England

Coronavirus: Christmas arrives early to lighten the mood

Paul Grant's home Image copyright Paul Burbidge-Grant
Image caption Paul Burbidge-Grant hopes his decorations will put a smile on people's faces

Christmas decorations have been appearing across the country, as people stuck at home try to bring some much-needed joy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Homes and gardens have been decked with twinkling lights, and Christmas trees have even been making a reappearance, less then three months since the end of the festive season.

Meet some of the people who are bringing a little light into the world during this time of anxiety and illness.

'Why not have some fun?'

Image copyright Emma Dickinson
Image caption Christmas has arrived nine months early in the home of Emma Dickinson and her family

Emma Dickinson and her family, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, chose to dust off the Christmas decorations a few months earlier than tradition dictates after going into self-isolation.

The 36-year-old said the decision was inspired by her determination to stay positive.

"The children look to us for how we respond to things like this," she said.

"We don't have much control about what is going on outside of the house but we can control what is going on inside our house, so why not have some fun?"

'Making people smile'

Image copyright Gail Challoner
Image caption Gail Challoner says she's had a lot of positive responses

Gail Challoner, from Tiverton, Devon, decided to put up her Christmas tree "because of what's been going on in the world".

"I just thought it would be quite nice for people to have a little smile on their faces," she said. "I've had a lot of positive responses."

'Light it up'

Image copyright Paul Burbidge-Grant
Image caption People have been sharing photos of their houses decked with lights and decorations

Paul Burbidge-Grant, from Coventry, said he has received a great response to his Christmas lights display (pictured at the top of this story).

The 38-year-old, who decorates the house each Christmas to raise money for charity, said: "We looked out of the window the other day and saw how dark and gloomy the world was, so we wanted to light it up."

'Joyous spirit'

Image copyright Melanie Cooper
Image caption Paula Daley decided to switch the Christmas lights on to help brighten up the village

Mum-of-three Paula Daley, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, admitted she had been too "busy and lazy" to take down her Christmas lights in January.

"My children have been worrying about what's going to happen and we are trying to stay positive and I just saw the lights... and thought, 'why don't we put the lights on?'

"A couple of neighbours saw them and have started doing something similar," she said. "It's just about bringing a joyous spirit and keeping positive when things are difficult and hoping the storm will pass."

'Sense of community'

Image copyright Elisabeth Forsythe
Image caption Elisabeth Forsythe said she wanted to cheer people up

Social worker Elisabeth Forsythe, from Aigburth, Merseyside, said she wanted to help bring the community together.

"With the current climate, everyone is feeling down, stressed and anxious and I thought, 'what can I do to help cheer everyone up?

"There are a lot of elderly people in my community who are self-isolating and they might not have mobiles or the technology to connect with people," the 33-year-old said.

"In the evenings they can open the curtains and see the light and that sense of community."

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