A very different Christmas, with loo roll, hand sanitiser and masks among gifts planned for a COVID Christmas

  • Face masks and hand sanitisers are making their debut in stockings this year [1]
  • Useful gifts are favourite as almost two fifths of Brits (38%) expect people will ask for more practical items this year
  • Brits plan for the ‘new normal’ as 17% are set to buy Christmas presents they never normally would

It’s no surprise that we’re in store for a very different Christmas this year. However, according to a new report [1], over a fifth of Brits are planning to gift family and friends with face masks or hand sanitiser – certainly not your usual stocking fillers.

The new study from leading savings site, VoucherCodes.co.uk, highlights over a third of Brits (38%) think people will be asking for more practical items over the indulgent things they would usually have on their lists at this time of year.

Almost a fifth of Brits also plan to buy things as Christmas presents this year that never normally would (17%). As the festive period gets closer, alongside the usual stocking fillers, we are expecting to see a rise practical gifts such as face masks (22%) and hand sanitiser (21%). However, there’s practical and then there’s toilet roll and dry pasta. We kid you not, these will be making an appearance in stockings up and down the country with 19% saying toilet paper is on their gifting list this year, along with dry pasta (12%) and even canned food items (10%).

Of course, unusual and quirky gifts are even more popular this year.  One unusual gift that lends itself well to these times is a title, such as a Lord or Lady or even a female knight!

2020 stocking fillers:


Item % of people buying as a gift
Face masks 22%
Hand sanitiser 21%
Toilet paper 19%
Dry pasta 12%
Rubber gloves 10%
Canned food items 10%


Gift givers in Liverpool and Birmingham are most likely to give their loved ones a face mask (31%), whereas those in Leicester favour toilet roll as their practical stocking filler of choice (26%). Some cities however, are still looking for more traditional gifts – as almost three quarters (71%) of people from Newcastle say they won’t be looking to purchase any practical gifts, even as a joke!

During the pandemic, there has been a shift in the things we’ve been stocking up on as a nation. The surge in people working from home and general lockdown life has created new product trends, and it seems that this is set to impact how we give gifts this Christmas. One in 20 people said they’d like a Zoom subscription from Santa on Christmas Day and 6% are hoping for a bread maker. However, it comes as no surprise that the most in demand ‘lockdown comforts’ making it to the top of wish lists include some new loungewear (12%) and workout gear (10%).


Popular items from the pandemic expected on this year’s Christmas lists:


Rank Item %
1. Leisure/casualwear 12%
2. Gym clothes or shoes 10%
3. Alcohol subscription 9%
4. Jigsaw 9%
5. Streaming service subscription 9%
6. DIY tools 9%
7. Bedding 9%
8. Bike 8%
9. Home workout equipment e.g. kettlebells/dumbbells 8%
10. Food box subscription 7%


Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, commented: “This Christmas is due to be like no other, and it’s interesting to see how much our Christmas gift lists will be changing this year, and that simple day-to-day items could be the most popular gifts!

“It seems that many of us will be opting for more practical items and even looking to inject some humour into our festivities by switching out sweets in our stocking for loo roll and pasta. Although there’s promise signs of getting back to normality in 2021, it’s interesting to hear many of us are still looking for ‘lockdown comforts’ such as loungewear, streaming service subscriptions and home workout equipment for Christmas, all of which can be used long into the new year.

“Whatever you’re looking to purchase for Christmas, it’s so important to ensure you’re getting the most for your money, so do shop around. At VoucherCodes.co.uk we have plenty of deals available, so whether you’re on the lookout for loungewear or DIY tools, we’ve got you covered.”