What would a Covid Christmas mean to us, the consumer and what might we expect to see from the retailers to help with these unprecedented festive times?

When the lockdown summer of 2020 draws to an end and the nights get shorter, our minds will inevitably start to think about the next holiday and if we will be able to celebrate them in the normal way?

Halloween – Ban on trick or treating, no sharing of sweets & halloween parties with just your household?

Black Friday – Reduced numbers in shops and social distancing measures? (actually, this might be a blessing)

And finally, It’s beginning to look a lot like a Covid Christmas!
Will we have the same festive build up with office Christmas parties, last minute shopping dash and will all the aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents be allowed to descend onto one home for the ‘normal’ Christmas chaos?

It all sounds rather doom and gloom but it doesn’t need to be.
Retailers will need to consider what the normal Christmas cues and habits are and how they can flip it on its head to prepare them for what a Covid Christmas might look like and how they adapt.

In the likelihood of a Covid Christmas, we can expect reduced numbers being allowed in any one home, so we need to consider the following: 

Instead of having to buy three types of bird,  half a tone of potatoes & a nut roast for your cousin retailers could look to create ‘Christmas in a box’.  A Christmas hamper with the right amount of trimmings for a smaller family gathering.  A simple way to cater for small numbers and reduce food waste. 

Will we see companies like Hello Fresh & Gousto create a festive subscription?


If summer is anything to go by, we might be forced to have Christmas alfresco.
Will home retailers increase stock of covered awnings, heat lamps and fire pits to allow socially distanced gatherings in the garden. 

With the possibility of not being able to be with friends and family on Christmas day, will we feel less inclined to buy them a physical present, especially if we aren’t there to watch them open it? 

Will we see a rise in red-letter style experiences that people can utilise together and make memories once lockdown is lifted?

Retailers like Boots & Superdrug will suffer from people non picking up a ‘safe’ smelly gift set for teachers, colleagues & cousins.
They too could jump on the ‘experience’ bandwagon and provide vouchers for make-overs, beauty treatments & hair styling to encourage people in-store in the new year.

Will Netflix and other TV subscriptions release Christmas voucher cards?


Loungewear & sportswear grew exponentially during Lockdown as a result of people working from home or enjoying furlough on the sofa. The trend will grow as we snuggle up on the sofa during the winter months.

Will Primark bring out an ingenious ‘work from home’ onesie that is smart on top and cosy below? 

The novelty Christmas themed face masks will be a staple in every

Family Fun

Dare I say it but the rebirth of the Zoom quiz is inevitable – will Zoom create an inbuilt quiz function like Kahoot that facilitates quiz and games to increase their zoom subscriptions even more this year?

‘Speak Out’ & ‘Pie face’ have been popular Christmas games over the last few years. What social distance and hygienic will we have this year?


Store footfall & social distancing
The thought of Covid and Christmas crowds is surely enough to put anyone off going in store? Stores will need to increase their social distancing messages, introduce stricter guidelines & ensure the message doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

Customise your signage in your colour, graphics and tone to soften it – maybe even add a bit of humour like our behaviour-led covid-19 posters, still free to download. 

And Santa certainly won’t be making an appearance this year. If he wasn’t creepy enough, adding a facemask will surely add to the terror! 


It’s beginning to look a lot like a Covid Christmas! And we don’t hate all of the predictions here, it’s just not what we are used to.


The Behaviours Agency

We’re a creative agency that uses behavioural science to create impactful ideas and experiences for retailers and brands. We call it creativity informed by behavioural science. If you want to know more about how do this, get in touch now.


By Janey Leonard-Myers

Senior Account Manager