It’ll be different this Christmas

Christmas is often the time of year for bringing people together, but social distancing measures due to the coronavirus pandemic means the usual family gatherings, office parties and festive celebrations are likely to look very different for many of us this year.

With the ever-changing nature of restrictions, it’s hard to know exactly where we’ll find ourselves on the big day itself. So, as we continue to explore what Co-op could do to help members stay as connected as possible during the festive season, we asked Co-op Members to join in and tell us how they think they’ll be spending Christmas 2020. More than 17,000 of you responded.

Planning for the unknown

Although members have started to think about their celebrations, almost half of respondents said they were waiting until nearer the time to make any significant plans. Around 10% said they were going to go with the flow and not make any plans at all.

We will still plan our Christmas Day and festive week but will probably have a Plan B (and possibly even a Plan C) so we can downscale or change what we have planned if we need to.

Emma Fish, Warwickshire

Staying connected

The majority of members expect to be spending Christmas at home with their immediate family, while around 10% said they’d be on their own this year.

We’re now looking at ways that we can support those who may be alone by offering online opportunities for members to get together over the festive period. Few anticipate visiting extended family or friends and instead think they will be staying connected online.

Home time

With less opportunity to eat out, go to parties or entertain larger gatherings at home, members expect to be spending less on gifts and socialising this year. Instead of the usual overindulgence, they’ll be spending more time home cooking and trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

We are just grateful that we are not working this year and can spend the day with our children. That’s what Christmas is all about.

Terri Rose, Exmouth

It’s looking like we won’t be gathered around the TV to watch the Queen’s speech as a big family, so we’ll all gather together on Zoom and have a festive family quiz and sing a few carols!

Teresa Moran, Huddersfield

Limiting alcohol, getting enough sleep and trying to eat healthily. Not too many mince pies!

Janice Jenkins, Swansea

Shifting shopping habits

More than half of members will be buying gifts online or making homemade presents and cards, while travel restrictions will likely see them spending less time on the high street and shopping more locally too

I’ll enjoy not rushing around like other years. I will shop locally, buy some online gifts and make more gifts this year.

Susan Hall, London

I will make some Christmas gifts with the kids using photos and do some Christmas baking, which I don’t normally get a lot of time to do due to work.

Rachel Parkhurst, Southampton

A worrying time

Members said they were worried about not being able to see relatives and were anxious about their loved ones becoming ill. Financial strain, being lonely and not being able to participate in the usual festive activities were also cited as concerns.

Not seeing the whole family together or attending the usual festive events like pantomimes, meals out, Christmas markets and meeting friends from years gone.

Jack Longley, Penarth

Festive spirit

To help support their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their loved ones, members will be staying active by spending time outdoors, taking regular exercise and are determined to stay cheerful.

Encouraging family members to walk and exercise around the farm. Making sure everyone is in good spirits and having plenty of laughs.

Mike James, Kidwelly

Being upbeat and trying to make the best of things. Being happy to help and understanding if people are a bit sad or cross.

Lucy Blann, Milton Keynes

Whatever their plans for celebrating Christmas, members said they’ll be doing it safely by continuing to follow the government’s coronavirus guidelines over the festive period.

What’s next?

Members have given us some great feedback, which will help our food colleagues better prepare for the lead up to Christmas. 

We learned you were likely to be spending much more time at home, so we’re organising online activities for your family and friends to get involved in.

You can sign up to join our online festive quiz on 9 December, and submit your best quiz questions, here.

And keep an eye out for details about a special festive wine event coming up on 15 December too.

We were surprised at how many members are likely to be spending Christmas alone this year, so we’re arranging a few festive get-togethers to bring members together to connect and chat online over the Christmas period. Find out more details in our December Join In email, which will also feature some seasonally-inspired puzzles too.

There are always ways to get involved in your Co-op. Head to your online membership account to take a look at the opportunities we have available now.

Mark Robinson-Field
Member Participation Manager