Insider Poll: After a tumultuous 2020 in a pandemic, the majority of Americans are changing how they celebrate the 2020 holiday season

  • In mid-December, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines for the winter holiday season and suggested avoiding travel by plane, bus, or train for gatherings.
  • According to Insider polling, more than three-fourths of respondents said they were planning to celebrate the holidays differently this year.
  • When asked about their holiday plans, over a quarter of respondents said they had already canceled and about 10% of respondents told Insider they still intended to travel over the holiday season.
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December is traditionally a reprieve from the stresses of work as families from many backgrounds spend time together for the winter holiday season. Amidst a raging pandemic, however, Americans are adjusting their holiday plans accordingly.

Recent polling from Insider and SurveyMonkey showed that 76% of respondents told Insider they were changing how they traditionally celebrate the holidays.

On December 16, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines for the winter holidays and suggested that anyone planning on traveling by bus, train, or airplane to consider making other arrangements, such as a virtual gathering instead. 

When asked about plans for the December holiday season, over a quarter of Insider's survey respondents said they had canceled those arrangements. A further breakdown of responses are as follows:

  • 54% of respondents said they never made holiday plans to begin with.
  • About 10% of respondents said they still planned on traveling.
  • Nearly 5% of respondents said they were considering canceling their current plans.

This analysis comes from a SurveyMonkey Audience poll taken on December 21. The poll collected 1,123 respondents who were asked about coronavirus holiday plans, the congressional stimulus package, plus a number of other questions.

According to the CDC, there have been over 1.5 million new coronavirus cases in the last week alone and over 320,000 total deaths related to COVID-19. Despite repeated warnings from the CDC and federal government for Thanksgiving, over a million people traveled by plane on Thanksgiving eve — the most since March. 

While speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" just days after Thanksgiving, the leader of the US's response to the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the country needs to make decisions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We're going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city, and family," Fauci said. "If we can hang together as a country and do these kinds of things to blunt these surges until we get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, we can get through this. There really is light at the end of the tunnel."

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Polling data collected 1,123 respondents on December 21. All polls carried approximately a 3 percentage point margin of error individually.

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