Design duo Bompas & Parr release festive foresights delving into a post lockdown Christmas


From drive-through Santa visits, to Christmas dinner in a bauble, multi-sensory experience expert Bompas & Parr has today launched a white paper looking to the future of Christmas celebrations post lockdown. 

The London-based designer has been exploring the key trends, behaviours and creative initiatives that will characterise Christmas this year.

The Christmas concepts were launched in a live webinar ‘Looking onwards to Christmas 2020’ yesterday, in which Bompas and Parr’s investigation into the impact of the pandemic on behaviour underpinned its vision for festive ideas. 

Bompas and Parr has produced a comprehensive white paper looking at trends and how businesses and creatives can adapt to a post Covid Christmas and still maximise on business opportunities. 

Sam Bompass said: Nobody could have predicted 2020 to be the year that it has turned out to be. It began with hopes of a renaissance of the roaring 20s, of optimistic experimentation and of a new decade acting as a global shift of triumphant change. 

“What we did not expect was that that global change was going to be enforced by a global pandemic. As stated in our Fluid Landscapes report, COVID-19 has brought with it new hygiene rules instated by Governments across the world, for example sticking to a two metre distance from those outside your household. This has been a key driver of mass behavioural change, with the formation of new habits. So what will be the impact on our interactions at Christmas?

“Traditionally, Christmas is a time associated with family gatherings, enormous feasts and sharing gifts. All of which associated behaviours have been curtailed by Government rules. 

Of course, we hope that by Christmas, the majority of the lockdown rules will have been lifted, but what lasting impact will the pandemic have on the events and festivities that surround this period? 

“As the world emerges from the pandemic, we foresee that consumer behaviour will be striking a balance between the old and new ways of life. We do however predict that continued hygiene practices will remain ever present in our lives, acting as the backbone to future events and social gatherings.”

This new balance means that Christmas concepts for this year must follow a refreshed set of principles, ensuring that community, staff and public safety is protected, while delivering a joyful, celebratory experience.

There are many new physical considerations to take into account, for example provision for social distancing, considering activities that cater for households, rather than large scale events, fresh air ventilation, creating low/no-touch environments and inclusion of santisier stations.

As well as the upturn in digital alternatives, allowing events to have virtual counterparts and investigating the use of different platforms for different purposes to allow audiences to engage in the most effective way.

There are also operational considerations, such as enhanced cleaning schedules and provision of PPE. 

As we travel through these times of a ‘new normal’, Bompas & Parr has created a series of Christmas concepts that can be enjoyed safely in a post pandemic society. 

Community Christmas festivities 

Having undergone months of social distancing and adhering to no crowd gathering rules, Christmas will be an opportunity to highlight and build up the community spirit that has risen from the pandemic. Bompas & Parr envisages community based Christmas festivities that follow the familiarity of coming together, but with a virtual or physical twist. This Christmas, expect to see events such as ‘Christmas Spirit Sharing’ – making the most of sharing merry messages in a blended landscape (the mix of physical and digital). 

Bompas & Parr also predicts crowd pleasing delights such as a ‘Turbo Cracker Emporium’, allowing visitors to partake in their own pyrotechnics display to simply blast the past year away.

Socially distanced Christmas cheer

Whilst community is important at Christmas, there will still be some anxiety around gathering with loved ones, as the fear of a second wave of the virus lingers. 

The drive-through experience will be a key player this year, as the safety of the confines of a car interior with loved ones allows for entertainment from the comfort of a car seat. Bompas & Parr envisages the drive-through taking on a Christmas twist, with family-filled cars taken on a magical journey; expect to see Elves on rollerskates, car-light-morse-code wishes and car washes converted into snow storm machines. 

For those that don’t have a car, we imagine many more distanced activities such as ‘Orbital Feasting’ – dinner served between distanced guests on a train, and even the emergence of Christmas based scavenger hunts, allowing for small groups to explore towns at a distance.

Visionary sanitisation

By Christmas, we will all be using hand sanitiser as regularly as we were once touching our faces. Germ-free skin will subconsciously be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. That being said, inner health and wellbeing will also be paramount. 

Bompas & Parr envisages the creation of ‘Glow Forth’, the world’s first glow-in-the-dark recharge cafe, where every drink glows to naturally invigorate the body and mind. 

For those concerned about the implications of COVID-19 on their Christmas party this year, a set of Party Sanitiser Pieces is also being prototyped, from an antibacterial Snow Extravaganza to a Cloud of Cleanliness – an array of baubles that erupt with sanitiser.

Stimulation for the senses 

If the pandemic is fully over by Christmas, then expect to see a new lease of hope. For this, Bompas & Parr imagines the continuation of the rainbow symbol, but in the form of a giant flavour rainbow for all to enjoy. We’ll see monuments of memoirs, as well as collective wishes for the future, portrayed through a bio-responsive ice rink.

Sam Bompass added: “2020 has been the year that nobody expected, but we can now better prepare for the future, learning from the behavioural changes set out during lockdown. Creativity is something that the Coronavirus cannot take away, allowing us to retain a sense of optimism for what’s to come next.”