We’ve already rewritten this blog post several times as the rules and guidance for all parts of the UK are changing so fast we can hardly keep up! However, one thing we do know is that Christmas definitely won’t be the same as usual.
The current guidelines say we can enjoy a five-day festive break with other households, but we should exercise caution. The rules are being spoken of as a framework and not a ‘must-do’. Here is a brief summary of the Christmas rules as we understand them:
- Form a ‘Christmas bubble’ with up to two other households between December 23rd and 27th.
- Travel within the UK whichever tier you are in.
- Hug and mix freely with your bubble at home, outdoors and in places of worship.
- Host a care home resident if they are under 65.
- Stay overnight with your bubble for the five days.
But we can’t:
- Go to pubs, restaurants or hotels with your bubble unless you are in Tier 1 and you are six people or fewer.
- Switch between bubbles unless you are under 18 and have parents who do not live together.
- Host care home residents over the age of 65.
- Form a bubble with anyone who is self-isolating.
Does this mean smaller turkeys on the table?
Not necessarily – it depends on how big your ‘bubbles’ are! It’s definitely true that Christmas gatherings for many won’t be as big as normal, and so lots of us are ordering smaller turkeys than usual. Turkey farmers have warned many birds could go to waste, and some have even cut the number of birds they’ve bred by a quarter.
Surge in online shopping
Many more people are turning to online shopping as the safest way to shop for Christmas presents this year. Online retailers have already seen a big surge in demand. In September, shoppers were warned to buy as early as possible and the Christmas delivery slots of most supermarkets have been booked well in advance.
Watch a panto from your car? Oh yes you can!
Many theatres in England are currently closed, but some Christmas pantomimes have been able to take place.
Meanwhile a drive-in show – the Car Park Panto – is touring the UK with audience members watching from inside their cars.
What about the rest of Europe?
As the UK’s restrictions relax slightly, other countries are tightening theirs. Germany has entered a hard lockdown, closing schools and non-essential businesses until 10 January. Over Christmas, one household will be allowed to host up to four close family members. France has introduced a night-time curfew, and bars and restaurants will remain closed until at least 20 January.
And to end 2020, a very quiet New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is likely to be a very quiet affair this year, with gatherings almost certainly banned in most parts of the UK. Fireworks have been cancelled in London and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party is off.