As well all know, the Christmas holidays have been highly commercialised, detached from the origins and true meaning of Christmas. Recently we’re struggling with new layers of complexity, the conflicting COL crisis and the pressure of social media. Throughout the pandemic, as we sought out quick dopamine hits and connection with others, our reliance on social platforms grew. For example, we saw TikTok surge into the mainstream, rising “from 3 million U.K. adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million in March 2021” Billboard.

Endless feeds producing a constant loop of ‘new’ trends, leaves us forever chasing the most recent fad as a way of connecting with others and adding to our cultural currency. What’s clear is we’ve been adding more and more rituals to Christmas, to the point of overwhelm for many: elf on the shelf, fancy advent calendars worth £100s, matching Christmas PJs, the list goes on. It all makes for great social media content, but what’s the true cost to us? And are the trimmed back budgets prompting consumers to remember the true meaning of Christmas?

On Pinterest, “matching Christmas couple pajamas” is up 100% from last year and 60% from last week.

Parents’ experiencing fatigue at the endless Elf on the Shelf tradition, leaning on social media to fuel more ideas to keep it alive.


With the rising cost of living, the choice to spend on others has been taken away from us this year. As a result, attitudes towards second-hand gifts, handmade presents and spending pacts (also known as ‘Christmas pre-nups’) seem to be shifting. According to the Telegraph, “two thirds (63.2pc) of the least affluent households and half (52pc) of the most affluent ones had gone as far as entering into ‘no gift pacts’ with others.

We’re still feeling the pressure to create special moments within gift-giving, as an established Christmas tradition throughout the UK, however, we’re finding ways to juggle expectations with our changing needs. As we look for alternative gift ‘solutions’, the prep and creativity in the lead up to the gift giving moment becomes more considered. We can see via Brandwatch that there is a 32% increase in people discussing spending limits year on year. And one Twitter user explains:

I have made Christmas presents, Christmas cards & gift tags from last year's Christmas cards. I've made homemade decorations; I've gift second hand presents & I have cut ppl off my presents list.

Even the language around second-hand items comes with more positive associations e.g. ‘pre-loved’ and ‘thrifted’. However, this hasn’t translated into the world of gifting in the past.


After a few uncertain and lonely Christmases, we’re celebrating our ability to be together undoubtably. Homes have transformed throughout the pandemic, and we’re now looking to make the most of our investments by hosting more from home and entertaining from our new spaces. For example, soundbars, bar trolleys and extra-large TVs soared in sales throughout the pandemic as we invested in our in-home entertainment.

The pandemic and social platforms have driven new values around being ‘house proud’. As our homes become more widely seen, in the backdrop of our online profiles and social hubs, it becomes more important to dress ALL areas of home, placing greater importance on Christmas decorations as they extend further into the home.

Throughout Christmas we can expect people to be creating new moments of togetherness at home, that may have traditionally taken place outside of the home. TikTok trends like #cocktailrounds (over 4.5 million views) and #boardnightchallenge (over 21 million views on TikTok), where groups take it turn to create and serve the entire group according to a certain theme, demonstrate that people are embracing the home as a social space.

#BoardNightChallenge has over 21 million views on TikTok
#CocktailRounds has over 4.5 million views on TikTok.

Themes range from more personal ‘inside jokes’ to broader seasonal moments e.g. Halloween.


Decadence and sparing no expense has historically been associated with Christmas meals. However, rising costs across supermarkets as well as supply chain issues are prompting us to question the status quo and switch some of our expected indulgences, so that we can enjoy within our means. A recent Daily Mail survey of Christmas trends suggests just 42 per cent will have a turkey as their festive centrepiece, down from 54 per cent last year.

Some are leaning on older traditions and/or supermarket deals and offers to inspire new choices e.g. the Christmas ham. For example, on Pinterest we can see the term ‘slow cooker gammon’ grow with a yearly increase of 100%, as people begin to plan their festive feasts and start to consider alternatives.

Slow cooker gammon

And according to Sainsbury Chief Executive, “Although turkey remains a key part of our Christmas offer, increasingly customers are looking at other products. There has been a real move into gammon and beef in recent years.” As we adapt our food and drink traditions throughout this difficult time, we may see some sticking for long-lasting change.

With the cost-of-living crisis, Christmas dinner was never gonna be as good this year.

YABU to be surprised. What exactly is the surprise here. That and the bird flu issues means demand and supply are also off kilter.

I am doing Christmas dinner and I am shocked at the cost of turkeys. I normally buy free range but had no idea how expensive turkey was compared to other meat.


Christmas 2022 won’t entail HUGE shifts and changes in rituals, however, we will see changes in prioritisations in response to bigger cultural changes, most predominately the COL crisis. We’re finding new solutions to embrace the traditional spirit of Christmas, as we still rely on this time of year to fulfil collective rituals and experience togetherness, whilst also thinking of the bigger picture. Being with loved ones is what really matters, it’s the one Christmas ritual that has never changed.

All in all, it’s important for brands to consider…

  1. As we reprioritise around the tradition of gifting and look to create immersive Christmas environments at home, it’s important to help your consumer curate special moments that help them embrace the spirit of Christmas rather than just selling products.
  2. It’s difficult to know what changes will stick – for Christmas 2023, it’s important to look towards social in order to identify early signs of how things are evolving and what that means for the Christmas future.