The Cost of Christmas During a Pandemic

5 min. readbyVexxit StaffonDecember 22, 2020
How do you celebrate the holiday season during a pandemic? While Canadians reduce their spending on travel and entertainment, people are helping fellow Canadians—by increasing their charitable donations. Learn how you can celebrate the holidays during this challenging time.

Phil Collins is having a very, very bad year. Amid issuing cease-and-desist orders to the Trump campaign for using his music, whilst fighting to extract his ex-wife and her boyfriend from his home through press statements and lawsuits, he then had to cancel his Genesis reunion tour due to the pandemic.

We’ve all had a bit of a rough go this year and it would have been nice to celebrate the end of it with a somewhat normal celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. However, with COVID-19 rates skyrocketing all over North America, that seems unlikely.

“Heading into the 2020 holiday season, consumer concerns about the pandemic outweigh all other factors,” said PwC’s not-so-cheery analysis. “The majority of Canadian shoppers expect to spend either the same or less overall this holiday season, with deep cuts in travel spending,”

A report from Deloitte looks a little more dire for retailers. “Holiday spending is expected to fall 18 percent. One in three Canadians expect to reduce their spending on the holidays this year, down to an average of $1,405. Travel, dining out, and alcohol for entertaining will take the brunt of spending cuts.

Yet in the spirit of a Charlie Brown Christmas, Deloitte found seeds of hope that this holiday season could be our most meaningful yet. Despite more than half (56 percent) believing Canada’s economy will weaken in 2021 and 31 percent expecting to be worse off – “this gloomy outlook is inspiring consumers to help their fellow Canadians—by increasing their charitable donations by an average of 86 percent.

The truth is, that while many people will be sad to miss out on big, traditional gatherings of extended relatives, or the glittering round of holiday parties, many others struggle with the holiday season every year – feeling stressed, exhausted, lonely, inadequate, or depressed.

This year, we all get a free pass from the spinning holiday hamster wheel. We can still decorate our homes, of course, prepare a special meal, and exchange online gift certificates. Ideally, we can still get together with a few loved ones, if we’re selective and can stay safe and healthy.

More than ever, this holiday season presents an opportunity to shift our focus from what we don’t have and from what we’ve missed out on – to being truly grateful for what we do have and for how we have fared. It’s heartening to know that Canadians are compassionately thinking of those who have been ill, out of work, juggling family care, and struggling emotionally. And we don’t just mean Phil Collins, but him too.

And so, to all of you who are planning to do a little more this year for your local food bank, community shelters, frontline workers, or neighbours in need, we’d like to say thank you. Thank you for remembering the true spirit of the giving season and creating the possibility for a kinder, gentler, and healthier 2021.

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