image captionRosie Brown and Demi Hughes are not going home for Christmas this year
Since the rules about meeting people at Christmas were announced, there’s been excitement about the prospect of reuniting with family.
But over the weekend, NHS bosses have warned we must think “really carefully” about the risks.
Allowing households to mix has been called “a mistake” by several health professionals – especially with some parts of the UK seeing record infection rates.
To paraphrase what many have said in the past few weeks: “Don’t hug your nan at Christmas and then bury her in January.”
Anecdotally at least, it feels like many families are now having awkward conversations about what they are and aren’t prepared to do.
And it’s that extra risk which means not everyone will be taking up the option of meeting their loved ones – like Demi Hughes.
It’s Demi’s favourite time of the year, or as she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat: “I’m definitely the most lunatic when it comes to Christmas. My family go with it to keep me happy.”
But the 21-year-old is choosing to stay away from her family this time because of the threat of coronavirus.
“Yes, Christmas is great. But there’s going to be lots more in the future,” Demi says.
image captionDemi says “it’s not worth the risk” to her Gran (right)
‘I want gran to still be here next Christmas’
“I have a lot of older family members and very young family members. It’s not worth the risk.”
Demi is particularly worried about passing the virus on to her grandmother. A trip home involves a two-hour train ride from County Durham to West Yorkshire.
“I would rather have her here next Christmas than me going home this year and giving her the virus.”
Of course, there are some parts of the UK where rates of infection are very low – and so people are less worried about meeting up. The government’s Dominic Raab says people need the five-day relaxation of Covid rules on “an emotional level”.
But others point to America – which saw a spike in deaths and cases after people got together for Thanksgiving in November.
That’s why Rosie Brown isn’t taking any chances.
The 26-year-old studies at the University of Glasgow, with home being all the way down in Surrey.
“It’s a long train journey and I don’t want to pass anything on to my grandparents. They’re quite old and at risk.”
image captionA Christmas highlight for Rosie is watching television with her Grandad
Demi’s family while supportive of her decision, are understandably sad, especially as the last time they saw her was at the beginning of August.
“My mum’s absolutely gutted, because I’m the eldest. And out of my two youngest brothers, the youngest cried over the phone, which made me feel awful.”
She hopes to be reunited with her family in the new year, if restrictions allow.
A different type of Christmas
For Rosie, it will be a Christmas with flatmates instead of family.
“Luckily they’re staying around too and not travelling back because they’re international students.”
One of them has never celebrated Christmas before so is “quite fascinated” what the other three will be doing.
“We’re planning to merge what we’d all normally do on Christmas Day. We’ll probably play some games and try different foods we wouldn’t usually.”
image captionThere won’t be the usual family catch-up at Christmas for Rosie
A normal Christmas for Rosie involves eating, playing board games and watching TV.
“It tends to be Call the Midwife or Doctor Who. My granddad loves Doctor Who so we watch that.”
“And we usually have a few games of Articulate, which is probably my favourite part of the day.”
And a festive season away from home doesn’t mean slacking on the decorations.
“The Christmas tree is up and we’ve made plans to have our own. We’ve got loads of paint and crafts to try and make our flat more exciting.”
image captionA normal Christmas for Rosie sees her cat taking a nap over board games
For Demi, it won’t be the typically lively Christmas of visiting different family members – but she still plans to make the most of the festivities away from home.
“My fiancé is absolutely obsessed with making Christmas plans. We have everything down to a schedule.”
Starting with a 6am alarm call.
“I love a lie-in, but my fiancé doesn’t on Christmas morning, so he’ll probably jump on our two roommates too.”
Breakfast will be in the “form of alcohol or chocolates, we’ll find out”.
“And then we’ll keep watching Christmas films through the day and maybe go on a little walk around the park just to get us out of the house.”
Some of Demi’s must-see Christmas watches include The Muppet Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol.
“I don’t think I’ve had a single Christmas in my life without watching the Muppets.”
And as you’d expect given her love for all things Christmas, Demi has her decorations sorted.
Streamers, lights, tinsels and “obviously the Christmas tree in the corner”.
image captionDemi says “to make the most of it even if you are away from home”
For lots of people, a difficult 2020 could well be capped off by a hard Christmas.
But “Christmas has got to be good no matter what”, Demi says.
“Being sad on Christmas Day isn’t going to make you feel any better. Call your family, put a good Christmas film on, some music and just snack on loads of chocolates and get some wine if you’re of legal age.”
“Celebrate Christmas as much as you can because it only comes one day a year,” she adds.