It's safe to say that Christmas is going to look different this year. With COVID-19 affecting all aspects of our lives, from limiting how many family members we can see to impacting how much we can afford to spend, it's a given that we'll all have to adapt to a 'new normal' this Christmas.
But, there's no reason why the festive season can't still be joyful! The good news is that our Good Housekeeping festive survey - informed by nearly 3,000 of our readers - revealed that people are already planning their Christmases and looking forward to the festive season ahead.
If you're wondering what Christmas will be like this year, look no further than our survey results...
Proving Christmas isn’t cancelled, over half of our Good Housekeeping readers have already started planning for Christmas this year, and amongst the under 45s this increases to almost two in three. Overall, two in five have started stocking up on presents and groceries already and one in five claim they will start preparing earlier than usual.
Unsurprisingly, 48% of respondents expect to invite fewer people than usual to Christmas dinner this year, while one in five say they are more likely to check in with neighbours who may be on their own this year, compared to previous years. The survey also revealed that 90% of readers claim their plans for this Christmas have been affected by COVID-19.
One of the most interesting things that we discovered is that over a third of respondents said Christmas is 'more important' to them this year. "Perhaps having been restricted from seeing loved ones over the course of this year, Christmas now seems more significant than ever," reflects Gaby Huddart, Editor in Chief at Good Housekeeping.
When specifically asked about how much they plan to spend on gifts, over a quarter think they will spend less than in previous years. The majority think they will spend the same amount, but very few think they will spend more.
With coronavirus impacting all families differently when it comes to finances, two-thirds of respondents think they will be buying the same number of presents as in previous years. However, almost one-third think they will be buying less. "It's no surprise that consumers are pacing themselves when it comes to spending this Christmas," says Caroline Bloor, Consumer Affairs Director at Good Housekeeping. "While there are some who have more money in the bank this year, there are many on reduced incomes because of the impact of COVID-19; and from an economic point of view, it's hard to know what's round the corner."
As coronavirus impacted people's spending, it also had an effect on how much disposable income people could afford to give to charity. During the national lockdown period earlier this year, the Charities Aid Foundation reported that half of all charities in the UK said that they could only continue to operate for up to 12 months during the pandemic.
But, the tables appear to be turning, with over eight in 10 of our readers who were surveyed saying that they plan to donate the same amount or more to charities compared to previous years. Given the hard work of all our charities throughout the pandemic, it's hard not to feel inspired.
A year like no other
Around one in 10 are not worried about anything this Christmas, but this is the minority.
65% of all age groups have a general worry for loved one’s health this winter. Similar numbers are also worried about not being able to mix with other households or see friends or family.
The under 45s are more concerned about things than the over 45s. 27% (compared to 11%) are worried about money as they have been affected by the economic downturn, while 26% (compared to 14%) are worried they won't be able to get enough groceries.
Missing Christmas dinner with the whole family is overwhelmingly the main thing the majority will miss with 69% feeling this way, but as we all look to celebrate Christmas as best we can this year across all age groups, two in five expect it’s very likely they’ll be having a Zoom call or similar on Christmas Day this year.
“It’s clear that Christmas will be different this year, but across the UK families are determined to still celebrate this special day," says Gaby Huddart. "Whatever Christmas 2020 is going to look like, we want to make sure we’re helping our readers to get the most out of Christmas this year, whether that’s through sharing the easiest and tastiest recipes, brilliant ideas for handmade gifts, fun and creative ways to decorate at home or the most up to date health advice.”
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