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Author  Amy Metcalfe

December 4, 2020 |

 3 min read

  • Blog
  • Project planning
  • Risk management

As Christmas looms, families everywhere are trying to decide how to celebrate. It’s been one crazy year, and that craziness has infected (no pun intended) all our assumptions and expectations about typical festive holidays.

You may be wondering if there’s any point to celebrations this year. It’s hard to give glad tidings when you might not be allowed to see anyone. A Santa Claus with a mask over his beard, however necessary, isn’t very jolly. Well, we don’t know what will happen between now and Christmas, but we do know that many revelries and traditions are still safe and should stop for no man—or, you know, pandemic.

Maybe you need persuading. ITIL® 4: Direct, Plan and Improve outlines how to write a simple business case, which is essentially a document designed to explain why your idea is good.

The simple business case described in DPI has five sections. The business case for 2020 Christmas celebrations looks something like this*.


We want to end the year on a positive note. Okay, so we probably can’t have a big family Christmas or take that skiing holiday we’ve been saving for since 2015. That doesn’t mean we should get nothing!

We have to say goodbye to several traditions this year, but we can still celebrate safely. We can send cards and presents through the post, decorate our homes, eat ridiculous amounts of food, and sing carols loudly and badly at every opportunity.

It’s not just that we can do these things, but that we should. Celebrating however we can will positively impact our mental health and general happiness.

Methods and assumptions used

Our recommendations are based on two assumptions.

  1. Pandemic-related restrictions in your area mean it’s impossible to visit family, host Christmas dinner, attend religious services, or generally celebrate in the ways you would in any other year.
  2. The inability to celebrate in these ways makes you sad.

Business impacts and outcomes

Celebrating, even in limited ways, is better than not celebrating at all. Traditions bring a sense of comfort, reassurance, and connection. In this tumultuous ocean of a year, traditions are a lifeboat. They help us retain a sense of normality in a world where nothing is normal.

Besides this, all of the usual benefits of Christmas celebrations still apply. Presents, food, twinkly lights, reams of wrapping paper (recyclable, please), and endless repeats of your Christmas playlist. Think of the smell of hot mince pies. Are you smiling? Yes? Good—that’s what we’re going for.

Risks and contingencies

If we take no action, failing to celebrate at all, we risk ending the year with a depressing amount of nothing. The negative impacts of failing to mark special events and celebrate milestones cannot be overstated. We need to stop sleepwalking through life. We need to say goodbye to this long, long year with tinsel and brandy butter.

Of course, celebrating also has risks. There’s the risk of bad cracker jokes, dodgy Zoom video calls, and having way too much turkey left over because you don’t know how to scale down. What if you power all the way through ‘Last Christmas’ in a virtual karaoke session only to be told you were on mute?

Well, laugh at the bad jokes, use a wired internet connection, and pre-emptively research turkey curry recipes. If you’re on mute during karaoke, maybe that’s a good thing.


I think my recommendations are fairly clear. Celebrate! Invest in absurd amounts of fake snow (environmentally friendly, please) and model polar bears. Climb into the loft and find your lights, wreathes, and baubles. Start stocking up on cranberry sauce now.

It won’t be the same, but it will still be Christmas. And who knows? Maybe this is the year that some new traditions will be born.

*applicable to any other big holidays or remote family gatherings