Covid-19 and Christmas: it's not a duo we imagined we'd be discussing this time last year.
Festivities this year will be undoubtably different, given the fact the global pandemic has taken precedence on what we can and can’t do, particularly with social gatherings at home. With 10pm curfews and limitations to only 6 people at one social gathering and a ban on mixing households has us all asking - will we be able to do the annual traditions we have every year?
Christmas Markets are unlikely to go ahead
One of the big questions has been, will Christmas Markets be on in 2020 (opens in new tab)?This year saw the cancellation of big events like music festivals and Notting Hill Carnival. Sadly, this includes Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, which usually opens every November.
Current limitations to social gatherings, as well as the 10pm curfew implemented as of Thursday 24thSeptember, might mean that we cannot celebrate the Christmas festivities and traditions that take place every year. However, the PM Boris Johnson has claimed that in the current climate it is “too early” to say whether large gatherings will be permitted in December.
Family gatherings and the 'rule of six'
With an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and the infection rate currently high, family gatherings during the winter months may pose a risk. As we get into the colder months, we’re more prone to catching the flu, common cold and fevers.
For older relatives and vulnerable individuals, family gatherings during Christmas may pose as a risk particularly for those needing to commute far to see loved ones. If exposed to someone infected, the chances of recovery are uncertain for vulnerable people, it may be too much of a risk to see loved ones given the current circumstances. If social distancing measures continue throughout December, we may need to resort to other means of communicating with loved ones, whether that is through virtual calls (opens in new tab) or sending letterbox gifts (opens in new tab) and cards via post.
For many of us it will feel slightly lonely this year as we abide by social distancing measures, and there's been particular concern raised for the wellbeing of older generations (opens in new tab) during Covid-19. Making time to check in on elderly relatives and neighbours could make all the difference this year.
Can we escape on a winter getaway?
Some of us who tend to have a little Christmas market getaway will also be left disappointed this year. Other parts of Europe have experienced outbreaks and there are fears a second wave will take over the continent, the UK additionally has been removed from the safe travel list which means that travel circumstances will slowly go back to essential travel only.
Those who fly out to long haul destinations might also be affected with winter holidays this year. Countries within Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean have been a lot more vigilant with who is granted entrance to their borders. As Europe still holds some of the highest numbers of cases, it is too much of a risk to take with booking holidays and getaways in this current climate.
Christmas shopping from the sofa
This is perhaps the best time for every shopaholic looking for super deals on homeware, electronics, beauty and clothing - and at least our Christmas shopping is something we can do from the sofa. Black Friday 2020 (opens in new tab) is set to take place on Friday 27th November. The best bet is to check out online sites as opposed to in-store goods as queues and quotas will be taking place at high street stores and shopping centres. Since the start of lockdown, Scurri has reported that there has been a 74% growth in online purchases within the UK, with many of us opting for online shopping rather than braving the high street.
Online retailers know that this year will see a large number of people making purchases online, Modern Retail has highlighted that this year online sites will be busier than normal and that there will need to be secured in place to control traffic and protect customer data. The best advice for this year is to try and do online shopping early, some retailers might start black Friday deals a few hours before 27th November so keep your eyes peeled. Deals will continue throughout the Black Friday weekend as well as Cyber Monday 2020 (opens in new tab) - that takes palace on 30th November.
A time for reflection
Although nothing has been entirely confirmed with Christmas, it is fair to say this year may see a difference in how we approach the festive period. Not being able to see loved ones face to face will make us a lot more grateful for things like technology and apps that allow us to have virtual communication. It will make us appreciate the physical touch and warmth our friends and family bring during the festivities as well as all year round.
The Christmas period will allow us to reflect on how far we have come this year, in the midst of the pandemic. Many of us have reflected on life, we have managed to take a break mentally from our hectic lives and we have been able to reconnect with our loved ones during this period of uncertainty. Although this Christmas might not be the same as the others we’ve had, it provides us with a time to reflect and be grateful for what we have now.
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