What 2020 Has Taught us About Christmas

Have we finally uncovered the “true meaning” of Christmas?

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We have lost count of the amount of times we’ve heard things like: “this has been a year like no other,” and other such phrases. It’s true, this has been a year like no other. But then, isn’t every year different from the last? Of course, some people have experienced a significant amount of loss this year, so please don’t think that we are trying to make light of a truly devastating time. But we were wondering if this shared experience of 2020 has been able to shed some light on the true meaning of the festive season.

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There are a lot of questions that have a lot of different answers depending on who you ask. If you have had a particularly difficult year, perhaps one marred by sadness, then your 2020 would probably have few positive points. There are some of us who are relatively untouched by the events of the year, who have only really suffered loss of liberty and spontaneity. Whilst these things have undeniably taken their toll on people, not least their mental health and wellbeing, it has also allowed people to open up more and talk about their problems, as well as given some very good people the chance to either continue supporting those in hardship or who are unwell, but also for people to open up new avenues of support, to build new charities and to create new ways to help others. There have been people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their jobs, and those who have done all they can to ease terrified children back into their school routines, and hold their hands as they continue to learn and educate themselves.

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Whatever 2020 has meant to you, it has most certainly touched everyone, and the events of this year will live on past this generation’s memory. This Christmas, for example, will look different for everyone. You may not celebrate Christmas, but you will certainly be aware of it around you. Nearly all of us will have a little time off and will hopefully be able to spend a little time, safely, with their loved ones. Whilst there are still some restrictions to be taken into account, there will be some people who can finally see their mum and dad, or other loved ones, in a safe manner. But that in itself seems odd to say, that we should be so worried about what we could do to our family in these unprecedented times. One thing is absolutely for sure though, whatever we do with this time off and/or together this Christmas, it will be a celebration of togetherness like no other. Even if you are eating a family lunch over video call, or through a window. Perhaps you are lucky enough to be able to see family safely for a few days, or visit a loved one in a care home. Even if we have not all been like Scrooge in the past, this year has shown us the ghosts of past, present and of future, and we have all been shown what matters most to us as humans. To see our loved ones, to play with our grandchildren, to be able to pop in and see mum in the care home.

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We all have lists of the first thing we are going to be able to do once we are able to live more “normally” again, and up there with “have a normal meal out,” “go to a live gig,” or “go on holiday,” is “see our family and friends”. The things that have been cancelled this year, weddings, holidays, meals out, live music, are the things that bring us together, shared experiences that give us memories, anecdotes, funny stories. The things we can rely on to cheer us up in hard times, and that bring us together as humans, as social beings. This goes for Christmas too, the idea of being brought together and experiencing something joyful; even if you don’t celebrate Christmas itself the message is universal. So, in this strange year, when we can’t be close to those we love, we have all found ways of adapting and changing our lives to continue our relationships with those we love. Many of us have had to triumph over adversity, and have had to change our interactions with loved ones to keep them safe. It feels wrong, as humans, to not be with one another physically, but we know it is likely to be the best thing for everyone. But the true spirit of Christmas, or the Solstice, Hanukkah, or just the festive season, whatever you celebrate at this time of year, is about love and friendship, and being kind to one another. Surely if Scrooge learned anything, it was that family and friends are the most important thing, as well as giving and being kind. However you choose to spend your festive season, try to go forwards with kindness in your heart and head, and with consideration for others who may be a little more anxious than you. Try to keep the magic of this time of year alive for children, or spoil yourself with a hot bubbly bath and a good book. Maybe you are able to donate to charity or a local foodbank, or perhaps you are able to safely visit your family and friends. Whatever you do, keep safe, stay happy and try not to put too much pressure on yourself! This year is the year for embracing the true spirit of Christmas: love!

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A few of my previous clients

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  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath