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"It's very isolating and lonely." We asked 11 Sydney residents how they're feeling right now.

For millions of people in Australia, Christmas was meant to be the light at the end of the tunnel of a long, difficult and dark year – the antidote to the isolation of the pandemic; a joyous reunion for far-flung family members who have been cut off by state borders.

But for residents of the Northern Beaches and Sydney, the recent coronavirus outbreak has upended their celebrations. Whilst the exact restrictions for Christmas Day are yet to be announced, Greater Sydney residents have all been banned from visiting other Australian states and local transmission of the virus in Sydney means Christmas plans will not continue as normal.

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So, in light of these developments, we asked 11 women from Sydney how they are feeling.

This is what they said. 

Katie, 41.

I was a big mess on Friday. We’re still going to Newcastle (we live in Northern NSW), but we are no longer meeting with family in Penrith as planned, and our family who live in South Australia can’t visit. It’s not so much the fact that we’ve had to change our plans, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to break bad news to my kids this year. They were so looking forward to seeing their cousins, whom they haven’t seen for nearly two years. I tried to tell my kids but started crying, so my partner had to finish that conversation.

Cathy, 49.

I am feeling really shit about it all. I was secretly looking forward to Christmas but now with the 10 person limit there is simply no way we can make it happen. We also have family members who need to stay out of Sydney so they can travel home. Add to that my mother-in-law is in an aged care facility, so we can't see her. So she will sit there alone. It is just sh*t that a few people who breached quarantine from international travel have ruined everything for the rest of us.

Chelsea, 28.

My only family in Australia is my brother on the Northern Beaches and my other family members are in New Zealand. For me, the worst part is having everything be 'up in the air'. It makes managing my own expectations really hard - I'd rather know now if there's no chance of seeing my brother for Christmas so I can be upset over it now, get it out of my system and make alternative plans. 

I'm also mourning the fact that this outbreak has probably pushed back the New Zealand bubble even more. I'm a three-hour flight from my parents and a 40 minute drive from my brother, but it feels like I may as well be in Antarctica. It's very isolating and lonely.

Leigh, 38.

If we are only allowed 10 people to visit a household, my family won't be able to attend. We lost my dad to brain cancer during COVID-19 and our family couldn't attend the funeral as only 10 people were allowed. We've all been holding onto Christmas as the get-together we so desperately need to honour dad. On the flip side, I have a beautiful toddler who doesn't quite get Christmas yet but loves ripping open gifts and brings so much happiness. Trying to focus on the good, which is a cheeky little person.

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Polly, 35.

My brother is my only family member in Australia and he is currently in lockdown on the Northern Beaches. I feel like for most of this year I have been trying to get my head around the notion that I literally have no idea when I will see my parents (based in the UK) again. To now be told that I potentially can't see my brother on Christmas Day, despite the fact that he is literally just over the bridge, is really difficult to accept.

Tash, 38.

There’s a lot to be said about human connection, and Christmas for our family was the finish line. It was going to be a reunion of all those who we love the most, who we haven’t seen all year. We relocated to Sydney earlier in the year, and little did we know that we would not be able to see our family for the rest of it. Life in a new city is tough when you don’t know anyone, especially during a year when the usual opportunities to meet new people are taken away. We have been isolated. I was just looking forward to a hug from my sister, dinner with my in-laws, seeing my kids together with their cousins and coffee with a friend. The simple things.

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. On this episode, they revisit everything that happened in 2020. Post continues below. 

Tamara, 31.

I feel resigned to what it will be, but am especially sad and worried for my mum. She separated from dad this year and if she can't get to see us - as she lives in a hotspot - she'll be spending the holidays alone. She has been very lonely and was looking forward to this time together.

Chloe, 28. 

I’m doing okay. If the restrictions continue through to Christmas it will upend my husband’s family plans but not mine. I have my baby’s first Christmas this year so I’m not upset if it means we just chill out at home this year.

Carla, 32.

I came very close to catching the train with an active case and that hit close to home. If I am alone on Christmas, I just couldn’t handle it. Not after this year. I live alone and I lost my job (although got a new one). This year has been hard and I want Christmas at least. I am fairly pissed off at careless individuals not remaining vigilant and the cracks in our self isolation measures for flight crew. 

Julie, 44. 

We normally go to my in laws who prepare the most beautiful feast. I’m just annoyed I now have to cook on Christmas day. I hate cooking. First world problems, I know.

Rachel, 50.

I’m a Northern Beaches resident and I feel fine - I was a bit flat on the first day realising all the Christmas plans were out the window but hey, we’ve done it before and we know what we have to do, and that it works. I’m actually just feeling really lucky I’m not in the US or UK at the moment. A few days at home can be nice.

Feature image: Getty.


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