12 Studies of Christmas: Driving Home for Christmas

Back in November, when we ran our 12 studies, Lockdown 2 was well underway in the UK, with the government announcing a month of restrictions in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. At the time we wanted to know how people were coping and whether they planned on following the rules should they be extended into the festive period. As it turned out, with Tier 4 effectively extending lockdown across much of the South East and London, our worst predictions came true.

But how were people feeling in the midst of the November lockdown? Would the need to be with nearest and dearest after the turmoil of 2020 be too much of a pull? Could people imagine resisting the urge for collective Christmas cheer? We surveyed 100 people from across the UK to find out whether they would be willing to break lockdown rules in the festive period.

Half of people surveyed said they would break lockdown rules on Christmas Day 🎄🔒

Of the 100 people we asked, 62% of people said they would follow the November lockdown rules if they were extended over the Christmas period.

But specifically on Christmas Day, this number drops to just 50% of people following the rules. Thankfully, with the government's Christmas bubble policy allowing for family contact on Christmas Day itself, people won't need to break the rules to meet up with their loved ones.

Perhaps surprisingly, adherence to the November lockdown was high, with 85% of people saying they were following the then-rules, which ran to December 2nd.

What people said:

Being locked down over Christmas would be incredibly sad and difficult but I would prefer to sacrifice this one festive season than have varying levels of restrictions continuing indefinitely whilst some people are dying unnecessarily.

I will to the best of my will bide by the rules but I want to see my parents on Christmas day, if we follow the rules and they do too we would risk it for one day

What do different demographics think? 🧒

Support for the November lockdown and a possible Christmas extension was generally high across all ages, although younger respondents in our sample doubted whether they could follow the rules.


Very few people would snitch on their neighbours for breaking the rules during Christmas week 👀

A whopping 90% of people said that they wouldn't report their neighbour if they saw them having their family over to visit between December 24th and 31st.

It was interesting to note that fear of being caught didn't seem to be a determining factor in whether people would follow Christmas lockdown rules.

What people said:

I support [the rules] in theory, and they should be implemented to encourage people not to host large gatherings. I don't believe they should police it however, the psychology of telling people not to do it will cause a significant enough effect to prevent the spread.

Lockdown fatigue would play a part over Christmas 😩

People's ability to stick to the lockdown rules is slipping over time. 75% of people said they followed the rules to the letter during the first lockdown in March - but these people are less likely to follow the rules as closely again during a Christmas lockdown.

That said, support for the November lockdown was moderately strong (3.8 avg).

Lockdown is tough on people living alone. I try to get out when I can. I do not intentionally intend to break the rules, but social interaction is so important to stop me going crazy.

Being with the family for Christmas would be beneficial to everyone's mental health and that is a priority.

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