23andMe Finds Pandemic is Forcing Majority of People to Change Holiday Plans

November 18, 2020

  • Almost two-thirds of individuals say Covid-19 is hindering traditional holiday activities

SUNNYVALE, California – November 18, 2020– In March, we would never have guessed that we would still be in the throes of a global pandemic heading into the holiday season. As COVID-19 cases continue to mount, a new survey looked at how people are planning to celebrate differently this year.

Less Family Bonding Time this Holiday Season

Commissioned by 23andMe, the survey found over half of respondents do not plan to attend holiday gatherings such as Thanksgiving (51 percent) and Christmas / Hanukkah (53 percent) in person this year. In addition, almost two thirds (62 percent) agree that they will not be able to do all the traditional holiday activities and celebrations they want to do this year because of the pandemic.

When asked what will be different about this year’s holidays, 41 percent say they will not be traveling for the holidays this year, and 34 percent say their friends and family will not be traveling to them. Forty-four percent say there will be fewer community parties or none at all, and 40 percent say there will be smaller family gatherings. Further, most won’t be gathering for the ball drop as 68 percent do not plan to attend a New Year’s Party.

Holiday blues

People are feeling the effects of eight months under lockdown. According to the survey, almost 50 percent of individuals feel more stressed and less connected to their families than they did heading into the holidays last year. This number jumps to 59 percent for Generation Z (those aged 18-24).

People are also more worried about their health heading into the holidays (38 percent), with more individuals sleeping less (36 percent), exercising less (34 percent), and gaining weight (33 percent) compared to last year. This new reality is likely contributing to the fact that almost one-third of respondents (32 percent) say they feel more depressed in 2020.

The gift of health

When it comes to gift giving, nearly half (48 percent) of respondents plan to spend less on gifts this year, and a similar amount (43 percent) are turning to online holiday shopping instead of shopping in-person.

Those under forty, however, have shifted their focus to health and wellness this year — fifty-eight percent of Generation Z say they would like to give or receive a health and wellness product, followed by 42 percent of millennials (aged 25-34). Those who plan to give health and wellness products say they are thinking more about their health in 2020 (31 percent) and want 2021 to be a healthier year for them and their families (34 percent). In terms of what type of gift this same group would like to give or receive, 27 percent say fitness equipment.


This online survey was designed by 23andMe and conducted through SurveyMonkey from Oct 21-24, 2020 among a national sample of 1,031 adults ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this time period have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, the company’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has pioneered direct access to genetic information as the only company with multiple FDA clearances for genetic health reports. The company has created the world’s largest crowdsourced platform for genetic research, with 80% of its customers electing to participate. The 23andMe research platform has generated more than 180 publications on the genetic underpinnings of a wide range of diseases. The platform also powers the 23andMe Therapeutics group, currently pursuing drug discovery programs rooted in human genetics across a spectrum of disease areas, including oncology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas. More information is available at www.23andMe.com.