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2020 has been dreadful – let’s look to the future

Here’s something that barely needs saying: 2020 has been dreadful.

Event professionals are among the most optimistic, glass half-full people you could ever wish to meet, and most of us are struggling to find something – anything! – positive to take from this dog of a year.

I don’t need to spell out why, either. So all-encompassing, all-consuming has the C-word been in 2020 that we barely need to mention it anymore. Covid-19 has affected everyone, in all areas of life.

And it continues to do so. As we head towards Christmas, we are gripped with more uncertainty than ever. The introduction of tier 4 has left millions of peoples’ festive plans in disarray, as well as leading to travel bans, supply chain disruption, panic buying and utter confusion.

As event professionals, we still don’t know when events are coming back, what those events will look like, who will be able to attend them, where they will be able to be held… it’s headspinning stuff.

Then of course we have Brexit to throw into the mix as well. If you have the headspace for Brexit right now, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am.

Speaking of headspace, out of all the pieces I’ve written this year, a quote from Leigh Cowlishaw, managing partner at Black Box Partnerships and vice chair of EventWell, stands out.

“People’s mental health is absolutely battered right now,” she told me. “There are no winners. If you’ve lost your job or if you’ve worked every day, whoever you are and whatever your situation, your mental health will have been affected.”

I think that’s so true. So that’s why in this Christmas period I’ll be giving my head a rest for 10 wonderful days. No worrying about what 2021 might bring, just concentrating on making it through the – literally – darkest days of this terrible year in as healthy and happy a state as can be.

And while we’ve all been battered, bruised, tarred and feathered by the last 12 months, it’s important to remember that the vaccines are being rolled out, they do work and they will make it possible for in-person events to return in some form in just a few short months. The world has been through plagues and pandemics before and they always – always – come to an end. This too shall pass.

But for now, as Noddy Holder observes in Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, “It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaaaas!”. It’s going to be different this year, but hey, everything’s been different this year. Whatever your plans are, stay safe, enjoy yourselves – and we’ll see you in the New Year. Whatever happens in 2021, it’s got to be better than 2020. Right?