The Debrett's Guide to Christmas 2020

The Debrett’s Guide to Christmas 2020: Etiquette experts reveal why communal snack bowls and eating Christmas dinner on Zoom must be avoided – but you should have Deliveroo on speed dial

  • Lucy Hume from UK-based Debrett’s revealed how to get best out of Christmas
  • Advised getting ahead by sending cards and gifts earlier to avoid likely delays
  • Added to keep it traditional with a classic game of Pictionary or charades

With indoor gatherings currently against regulations, it is yet to be decided whether the nation will get their wish of spending Christmas Day with their families.

But despite the uncertainty surrounding December 25, one thing’s for sure – it’s set to be one like no other.   

With many hoping to enjoy the festivities with their loved ones after spending a difficult year apart, Lucy Hume, associate director of Debrett’s, which has just launched The Debrett’s Guide to Hosting & Entertaining, has offered her top tips on how to get the best out of the first, and hopefully last, coronavirus Christmas.

Among her advise includes getting ahead by sending cards and gifts earlier to avoid possible Covid-19 related delays, and keeping it traditional with a game of Pictionary or charades.

Lucy Hume, associate director of Debrett’s, has offered her top tips on how to get the best out of this year’s coronavirus Christmas. Pictured, stock image

Go back to basics 

Lucy recommends getting ahead of the rest by sending cards and presents earlier than usual to avoid any possible Covid-related delays – and disappointed faces when the gift fails to arrive in time for December 25.

She goes on to say it is also vital to ‘get a head-start’ for recipients who wish to quarantine their presents before touching them.  

‘Know when to go analogue,’ Lucy continues. ‘Make time for handwritten Christmas cards and thank you letters, and a phone call to older family members who might not be comfortable with Zoom.’

Lucy adds:  

‘While the encouraging news about vaccines suggests that normality is finally on the horizon, Christmas 2020 will still involve compromise, consideration and adaptation.

‘But by combining family traditions with new technology, wrapping up warm to meet outside and being ready to adapt to any new guidelines, it can still be a Christmas to remember.’

‘Designate some screen-free time on Christmas Day; no Whatsapping over the Christmas dinner. 

‘And as lovely as a big family meal can be, piling into turkey and all the trimmings over Google Meet is perhaps a step too far – there’s no need to watch each other chewing parsnips.

Keep it traditional 

The majority of the nation spent the first lockdown on Zoom – be it catching up with pals, on work calls, or even participating in quizzes to pass the time. 

But according to Lucy, people should ditch such apps for the day. 

‘Many of us still have Zoom quiz fatigue after lockdown part one, so give the Kahoot app a day off and keep it traditional with charades, Pictionary or a family singalong,’ she says.

Head outside  

While guidelines surrounding Covid-19 are unknown, Lucy suggests that if restrictions allow, celebrations should be taken outdoors.

‘Pack a Christmas picnic hamper for al fresco festivities with friends or family,’ she advises. ‘Remember extra layers, a plastic-backed rug, wellies and a flask of mulled wine or hot chocolate.’

She goes on to say that even if guidelines change, fresh air is a ‘great cure’ for the slump many of us feel between Christmas and New Year.

The associate director also advises remaining calm at all times – even if plans change very last minute. Pictured, stock image 

Mind your manners 

Lucy highlights the important of minding your manners – even if you’re in your pyjama bottoms.

‘Deploy social media etiquette: if you’re able to enjoy a large family gathering, be sensitive on social media if others are shielding or unable to celebrate as they’d wish,’ she says. 

‘Consider a dress code. We’ve been keeping it casual most of the year, so make the most of the chance to dress up (at least from the waist up if you’re on Zoom).’

Lucy also points out the importance of reaching out to those who may be spending the day alone, and suggested booking in a Zoom call or even a socially-distanced drive-by.   

In person

The associate director also advises remaining calm at all times – even if plans change very last minute.    

‘Have back-up supplies in the freezer and Deliveroo on speed-dial in case you’re suddenly allowed extra guests,’ she adds. ‘If you’re allowed to mingle on the day, try to give guests space and avoid communal dishes and snack bowls.’ 

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