public surveys

‘Happy’ Christmas expectations rise in 2nd year of pandemic – SWS survey

Bea Cupin
‘Happy’ Christmas expectations rise in 2nd year of pandemic – SWS survey

SECOND PANDEMIC CHRISTMAS. Shoppers crowd stalls selling an assortment of affordable gifts as they traverse the stretch of Ylaya street in Divisoria for a last-minute shopping, dawn of Christmas eve December 24, 2021.


More than half of adults surveyed said they won’t be attending in-person gatherings with friends and family from other households

More Filipinos are expecting their second Christmas in a pandemic to be a “happy” one, according to a Social Weather Stations survey released on Christmas eve. 

According to the survey, held from December 12-16, 2021, a big majority or 65% of Filipino adults expected Christmas to be happy (masaya), 8% expected it to be sad (malungkot), and 22% percent expected a Christmas that was neither happy nor sad. 

Respondents were asked: “Sa pangkalahatan, masasabi po ba ninyo na ang inyong Pasko ngayong taon ay magiging (Read out: Masaya; Malungkot; Hindi masaya at hindi rin malungkot)?” 

[On the whole, would you say that your Christmas this year will be (Read out: Happy; Sad; Not happy and not sad)?]

The 65% figure is an improvement from the record low 50% from 2020, the first Christmas spent under the COVID-19 pandemic. Less people (8%) also expected a sad Christmas this year, from a record-high 15% in 2020. Less people also expected a Christmas that was neither happy nor sad in 2021 (22%), an 11-point drop from last year’s record-high of 33%. 

Still, 42% of Filipinos said Christmas in 2021 was not as happy as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Meanwhile, 25% said it was the same, while 26% said it was happier than before. 

The survey had a +/-2.6% margin of error for national percentages, and a +/- 5.2% margin of error for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Despite the loosening of travel restrictions and the speedy vaccine rollout, 51% of those surveyed said they will not be attending in-person events with family or friends from other households. But nearly half of respondents – 46% – said they would. 

Only 13% of those surveyed said they will be traveling to visit family and friends, while 84% said they would not. 

Among those surveyed, expectations of a happy Christmas was higher from those who did intend to mingle with people from different households or those who planned on traveling during the holidays – most or 82% of those who planned to travel or mingle with people from other households were expecting a happy Christmas. Of those who were still minimizing contact outside of their household, only 52% expected a happy Christmas. 

This year’s Christmas was also seen to be happier than pre-pandemic times for those who were attending in-person gatherings and traveling. Plans to travel during Christmas was highest among Metro Manila and Balance Luzon respondents (18% and 17%). 

Among the island groups, expectations of a happy Christmas rose from 2020 to 2021, save for Mindanao. 

It was the Visayas that seemed the most optimistic of a happy Christmas (68%) and considered Christmas in 2021 to be happier now than in pre-pandemic times (32% in the Visayas, compared to 24-25% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, and Mindanao, respectively). 

It’s important to note, however, that the survey was held before the rampage of Typhoon Odette (Rai). The typhoon devastated many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao. 

The survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews with 1,440 adults from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. –

Bea Cupin

Bea is a journalist.