Having never watched the BBC TV Series ‘Snog Marry Avoid?” I know very little about it, except that it is about whether someone is more, or less, attractive after a make-over.
Nicking the concept for Covid-19 variants, I wonder whether someone standing under mistletoe this December will be more, or less, attractive now that we have the Omicron variant.
Less attractive is, logically, the answer, and now we have a relatively sensible government minister (a puzzling paradox!) who is advising people not to kiss under mistletoe. Thérèse Coffey has said,:
“For what it’s worth, I don’t think there should be much snogging under the mistletoe.”
So is Thérèse a Health Minister? No, she’s the Work and Pensions Secretary. The Health Minister Sajid Javid has said people shouldn’t change plans for gatherings but should consider a lateral flow test before attending. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (an even more puzzling paradox!) has dismissed scientific advice and told people to carry partying. So that’s clear then, Sajid and Boris say party on, despite advice to the contrary, Thérèse suggests (on the Peston ITV programme, 1st Dec, about 45 minutes if with ads) active avoidance of risks.
This may be good for people’s health, but it’s not good for the mistletoe custom or the mistletoe trade.
This issue was, of course, similar last year when we emerged from lockdown at the start of December only to find ourselves in three, later four, levels of restrictions, with Christmas gatherings eventually severely restricted.
There was relatively little kissing under mistletoe then – and perhaps there’ll be even less this time round. Apart from those within your immediate household – but only doing that ruins the concept for many!
Interestingly the impact on demand last year was never actually assessed. It would be difficult to do, but I will see what I can find out…
In the meantime here’s a link (to Sky’s facebook page) to my interview on Sky News, 12 months ago, discussing exactly this issue (though then the Tenbury Mistletoe Auctions had been cancelled, this year they’ve gone ahead). There are some good bits about mistletoe air-kissing and mistletoe elbow-bumping. [Probably best to ignore most of the comments though!]