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How likely do you think family gatherings will be this Christmas?

There are so many mixed messages in the press today about the likelihood of families celebrating Christmas together it is not surprising that we are confused.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said large families and those living in different tiers may not be able to meet on Christmas Day.

The Government is prepared to prevent large families meeting at Christmas if coronavirus restrictions are still in place, a Cabinet minister has said.

George Eustice also suggested that families living in areas under different tier restrictions may not be allowed to meet even in groups of fewer than six.

The minister said it is “too early to say” how lockdowns could affect festivities, but told LBC: “Obviously if we do need to have restrictions in place, and prevent families from coming together in large gatherings, if that’s necessary to control the virus that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Asked on Times Radio if families from different tiers would be able to spend Christmas together, he added this is “not provided for currently”.

Mr Eustice rejected demands from the Liberal Democrats to plan coronavirus restrictions for the festive period now.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has called for four-nation Covid planning in relation to Christmas, warning that people face confusion and complexity over potential restrictions.

Mr Eustice told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is a rapidly developing situation and we are making judgments all the time about what restrictions might be needed and what’s appropriate to have as restrictions in a particular area.

“We should set our guidelines, not as the Lib Dems say, based on Christmas is coming, we should set our guidelines based on the epidemiology of this virus and follow the science and respond to emerging situations in a proportionate way.”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the Government’s failure to introduce a circuit-break lockdown over the school half-term has “put Christmas at risk” and urged ministers to “do something quickly to save Christmas”.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said Government sources are planning for a Tier 3 lockdown in most areas of the country “at some point in November”, which he expects will continue through the festive period.

Asked if he thought families would be able to meet in groups of more than six, the Labour MP said: “That’s in the hands of all of us, and in the hands of the decisions it (the Government) makes in the next week or so about what they’re going to do to get on top of this virus.

“I think because they’ve missed this window of opportunity over the half-term, I’m worried now that what we’ll see is deeper, more drastic lockdown action over November and December, which sadly probably does put Christmas at risk.

“The Government have got to do something quickly to save Christmas for everybody, because we want people to have a family Christmas, and I think it would be awful if people didn’t have that.”

What are your views?  Should we plan for the worst and hope for the best? Is it fair to raise our expectations and then dash hopes nearer the time? ARe you planning a virtual Christmas with the help of technology? Will you follow the rules or make your own?

How likely do you think family gatherings will be this Christmas?

1308 people have already voted, what's your opinion? I am fairly optimistic I think it is unlikely

What are your views?

