Never has a generation been so united with one Christmas wish – a world without Covid! Finally, we see glimmers of hope that the new vaccine will return us all to some form of ‘normality’ in 2021.
Before we get too excited there’s Christmas! This year I feel Christmas will be different, less boastful – more emphasis on appreciating what we have, rather than what we receive. Also, the poignant absence of family and friends both temporary and permanent will be hard for many of us to accept.
Christmas will be different in the way we embrace and buy our gifts, and this could reflect how we will choose to live and invest in 2021.
Big is not always beautiful
The periodic closures of our Great British High Street’s this year have taken its toll on some of our biggest retail names. Established stores such as Topshop and Debenhams have crumbled in the wake of empty shopping centres. Hence, accelerating the already fast growing switch to online shopping. In spite of all this an opportunity and hunger, from us, the consumer to support smaller more local producers has never been greater.
Even Facebook has morphed into a ‘shop window’ for artisans, as new pages form with titles such as ‘Not on Amazon’ where small producers can gain exposure and buyers can actually find these smaller gems. The ‘new retail norm’ in 2021 will, of course, have meant the demise of some big names and companies we all know so well, but it will also bring about new opportunities for other companies. It will be interesting to see which companies see growth as we head into 2021/22.
This is not only a buzz word in gifting terms but in investment terms too. The global lockdown has provided a real world demonstration of how our harmful behaviours have had a detrimental effect on air quality, the environment and animals. We will not forget the footage of dolphins frolicking in Venice in a hurry!
While shampoo bars and clothes made from recycled plastic are selling out on the internet, investors are turning their attention increasingly to being ‘green’ or/and ‘sustainable’. In years gone by, wanting to invest with any shade of ‘green’ necessitated waving goodbye to making any money on your investments. Happily, this is no longer the case. Portfolios that include sustainability are seeing impressive gains. We at Legal and Medical have a long standing interest in sustainable investing and recently we have seen a marked increase in appetite with our clients. If you want to discuss making your holdings more ethical and sustainable get in touch.
Wellness and self care
We have all had to adapt since Covid took hold. Navigating our way through working from home, homeschooling, managing the upset caused to our loved ones by missed GCSEs, A levels, finals, proms, weddings and funerals have all been a challenge. The gloomy weather in Lockdown 2 did little to help us either, so it won’t come as any surprise that the combination of 2 Lockdowns and Covid have increased rates of suicide and depression.
Self care has become so vital. The benefit of exercise is truly evident, whether you have been sweating it out with Joe Wicks every morning for months, or taking socially distanced walks with friends have all helped our mental wellbeing. The dogs of Great Britain have also enjoyed the time with their pack and the extra time outside!
But how do we navigate our mental wellbeing as we transition back into our hectic lives again when we return to the new ‘normal’?
I find the only way to keep calm during times of great change is to bring order. I am renowned for my need to move furniture when I am worrying, and at times of great stress you’ll find me with my back pressed firmly against the largest sideboard I own, and my feet against the wall making bear-like noises with the effort. But if that’s not for you, can I suggest checking in with your financial adviser and making sure your financial situation is fit to take on the new challenges, and adventures that 2021 will offer.
You have changed in 2020 and the world has changed too. Take the time to review everything from your income protection to your future plans and investments.
Gifts that give back
Like everyone, I feel most of the fall-out from Covid can take a long run off a short pier, but one of the things I hope remains is the feeling of wanting to give back or share what we have with others. Whether it’s donating some of your weekly shop to a foodbank, dropping off essentials to isolating neighbours or writing letters to care home residents you have never met are all to be commended. Many of us have helped ourselves by helping others with little acts of kindness, and we’ve seen it doesn’t have to be big or expensive.
As Barack Obama puts it, “If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
Why not extend this kindness to the gifts you buy? My whole family will be padding about in lovely new socks on Christmas morning from STAND4socks. They donate a pair of socks to a homeless person for every sale. Did you know socks are the most requested items in homeless shelters?
Or if you want to make someone you can’t visit smile today why not download the Hugg app – Rewards and incentives made easy and gift a loved one a take out hot chocolate, coffee or cake. You simply select and pay using the app and Hugg sends them your message and instructions on how to collect their little treat. I did it for my niece during her lockdown in York recently and I hope, in a little way, it reminded her she is in my thoughts and how much I miss her.
I also know several local cafes who will accept payment for hot drinks and then deliver them to those sleeping on the streets nearby, if you want to be more anonymous.
2021 promises to be hard work but I’m up for the challenge and cannot wait until I can travel safely and start seeing my clients face to face again. I’ll be thanking each and every one of you for your work during the crisis and look forward to helping you mould your finances to ensure you and your families enjoy a happy, relaxing, fun-filled future.
Merry Christmas, and remember to spread a little kindness this year!