AT Glasgow Fort last weekend it was like any normal Saturday. Apart from the queuing, of course, and the masks.

But there was hustle a plenty and bustle galore. Rumours of an impending bump up the coronavirus levels had clearly been a spur for many to head to the shops and grab what they could before the new lockdown came into force.

If, and it's a big if, the move to put 2.3 million people into enhanced measures is, as we have been told, strictly time limited, then it takes us up to December 11. By this point, many of us would usually have our Christmas shopping well underway and been exposed to the seasonal refrain about Christmas becoming ever more commercialised.

Which it has, of course. It becomes more oozing with excess year on year. As people wax nostalgic about the true meaning of the season, they also buy into nonsense like Elf on the Shelf and Christmas Eve boxes and £300 Advent calendars. What would Jesus say?

Well, fewer and fewer people care about the original purpose of the big day - it's far less about Christian tradition and far more about the heathen delights of feasting, gifting and gathering.

When the pandemic began to take a serious grip in March, many people thought the virus would be vanquished - or at least at manageable levels - by Christmas.

It has been a tough, tough year with even those who are relatively unaffected by the virus - still working, still able to see friends and family, albeit with limits, still healthy - suffering from low lying anxiety and stress.

Others have sacrificed seeing their partners during lockdown in an enforced bout of celibacy, or have missed family members. Worse they have missed the passing of loved ones and the chance to say goodbye at funerals. They have not been hugged or held; they have not had meaningful rest. I don't need to rhyme off the list - we all know it by heart now.

For many, Christmas has been the bright spot to look forward to, the future salve on current hurts. Now, though, transmission rates are on the rise and 11 Scottish local authorities are in the highest level of restrictions.

This leaves our political leaders with an unenviable dilemma. They know the public mood favours Christmas but they know they risk a jolly few days of relaxation in December offset by the potential for an increase in cases and resultant spike in deaths in January.

Those who are pushing for an ease in restrictions for the festive period are pushing for the potential of even stricter measures in the New Year to make up for it: scientific advice suggests for every day that measures are relaxed, five days of tighter restrictions would be needed.

Is it worth it? Particularly having heard yesterday that a vaccine could be being distributed in Scotland as early as January.

While we must acknowledge that Christmas is an important religious festival for many believers, that doesn't hold up as a reason to relax restrictions. They were not relaxed at Eid and they were not relaxed at Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

Last month when the Bishop of Paisley suggested a Christmas Day ceasefire, the response was scathing. The virus, said the commentators, including this one, is not a sentient enemy and does not stop for festive respite.

The public mood says otherwise. An Ipsos Mori poll for the BBC found that, while 67% of Scots back the government in setting strict coronavirus rules, some 56% of respondents would like to see measures relaxed around Christmas Day.

This is, understandably, something Nicola Sturgeon has said she also wants and it's easy to see where the First Minister is coming from.

No politician, not even blundering Boris Johnson, wants to play Scrooge at this time of year after the time we've had. The First Minister has not shied away from frank discussion of difficult subjects and the government has put in place restrictions it ordinarily would balk at. Yet still - you can't touch Christmas.

But why not? Times are hard and people would like a treat. That treat will come at grave cost so why not postpone it. Once we have the vaccine, perhaps we could have a delayed Christmas. Some additional public holiday, perhaps, where we can relax and meet and feast.

The narrative around this topic needs to change. The talking shops of radio and TV debate have been framing the issue as "Should Christmas be cancelled?"

Christmas is not and will not be cancelled, it will be different. We can rule out mass consumption as the spirit of Christmas. A desire to give and receive gifts is not a strong enough incentive. So we are left with loved ones - Christmas is about spending time with the people you care for.

It isn't caring to risk infecting loved ones with a deadly virus, not when a vaccine is just in sight.

Some will feel that they cannot cope without the trappings of a traditional Christmas and we must feel for them. But for those of us who feel we can cope a little bit longer, who can power through until a vaccine, might we stick with the regulations as much as possible even if they are officially eased?

We might not be able to see family in a oner but could we look on Christmas as a smaller but more extended holiday - seeing one other household at a time, over several days or weeks? Personally, I like to stretch my birthday out for the full month (June, you have plenty of time, don't worry) and would be quite happy to do so for Christmas.

This current increase in lockdown measures has been framed temptingly - adhere to the rules now and you can have a lovely Christmas. More sensible would be asking us to adhere to the rules this Christmas so that we can have Christmas next year.

The discussion must be about how we make the best of Christmas, not whether we go all out or cancel it entirely. We are adults faced with hard choices, not children waiting for a gift from Santa.

Some perspective and patience is easily in our gift, not a Christmas miracle.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.