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jeaniembe
20th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I think there will be people who will gather together over Xmas whatever the rules. Then we will pay for it in January with more deaths and another lockdown. Many NHS workers will miss Xmas with their families and they will be the ones picking up the flack after too. I am on my own. My dear husband passed away in May. I will try and keep busy.
Catton
16th Nov 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
It is unlikely that Christmas will be 'normal' this year. The whole year has been abnormal so can we just accept that this year will be different. The virus will not be taking a day off.
I will miss celebrating the true meaning of Christmas...the christ child , church services , carol concerts and all the frilly stuff like the panto etc. This year we need to think of how other faith groups managed their celebrations, e.g. Eid , Diwali., how many people are struggling financially, etc.
We are only giving to charity this year and giving a 'minding' eg homemade shortbread to neighbours /friends .
My best gift would be company but if not possible then thank goodness for the phone and TV
viking
12th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
As the UK was a majority Christian country in years gone bye, it has now changed and have to get used to a multi cultural society with many very different celebrations to their preferred god that the old fashioned notion has now lost it's impact.
So Covid will add to the dilution of Christmas and christian family gatherings this year, in my opinion
LindaY8forever
7th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Seems inevitable that some will "break the rules", especially if they have had a negative Covid test and believe it's accurate! Think the majority will conform, but if the measures don't have a significant effect and improve matters what then.....civil unrest or stoically "living with Covid"?
0
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Ithinkit will be a 6 daybreak we’re family of 8 get together then lock down again,,,but untill children are kept at home it won’t work fast enought
NDW57
6th Nov 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
Call me "Scrooge" if you like but I think its a brilliant excuse to avoid cooking and washing-up for the 5,000, avoiding the annual bun-fight and being able to enjoy a quiet Christmas for once.
cehodgson
6th Nov 2020
0
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It will probably be too risky to allow large groups to be together for Christmas. Don’t think we’ll turn the corner until Spring.
WendyHoo64
6th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
I usually spend Christmas with my sister and her family. She is in Scotland and I’m in Cornwall. It will be a strange time but I just can’t see how we will be able to do it this year. We’re planning on using tech to share some of the time so it will certainly be different!
MrsPat
5th Nov 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Itas not going to happen this year.
Dani
3rd Nov 2020
7
Thanks for voting!
At the risk of sounding like the Grinch, I’m quite relieved that a quiet Christmas will be obligatory this year. My husband
Us and died a few days before Christmas and this year will be his fourth anniversary. The past three festive seasons have been a black comedy, only I haven’t been given the script.
The poor widow, tidied up by extended family, invited to spend a painful time with assorted strangers and in laws, encouraged to wash up because ‘ she’s better with something to take her mind off it”.
Yippee.. champagne , a long walk with the dog, a simple meal, no need to put on my suitably grateful face.
No, I’m not a misery at all, just relieved.
Little3
2nd Nov 2020
7
Thanks for voting!
My wish is a happy Christmas for emergency services workers
NanT
31st Oct 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
Christmas is a time when my husband and I travel around and visit everyone as they are so widespread and they always seem to have so much on at that time of year. As we fall into the "at risk" group we have decided to have an online get together. Is anyone else trying this?
Juliawilk
30th Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
It will be so sad if we can’t meet with family. We need to use the time until Christmas to really follow the rules to mKe it possible.
Spanish dreamer
29th Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Unlikely to have Christmas with our son, daughter inlaw & 2 grandchildren, also we have son who lives in Leeds & works in Leeds general infirmary, we can only hope
viking
29th Oct 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
All the so called " medical experts" end all their ramblings with the words ..........
" If everyone obeys the rules " and as we all know, [ even reading this thread ] people will just not obey the rules even with the threat of death.
Therefore it follows that a total lockdown is inevitable. Therefore no family gatherings for Xmas. In my opinion.
alusru
29th Oct 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
To be fair the Muslim celebration of Eid was curtailed earlier, so it wouldn't be extraordinary for Christmas gatherings to be smaller. I think we will have less excessive celebrations than usual, which actually may make Christmas more meaningful.
Billythequiche
29th Oct 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
Who would think we would be praying for the return of the "rule of 6". I think that that is the best we could hope for. I think that the best way to persuade people to comply with rules during the rest of the time, is to issue an "amnesty" for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It won't be fatal, but it will be depressing if it is just the two of us on Christmas Day.
Sue Greenhill
2nd Nov 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
i agree, recently had op and daughter invited me and partner for xmas at hers (10ml away) be devastated if I cannot go and see little grandson.
Billythequiche
3rd Nov 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Two days, two lots of bad news. National lockdown again, then news that £100,000 of fines imposed locally! Seems that a hardcore are determined to ignore safety protocol.
Sorry if this offends some people but I equate these people with drink drivers. I you want to stroke your macho/femo? feelings or just enjoy risk, go sky diving or bungee jumping, not risking others lives. I know these people don't give a [email protected]@@ but how would they feel if they fatally infected their parents or grandparents?
I really sympathise with those whose jobs and companies are at risk but, how many deaths is your job or company worth? Forget politics, dismiss the mega companies, insurers and banks and ask yourself the question, is what I am about to do risking causing a death?
LorraineRose
29th Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
My fear is for all the elderly people that live alone and single parents who are struggling.
I live alone but thankfully my son & his family live 10 minutes away. We will be under the same tier so I am praying that we can be together. 2 households 5 people.
We all need to be strong but how upsetting will it be for the elderly etc if they adhere to the rules but see neighbours having their family.
I am praying that this is resolved very soon and our families can be families again.
Take care everyone and stay safe
Wilf
28th Oct 2020
5
Thanks for voting!
We will be having a very quiet Christmas for once. We all need to do the same to stop the virus. It loves crowds and socialising. Let disappoint it!
Valleyman
28th Oct 2020
5
Thanks for voting!
The thought of having a big gathering and spreading the virus amongst those you care for is chilling. As Anubis said earlier have a June Christmas. Lunch on the lawn in the sunshine with hopefully Covid nothing but a a memory sounds wonderful.
juniep
28th Oct 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
We usually have a quiet Christmas with just my husband and I and an elderly neighbour. Our neighbour has barely left the house and his son visits wearing a mask, so it looks like just the two of us. We will enjoy our time together as we always do.
