The Gingerbread House Project: Together This Christmas

As this year starts to draw to a close, it’s likely you’ll be starting to think about the upcoming festive season - but what exactly will Christmas be like this year?

For the best part of 2020, we’ve lived in uncertainty, and with the yuletide season upon us, you may be struggling to get your head around what it will be like for you and your family this year. With varying government restrictions likely to be in place all over the country, and the total nationwide lockdown now being enforced throughout November, it’s hard to imagine what Christmas will entail if we can’t be together in the ways that we’re used to. With potentially severe knock-on effects not only on our Christmas plans, but also on individual mental health as we head into a bizarre and hopefully unique holiday season, knowing how the UK as a whole is feeling is not easy.

 Here at Chums, we conducted a survey of 1,000 men and women to find out how others are feeling about Christmas this year, and some of the results were not surprising.

If you’re not feeling particularly excited about the upcoming festivities this year, you’re not alone. When asked if they are looking forward to Christmas more or less than usual, a quarter (25.8 per cent) of respondents said they feel neutral towards the festive season, while 24.8 per cent of those polled said they feel a little less excited than they normally would be.

Further to this, when asked to describe how they feel about Christmas this year, about a third (32.1 per cent) of respondents said they have mixed feelings about the festivities.

On the flip side, it seems that some people are still feeling upbeat for Christmas this year. Our results show that 19.5 per cent of respondents said they feel a little more excited than usual, while 15.1 per cent of people said they are a lot more excited.

So, to find out more about how others are feeling about this year’s festive season, keep reading...

Your health and wellbeing at Christmas time

While the Christmas period is often a joyous celebration for many, it can also take its toll on the health and wellbeing of those who struggle at this time of year. There’s no denying that 2020 has been tough for a lot of people, so it’s not surprising that some have concerns about either themselves or their loved ones as this year’s festive season nears. With the run up to Christmas now also impacted by the return of a national lockdown, there is likely to be more people struggling with their mental health and loneliness than ever before this year. Indeed, our survey shows that 40.4 per cent of respondents are either worried about their own or someone else’s mental health over Christmas, while 32.9 per cent of those polled are concerned about their own general health as well as others.

Additionally, 46.4 per cent of respondents know someone aged 55 or over who is likely to spend Christmas alone - but when it comes to breaking the rules for the sake of a loved one, it seems people are divided. Just over half (51.6 per cent) of people said they would consider disobeying the rules if meant a family member would not be alone this Christmas, while the other half (48.4 per cent) wouldn’t feel comfortable in going against government guidance in this way.

With restrictions and national lockdowns hitting business hard and leading to a rise in unemployment, it’s no real surprise that another concern for people this Christmas is money. According to our findings, a significant 30.8 per cent of those polled said they’re worried about covering costs this Christmas - another huge contributing factor to rising mental health cases in the UK.

Making plans this festive season

With regional lockdowns now stricter than ever and another national lockdown hanging over the country for the remainder of November, it’s currently unknown if different households will be able to mix come December and the final countdown toward Christmas, throwing a spanner in the works for making plans and coming together for the festivities.

When asked how they would feel if they were unable to celebrate with friends and family members that are not part of their household, 44 per cent said they would feel sad, while 18 per cent said they would feel lonely.

The majority of people (60.6 per cent) would miss being able to socialise with friends and family the most, while 47.9 per cent of respondents would miss being able to visit Christmas markets and 42.9 per cent of people would miss the tradition of exchanging and receiving gifts.

Over a quarter (27.8 per cent) of respondents said they would miss Christmas shopping or browsing the Boxing Day sales. Further to this, 31 per cent of women said they would miss their festive shopping trips compared to 23 per cent of men.

Interestingly, when asked what else they would miss being able to do this Christmas, a popular answer was being able to go away.

Ways we can be together this festive period.

It’s hard to make plans for this Christmas, but you may have been thinking about the ways you can bring your loved one together, even if it’s a little different to previous years.

While our survey showed that 31.7 per cent of people are less likely to invite people to their homes this Christmas and 32 per cent of respondents said they will not invite anyone at all, there are other ways in which you can wish your friends and family a merry Christmas if you’re not able to be together this year.

Nearly half (42.9 per cent) of our respondents said they plan to spend time with their parents virtually this Christmas. When asked if they would consider participating in any virtual activities as a way of staying connected with loved ones, most people (15.8 per cent) said they would open gifts, while 13.9 per cent of respondents said they would take part in a virtual quiz and 11.7 per cent would consider a virtual Christmas meal with their nearest and dearest.

Furthermore, it appears that the younger generation are more likely to turn to technology to help celebrate, with those aged 18 to 24 most likely to try out a virtual activity this Christmas. Our survey also revealed that a lot of people are more likely to use technology to do their Christmas shopping this year with nearly half (47.7 per cent) of people planning to purchase their gifts online.

The Gingerbread House Project 

This Christmas, there’s no doubt things will be a little different to normal. However, there are ways we can be together, even if we’re apart. At Chums, we are launching The Gingerbread House Project - a unique way in which we are helping bring loved ones closer, reducing loneliness and making the UK’s potential lockdown Christmas a bit more bearable. The idea is simple. 

We will be providing five family and lifestyle bloggers, who are unable to spend Christmas with their families this year, with two gingerbread houses - one for them and one for a nominated family member. Whether they decide to hold a decorating competition via video chat or just pig out with the most festive of treats while watching a Christmas movie together over Zoom, the Gingerbread House Project is designed to champion togetherness and combat loneliness this yuletide. All we are asking for in return is a social media and a blog post describing the power of togetherness during what is likely to be a difficult Christmas. 

If you would like to get involved with the project and be in with a chance of winning a £100 Christmas hamper, look out for our #TogetherThisChristmas competition on social. Find out more.

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