What does a COVID-19 Christmas look like in Australia?

Money and Life
(Financial Planning Association of Australia)

Christmas 2020 will look a little different for many people, but there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family.

With COVID-19 case numbers currently low in Australia, many of us are wondering just how close to normal our Christmas will be.

Can we take an interstate holiday? Will we be able to visit friends and family? How many people can we have around?

Celebrating the holidays requires a little more creativity and planning than usual this year. COVID-19 restrictions vary widely from state to state, meaning the number of people you can have over, where you can travel and how many people can attend at venues are affected.

How many people can I have around?

The great news for many is that social distancing rules have been relaxed in many states and territories although restrictions do still apply.

Visit the Australian Government website for the latest situation in each state or territory.

For some families, a limit of 20 people at one time means the usual extended family festivities are out. If that’s the case for you, try planning a few smaller Christmas catch-ups instead. Not only will you be doing your part to keep us virus-free, it will really cut-down on the washing up!

Can I travel interstate?

Different levels of restrictions are in place across the states and territories to help control the spread of COVID-19. The rules around entry vary widely from place to place, and are subject to rapid changes, so always check the local health department website before planning your travel.

You can find links to the latest information for each state here:

Western Australia

New South Wales

Victoria

South Australia

Queensland

ACT

Tasmania

Northern Territory

How can I have a COVID-safe Christmas?

Certainty has been in short supply all year, so it pays to build some flexibility into your holiday plans. As we’ve seen, the situation can change rapidly.

Make sure you’re aware of local health guidelines when planning any Christmas gatherings. The last thing you want to start the New Year with is a fine!

If you can’t host (or attend) the huge backyard Christmas party like you’re used to, don’t despair. Technology has been a savior for staying connected all year, so think about hosting an online Christmas catch-up, or plan video calls for different times throughout the day. Make sure to include those who are living away, or will otherwise be on their own for the holidays.

Enjoy smaller, more intimate gatherings and the extra time you’ll get to spend with friends and loved ones. And if money is tight, look for ways to stretch your Christmas budget further, so you can enjoy the holidays without a debt-hangover.

Read more: Be a smart gift giver this Christmas

It’s no surprise that many people have struggled with loneliness, anxiety and depression this year. Uncertainty, lockdowns and financial stress all take their toll on our mental health. If you, or someone you know, can’t be with their family this Christmas, don’t be afraid to reach out. Speak to your friends and go out of your way to make sure no one is left out.

2020 has been a year like no other and we all deserve a little time out to relax and soak up that Christmas cheer. This is the time to focus on what’s really important, so think about prioritising your health, family and financial goals in 2021.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays, the Financial Planning Association of Australia wish you a happy, safe and enjoyable festive season.

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