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Christmas 2020: We’ve trained for this!

2020 has been bleak, but that doesn’t mean that we’re about to have a miserable Christmas. Our What’s Going On? research indicates that having spent most of 2020 at home, we are ready and able to make the most of Christmas no matter what Covid throws at us.  

At this time of year it’s inevitable that thoughts start turning towards Christmas. The difference is, as with so much of 2020, no one knows quite what the future has in store.

It’s clear the government wants Christmas Day to be as normal as it can be. While nothing is certain, and events dicate frequent changes in direction, there’s already widespread speculation that the ‘rule of six’ will be suspended, at least for Christmas Day.

After a year that has seen the fall of the cultural totems (no Glastonbury, Wimbledon, Eurovision, The Olympics, Euro 2020, The Edinburgh Festival) cancellations of weddings, leavers proms, freshers week and birthday parties over Zoom, Christmas is an event we can rely on actually happening…and we’ve been looking forward to it all year.

Way back at the start of lockdown in April Pinterest reported that Christmas related searches were up. Even back then we saw Christmas as the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Cannot wait for Christmas this year! Just the thought of some normality!”

WGO? Community, April 2020

Throughout our What’s Going On? research we’ve seen our households grow in self-sufficiency, self-confidence and resilience. A slightly unfamiliar and restricted Christmas is less of a challenge when you’ve just spent 9 months working, living, teaching, entertaining and surviving at home.

This Christmas is when these new skills will start to bear fruit.

The banana bread craze has become a bit of a meme, but people have genuinely spent more time trying out new recipies, learning new styles of cooking and improving their kitchen skills. This year it’s going to be homemade rather than shop bought, with Waitrose already reporting a 400% increase in sales of mincemeat as the home baking trend continues to flourish.

If you thought Christmas dinner was good last year, imagine how good it’s going to be after we’ve all spent 9 months on at-home DIY cookery training!

The midafternoon, had one-drink-too-many, Christmas Day lull is nothing on the boredom we experienced during lockdown. We’ve worked out different ways pass the time, coming up with new games, picking up old hobbies, immersing ourselves in gaming, entertaining ourselves to distract from the torrent of bad news. Instead of uncles passed out in front of the Queen’s Speech, this year expect lots of DIY entertainment and games, both on and off Zoom.

And if games don’t work, we’ve always got booze, new booze, better booze, different booze.

“I think vodka has got a lot of parents through the lockdown”

WGO? Community, April 2020

When we couldn’t go to the pub, or thought a night out was a bit risky, we bought the pub to us. We upgraded our beers, bringing new craft varieties into the home or getting takeaway pints from the local. We experimented with new spirits and cocktails. After a year of sampling lots of different alcohol, expect the boat to be pushed out…especially as there’ll be less scope for alcohol fueled extended family fueds!

You could say we’ve spent the whole year training for this…and at least on Christmas Day we’re allowed to crack open the prosecco before lunch!

Cautious but maximising what we’ve got.

One of the big findings from our WGO? research is that it’s never been cooler to be cautious. We’ve turned into a nation of risk assessors, constantly monitoring what feels right for us and our families and often being more cautious than the rule makers. Recent figures released by Sky News (9th Oct) tell us that 59% of the population favour restrictions remaining in place over Christmas. So unfortunately it might be slim pickings for this year’s edition of the wonderful #duvetknowitschristmas.

Whether restrictions are in place or not, one thing seems clear, our collective Christmas routines are going to be upended by Covid.

Pantos are being cancelled (theatres remain closed in Scotland, Wales and NI), office parties will be remote, numbers are going to be tightly controlled for Midnight Mass. Parents are going to watch their children’s star performance as ‘Shepard Number 4’ over Zoom.

“Go big and stay home” will be the matra this Chrismas. We might not be able to have our traditional Christmas, but we’ll make damn sure that we make the most of what we’ve got. After the year we’ve had we’re in need of some serious festive cheer.

A year spent focusing on who and what is important to us will result in thoughtful, meaningful gifts, rather than frivolous purchases. If we can’t spend the day with the people we love, it’s important to get the gift right.

Tight budgets will see a focus on DIY and crafts, so lots of homemade decorations, mince pies and Christmas puds.

As always the Christmas dinner will be the centrepiece of the day. For those lucky enough to have saved some money on holidays and commutes, the Christmas dinner will be a premium affair as people push the boat out to make it memorable.

This year it is about making the most of what we’ve got, not just spending but emotionally ‘maximisng’. Whatever makes your Christmas really ‘Christmas’, that’s where the focus will be. So expect bigger trees, more (DIY) decorations, Grandparents indulging grandchildren from afar and the return of Zoom quizzes and games (but this time super-charged for maximum festive family fun)

The end of 2020 (finally)

Have you noticed that this year we’re not rolling our eyes when we see Christmas decorations in October? Instead the decorations in the shops act as a marker that the  year is nearly over.

We’re not necessarily convinced that 2021 is going to be much better, but at least we’ll be done with 2020.  We’re so desperate to get to Christmas that John Lewis even opened their Christmas Shop on August 24th to cope with the demand.

The festive period is always a time when people shut out the outside world, lose track of the days of the week focus on family and ‘what’s important’. This year that’s going to be more true than ever.

When you think about it, this Christmas everything is going to be closed, we’ll be stuck inside trying to entertain ourselves, chatting to family on Zoom and cooking tasty meals.

We’ve been training for this all year!

We’ve lots more to share from our What’s Going On? Covid 2020 community and what it means for your brands in the future. Drop us a line at to arrange a time for us to chat through what we’ve found so far and our predictions for 2021