One in three says they will not celebrate Christmas in a restricted social circle

November 20th 2020

Eight out of ten participants in the Big Corona Study say they have no travel plans for the end-of-year period 

December is slowly approaching. It will, of course, be an unusual festive season. Only a small minority of participants in the Big Corona Study says they want to travel during the end-of-year period, and quite a few don’t want to celebrate the end-of-year celebrations in their own social bubble. 

The Big Corona Study, an initiative of the UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), saw its 24th edition on Tuesday. The large-scale questionnaire is still being completed in huge numbers: just over 26,000 people took some time to do so, another increase compared to the previous wave. 

The scientists behind the survey conducted an initial analysis of the enormous amount of data. Some interesting findings: 

  • December is a festive month, but in 2020 it will not be celebrated as we normally would. The Big Corona Study asked participants whether they would stick to celebrating the holidays with family and one cuddle buddy, a possible scenario. 86% say they will do so for Sinterklaas. On New Year’s Eve, 75% want to stick to it, on Christmas 68%. Strikingly, for Christmas, 40.8% of young people (18–35 years) say they will not stick to it. Within this category of young people, students fare notably better, with 29.4% saying they will just follow the guidelines. 

  •  The vast majority of participants have no holiday plans for the end-of-year period. 79.9% say they will not travel; 6.1% want to travel in Belgium; 5.6% want to go abroad if possible. 8.5% don’t know yet.  
  • Today, it is still unclear whether shops will be open during the end-of-year period. Being able to shop in person is extremely important for 6.1%; very important for 9.7%; and fairly important for 22.4%. Especially people who are financially struggling find it important to be able to go shopping in person.  

  • 78% of respondents will probably or definitely get vaccinated. Participants who have doubts about getting vaccinated or who definitely don’t want to get vaccinated say that, in their opinion, the safety is not sufficiently guaranteed and that the vaccine was developed too quickly to be effective. Many people also say that they don’t want to get vaccinated until enough other people have been vaccinated.   

  • Of participants working in the health sector, 7.2% said they have considered looking for a job in another sector. Among respondents working in education, the figure is 4.7%.