With presents to buy, Christmas dinners to organise and halls to deck, Christmas these days is less ‘merry and bright’ and more ‘the nightmare before Christmas’. Throw in a global pandemic and a second UK-wide lockdown and well… a lot of us are now dreading what’s normally the best part of the year. With all non-essential shops now closed until at least December 2nd, organising Christmas this year will require significantly more planning than usual. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a handy guide to help you navigate the labyrinth that is Christmas shopping during a global pandemic. If you stick around to the end, we’ve also managed to sneak an exclusive interview with Father Christmas himself to see how he’s handling COVID-19. With that being said, let’s dive right in to our top 5 tips:
Online shopping has always been a convenient and hassle-free way of buying everything from toys to turkey. With billions of products at your fingertips, you can now do your entire Christmas shop without leaving the house, or even the sofa. With all non-essential shops closed until at least December 2nd, more people than ever will be flocking to online shopping to buy Christmas presents. There are many advantages to shopping online, especially during a pandemic. Even with social distancing and masks, going shopping in person still poses a risk of COVID-19 infection, especially for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing conditions.
While it’s certainly safer to shop online, remember that local businesses also need your support too! Many independent businesses moved online during the first national lockdown, so you can still shop local while shopping online- it’s the best of both worlds! Shopping locally keeps money in the local economy and community. Would you rather spend your hard-earned cash with a multi-billion-pound corporation or towards supporting a local business and family?
If you’re not a fan of online shopping or want to support your local high street in person, it’s important to stay safe and follow government guidance. While there’s no telling what guidance will be published once the second lockdown ends, it’s safe to say that the 2-metre social distancing rule and wearing face coverings will probably play a huge role in limiting the spread of the virus. Make sure you bring a face covering (perhaps with a jazzy Christmas pattern on it?) and observe social distancing in shops. There may be longer queues than normal due to social distancing measures, so probably best not to leave all your shopping until Christmas Eve this year. If the second lockdown ends as planned on December 2nd, this still leaves you with around three weeks to safely hit the high street and get all the bits and bobs you need.
2020 has been an incredibly difficult year not just emotionally but also financially. With large sectors of the economy force to shutdown or limited by COVID-19, many people may have found themselves temporarily or permanently unemployed. Christmas can be a time of immense financial pressure for most people, with the average Briton spending an extra £700-£800 during the festive period, jumping up to around £1,000- £2,700 for households with children. A study carried out by the Independent found that one in four people put at least some of their Christmas spending on credit cards, with a further one in 14 going into their overdraft to cope with the cost of Christmas. As soon as the clock strikes 12 on Halloween, the pressure to part with your hard-earned money is everywhere, even in the form of a tear-jerking John Lewis advert. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to overspend to have an amazing Christmas, and it’s definitely not worth going into the new year with debt.
If you’re looking to do a low budget Christmas for whatever reason, homemade presents are a good root to go down. They’re a lot more sentimental than presents bought from a shop and allow for a greater degree of personalisation. During the first-national lockdown, many people found themselves taking up new hobbies to pass the time and keep sane. From baking to gardening, DIY to crafting, these new hobbies could result in some great homemade gifts for family and friends. With the second lockdown now firmly in place, hand crafting Christmas presents could provide both a hobby and a low budget way of sorting Christmas gifts during lockdown part two.
Second-hand gifts are another way of sourcing unique and affordable presents. Whether that’s a book you’ve read and really enjoyed, an item you’ve bought from a charity shop or maybe a meaningful family heirloom. Charity shops or vintage stores are likely to be quieter places to shop than your traditional high street staples, and it’s a good way to help a good cause and have a greener Christmas.
If shopping for presents and gifts isn’t enough to do, you also need to consider food shopping for the all-important Christmas dinner. Thankfully, whatever happens after the second lockdown, food retailers will be open no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you should leave your Christmas food shop to the last minute, however. Going anywhere near the supermarket is a nightmare during the festive period and with social distancing thrown in the mix, queues are likely to be much longer than usual. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to pre-order your Christmas food in advance. Many supermarkets will offer a pre-order service, allowing you to order your Christmas food online and pick it up a few days before Christmas in-store. If you’re very lucky, you might even be able to get it delivered straight to your door, but food delivery slots are very high in demand this time of year.
We understand that 2020 has been a difficult and confusing year for children. They’ll naturally have lots of questions about how COVID-19 will affect Christmas and Father Christmas’s plans. In an exclusive interview with the man himself, Churchill asked Father Christmas how he’s planning to deal with coronavirus this festive season.
CH: Welcome Father Christmas! With COVID-19 cancelling so many other events this year, there are rumours going round that Christmas is cancelled? As the top man himself, can you confirm whether this is true?
FC: First off, it’s lovely to be talking to you over this new magical portal, Zoom! Heavens no, Christmas has, and never will be cancelled! Even the Great Plague of 1347 and the Spanish Flu of 1918 couldn’t stop Christmas, so there’s no need to worry about that. Granted, Christmas this year might look and feel a little different as we all may need to take some more precautions than usual. But even if we can’t mingle with big groups of people, we can all still come together in the spirit of Christmas and celebrate with our loved ones. With all these magical contraptions people have these days such as smartphones and laptops, virtually gathering together has never been easier! Take me for instance, I’m talking to you right now from the North Pole!
CH: What about presents? Will you have trouble delivering them due to the pandemic?
FC: The elves and I have been working very hard throughout the year to try and get all the presents sorted in time for Christmas. It’s been a busy year for us though, so if we miss something off your list, we do apologise! As for delivery, that shouldn’t be a problem; social distancing is sort of built into the job! After all, everyone should be tucked up in bed by the time I pop round, so I don’t often come into contact with people whilst making my rounds. I’ll certainly still take a mince pie and carrot for Rudolph if you leave one out!
So there you have it! A different, but still magical Christmas is on the cards this year. Early planning is key and don’t forget to stay safe.
Churchill Security is a leading cross-industry security company supplying professional and comprehensive security solutions to organisations seeking expert Security Guards, CCTV & Event Security, Key Holding & Alarm Response, Mobile Patrols and Thermal Imaging & People Flow.
To find out more about how Churchill Security can protect your business, contact us today