creative with it. So, the restrictions don’t mean that we are stopped in our tracks. We continue to learn, we continue to ask questions, we continue to read and research, we continue to create and design, we continue to practise and train, we continue to develop our skills and our knowledge and to develop as good human beings.
And then, in a few weeks’ time, when we reach the end of term, no matter what the situation, Christmas will still be there. I said at the beginning that it may be different to previous Christmases, but equally, I suspect it will probably be more, not less meaningful as we think creatively about how we can share the spirit of Christmas with those we love.
Let’s enjoy this half term. Give it your best, look after one another and if you feel downhearted, look around you and be grateful.