Hubbly Bubbly Bubbles
Can I finally hug my family, or what?
Which five days can we see our friends and family?
The bollox rules come into effect causing massive traffic queues and roadblocks as everyone heads out of town on Wednesday, December 23, and will last until the end of Sunday, December 27 when there are very likely to be even more traffic queues building up because people may still be pissed.
How many people can I have in my Christmas bubble?
There’s no limit on the number of people per bubble, which means that 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation cousins with their extended families will be more than welcome, but the new rule is that only up to three household bubbles can mix over Christmas. So, for example, you and your live-in partner could join your parents’ home – and Auntie could come round for turkey, too, and Uncle could stand in between keeping you at a safe distance. The advice is to keep your bubble as small as possible except if your family meets the custom amounts of around 35 as per some Communities.
Can we stay overnight in a home different from our own?
You can! And we’re really fucking pleased to be able to say that you CAN do something. You can stay in the home of anyone within your Christmas bubble. You can also stay in rented accommodation with people in your Christmas bubble during the period, so nipping out for a shag overnight would be on our Agenda, but you can only stay in hotels with people in your household or support bubble so if you wanted to treat your carer to some luxury while you shagged them then we suggest this hotel.
Can I change my bubble during the five-day window?
Unfortunately, you can’t fit in Friendsmas drinks on Christmas Eve followed by family Christmas Day dinner. Once you’ve bubbled up, you can’t change which households you interact with over the Christmas period so we suggest you bring all of your friends.
Can I hit the pub on Boxing Day with the whole Christmas bubble?
This new three-way bubble will be restricted to interactions in private residences, places of worship, and the great outdoors unless your landlord owns and resides in the pub which would make it in our eyes a private residence. We wish we were in your bubble!
Can I move between tiers to join my Christmas bubble?
Yes! The rules around travelling are unbelievably set to be lifted for the five days, allowing people to move between tiers – and even nations. And those travelling to and from Northern Ireland can use Tuesday 22 and Monday 28 as extra travel days. More on that here.
Do I need to isolate myself before seeing family this Christmas?
There’s no strict guideline on this, but the government is advising you to reduce contact with people you do not live with two weeks prior to forming your new bubble, including working from home if you are able to. Those who are clinically vulnerable have been warned to make very careful decisions around their Christmas plans this year.
What if I’ve been told to self-isolate?
Unfortunately, you’ll have to continue to do so. You’re on your own and you can watch everybody else enjoying themselves!
Can I meet my friends – within local tier rules – before bubbling up with my family?
Absolutely. In the run-up to December 23, you can continue according to local tier rules. Between December 23 and 27, if you’re going to be bubbling up for Christmas, you can meet who you like and where you like as long as it’s in a bubbling situation.
And can I leave the bubble and then return to it – to go for a walk with a friend, for example?
You can. You’ve got to stick to those social distancing rules, and you can only meet in outdoor settings. No visits to individuals’ houses if they fall outside your festive bubble. But why would you want to leave your bubble in the first place where you can’t sit down because there are so many people in it?
Do I and those in my support bubble count as one of the three bubbles, or as two separate bubbles?
Good news! Pre-existing support bubbles count as one of the three in your special household allowance. Post-existing bubbles fall out of the allotted time frame of between the 23rd and 27 December.
Do students returning from University count as an individual bubble?
Nope! Luckily, they can re-form one single bubble with the family household they return to for the holidays where they’ll likely want to stay in seeing as there will be booze galore!
What about childcare bubbles?
Those can continue to be used, but only if ‘reasonably necessary’, apparently, and seeing as you’ll most likely be getting bladdered we think it’s a good idea to keep help at hand.
And what about co-parenting arrangements?
Children under 18 are allowed to move between two household Christmas bubbles should their parents be separated. Sorry to all of you over the age of 18 who probably won’t care anyway because you’ll be too pissed.
Do I have to spend Christmas with my current household bubble?
Sick of your housemates after almost a year of this shit? Give yourself a well-earned break. You can each form separate Christmas bubbles – you might want to check with your partner first to avoid World War Three, though, but I’d be mindful she’s not playing away too.
How do I exit the bubble?
The same way you went in.
And is it hugs all round?
Once you’ve formed a bubble, anything goes! The government says you should keep houses ventilated and follow social-distancing guidelines and hygiene best practice. Consider carefully clinically vulnerable and elderly relatives, and if you’re making it a short stay, (as if 5 days isn’t short enough) you might also want to consider keeping up the social distancing. But yes… you can hug people in your Christmas bubble which would mean you won’t have to book into a hotel or rent a room!
Yes… it’s a lot for the sake of one holiday and we’re only doing this because we’re really quite frightened to lock you all down. And here we were hoping Christmas bubbles meant copious amounts of supermarket champagne, (why did you think we bought the expensive stuff!?). But if it means a bit of normality after the weirdest year on record, we’ll take it.
What’s the latest on tiers? Find out here.