Over the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a change to the Christmas bubbles allowing households in Manchester to only mix on December 25th. Meanwhile, London and the South East, which have been placed in Tier 4, will not be able to mix at all.
The news means millions of people across the UK, including thousands in Manchester, will now be unable to see their loved ones at Christmas. As such, there are concerns that loneliness and isolation will leave many Brits struggling to cope.
To help, Chums, a retail brand for older people based in the North West, has created a list of five virtual activities that families can do with their loved ones to celebrate Christmas together even when they cannot be together. These include Christmas jumper contests, scavenger hunts, and gingerbread house competitions.
It comes following a survey of 1,000 people by Chums which found that one-third (33 per cent) of Brits aged 55+ said they were worried about theirs and members of their household’s health over the festive season.
Josh Rubin, managing director at Chums, said: “After such a challenging year, many people will have hoped to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. However, coronavirus won’t be taking a Christmas holiday. It is still a very real and present threat to older people in the United Kingdom.”
The five activities are:
1. Christmas jumper competition
No virtual event would be complete without a Christmas jumper competition. Challenge your family to turn up to your Zoom call with the loudest, wackiest jumper they can possibly find. You could even set aside a small stocking prize for whoever wears the best jumper.
2. Seasonal scavenger hunt
This could be a great game for a Christmas video call. It can take place around each family member’s respective household with friends and family members challenged to find various festive items: baubles, tinsel, mistletoe and much more. You could also bring in a digital component requiring people to find, for instance, the funniest festive dog or craziest Christmas tree.
3. Make your own ecards
Rather than send Christmas cards through the post, which can sometimes be a little impersonal, you could create your own ecards and present them on a Zoom call. There are various simple ways of doing this, such as the free design site Canva.
4. The perfect Spotify Christmas playlist
Spotify has a feature that allows multiple people to add songs to a playlist. By using this, each friend or family member could add a certain number of songs to a unique Christmas playlist, which you can play on your Zoom call.
5. Gingerbread house contest
One particularly fun way to spend Christmas is to bake and decorate your own gingerbread houses. Chums has even launched its own competition for amateur bakers to make their own gingerbread houses, decorate them in a unique way and share their snaps on Facebook for the chance to win a £100 festive hamper.