mrscomfyman
28th Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I always spend Christmas with my 2 children, just the 3 of us. I live alone and I'm worried that my children, who live in Bristol and Lincoln won't be able to come home. I don't know how I would cope mentally being on my own over Christmas.
Little3
31st Oct 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I've spent the last 5 Christmases on my own Mrs. But not everyone is the same.
LindaG36
28th Oct 2020
8
Thanks for voting!
We had to make this decision a few years ago due to hubby's ill health he could no longer cope with crowds even though they would be family just 1 or 2 at a time is enough for him so we shall continue on this vein with Christmas Day being just the 2 of us and will if we are able see family at some point over the holiday, we would much prefer everyone to stay safe.......
magic25
28th Oct 2020
7
Thanks for voting!
I think we all need to consider others, lock downs work if enough people adhere to the rules they save lives. I realise how damaging they can be to the economy and for people suffering poverty and mental health issues, all the more reason for everyone to pull together help those less fortunate than themselves. Stick to the rules, give to food banks, help those who need it. Christmas is a Christian celebration and this year more than ever people have a chance to show their generosity wether they believe or not. We can’t change what’s passed, the awful year we have endured but if your lucky enough to still be around We can make the future better by being selfless, helping others and still enjoy Christmas in a different way.
KathB97
28th Oct 2020
-6
Thanks for voting!
We have followed all of the regulations to the letter and live in an area with the second lowest infection rate in the country yet, due to the whim of Essex County Council, are now in Tier 2 and not allowed to mix with other households indoors - I had to tell my 4 year old grandson he couldn’t come into my house last week!! So I have decided I will be having my family round on Christmas Day - we amount to 9. We will all be careful and it will only happen if we are all well - I’ve had enough of being told what to do in my own house . I won’t take chances but I’m intelligent enough to make my own decisions.
Judy2109
29th Oct 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
On your head be it .I have three young grandsons all under six and they live in Essex and no I won’t be seeing them at Xmas. .
KathB97
29th Oct 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Completely- I’m old enough to weigh up the risks and make my own decisions in the same way that you are.
Little3
31st Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
I doubt the council has anything to gain from such a 'whim', Kath - are you sure?
KathB97
31st Oct 2020
1
Thanks for voting!
Only an extra £3,000,000 - and our part of the county has one of the lowest infection rates in the whole country .
jeaniembe
20th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
You are taking a chance by having nine people. Then who will they go onto contact. Do they work or care for anyone? If and I do hope you don't, catch Covid seriously, Will you wish to avail yourself of the NHS. Many of whom won't be having a Xmas dinner, let alone one with their families. When there's lockdown again in January, will you accept some of the blame?
jeaniembe
20th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
But it's the effect of your decision on others that matters. Age doesn't necessarily bring wisdom.
ChristineP64
28th Oct 2020
6
Thanks for voting!
My husband and I have decided to spend Christmas at home on our own, no matter what the restrictions are, but this is a personnel choice and we will use video calls to contact our family. However, if we had chosen to spend it with family, we certainly would have.
anubis
28th Oct 2020
10
Thanks for voting!
I usually cook Christmas lunch for a large part of the family and we have the day together and on Boxing more come for lunch but not this year no room to distance and just one could take us all down. I am hoping to have a huge second Christmas in June with tables outside in the sunshine all being well that is.
magic25
28th Oct 2020
4
Thanks for voting!
Very sensible, my husband and I always have a house full on both days but not this year we will stay home alone and have video calls with the family.
Pam Heeley
28th Oct 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I sincerely h0pe so, we've not seen our daughter for nearly a year, and usually she comes home every 6/8weeks
E172Essex
28th Oct 2020
-5
Thanks for voting!
I will be ignoring any rules to spend time with family and friends. If you cant enjoy those basic human needs you have no life anyway.
Judy2109
28th Oct 2020
8
Thanks for voting!
I am sorry but if you don’t adhere by the rules this pandemic will last for much longer. Christmas is one day whether you are religious or not, incidentally Your basic human rights is to look out for one another.
Wilf
28th Oct 2020
2
Thanks for voting!
I agree we need to lockdown for some time and then we will defeat the virus
jeaniembe
20th Nov 2020
0
Thanks for voting!
Well hope it only effects your life and not others.
JudiL9
28th Oct 2020
9
Thanks for voting!
In making the following statement, I have no political axe to grind and I fully sympathise with anyone who is worried about their potential to survive this pandemic, from the point of view of health, finance or any other aspect. That said, the virus is an unknown quantity and the situation fluctuates from day to day and place to place. This being the case, how can any reasonable person, expect the Government to predict, accurately, what the scenario will be 2 months hence. That kind of demand makes no sense. Yes everyone would like to know, it would be really helpful and we could plan. I expect the Government would like to know, so it too could plan. It's frustrating, rotten, scary that we are still heading into the unknown. It's a fact of life as we know it presently. I don't see what better we can do but try our utmost to cooperate, without stirring up any more angst.
Suze q
28th Oct 2020
3
Thanks for voting!
I have a very small family and will have my mother and father for Xmas dinner as always. I saw both of them throughout the lockdown as both are fiercely independent and did not shield as they had no major health issues, I also think it is a personal choice if my parents did not want to come I would still visit them.
MiriamB2
28th Oct 2020
7
Thanks for voting!
I hope rather than use it as a blocker people will use a restricted social interaction Christmas as a positive. Rather than have big family parties that put people under masses of pressure to host or attend and cost lots of money they can actually spend quality time with the ones they are able to spend time with. Rather than give multiple gifts that are not appreciated or used as what is wanted and have a budget per person. Putting yourself into debt for an annual event which so many people don’t actively believe in (being a Christian) isn’t sensible. Give presence time those you can not presents
JE
28th Oct 2020
7
Thanks for voting!
I would like to be optimistic about our chances but realistically I just can not see we will be having our usual family gatherings over Christmas.
Marley444
28th Oct 2020
12
Thanks for voting!
We don't usually have more than 12 round our table at Christmas but this year I think we are already being realistic. The virus knows no bounds, and doesn't recognise public holidays! So the risks will be the same as any other day during the pandemic, although even greater if people think it is ok to mix! We are going to scale our celebrations right down this year - I have pre-warned our family it is unlikely we will all meet indoors this year and we are mentally preparing for the worst I am afraid .. on the positive side - it takes the pressure off preparing loads of food. Think we will be zooming and drinking bubbles together virtually!
Bald123
28th Oct 2020
10
Thanks for voting!
I just cannot see it. What on earth will change in the next 8 weeks?

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