Press releases

Press release: Brits to light up homes earlier this year

As Brits put up their Christmas lights early to cheer their homes, ShelterBox reveals it gave 300 million hours of solar light to families in 2019.

25 November 2020

Woman holding baby holding a solar light

Press release – 26 November 2020

With mixed feelings about seeing loved ones and celebrating the festive season with them this unprecedented year, Britons are feeling understandably gloomy about Covid Christmas.
A survey by disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, reveals nearly two thirds of Brits (60%) are less excited for the festive season compared to last year. Pessimism being particularly high for older people, with two thirds (68%) of over 55s feeling less joyful.

But festive lights may hold the answer. Of those surveyed, over half (53%) said lights are their favourite decoration to put up at home to celebrate Christmas – way ahead of other festive decs like baubles (34%) and tinsel (28%). This year, nearly a quarter (22%) will put them up earlier. The core reason given – to be cheered up and feel cosy amid the pandemic. In London almost a third (31%) will put their lights up earlier this year.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter, solar lights, and other home essentials to people around the world after disaster. The charity commissioned the survey to highlight the pivotal role that light can play in all our lives. ShelterBox will be responding right through the winter, including to survivors of Typhoon Goni in the Philippines, Hurricane Eta in Honduras, and displaced families facing another brutal winter in Syria.

Robyn Cummins, Director of Fundraising at ShelterBox, says: ‘Lights are the heart of the festive season for many of us – after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Philippines in November 2013, traditional Christmas star lanterns, “parols”, were still raised over the wreckage as a sign of hope.

‘Although Christmas will feel different for all of us this year, in some areas of the Philippines and Honduras (where the festival is both a religious and family celebration), the situation is dire. These countries have been hit by multiple typhoons and hurricanes recently, with millions left homeless.

‘Our homes are a place to be together, to feel safe, cook, study, and play – but when homes and power are lost in a disaster, none of that is possible. That’s why we include solar lights in our emergency shelter aid. Light brings a sense of hope and helps families to recover some sense of home.’

Right now, more than 113 million people around the world have been made homeless by disaster or conflict. In the face of disaster, basic human needs are the focus: water, food, and shelter. But without light, it can be extremely hard for families to satisfy these needs and start recovering. An estimated 1.1 billion people around the world – or 14% of the global population – have no access to electricity (IEA, 2017) – including those who have fled their homes after disaster. As with the other aid items the charity provides, like tents, tarpaulins, cooking sets, and water filters, solar lights are a practical solution. One solar light provides around 10,000 hours of light. Last year alone, ShelterBox provided 30,000 solar lights to families after disaster – that’s 300 MILLION hours of light in the dark.

To support ShelterBox’s Christmas appeal, visit:


For more information and the full statistics please contact the ShelterBox Media Team

A survey of 2,007 nationally representative UK respondents. 30.10.20 – 02.11.20. Carried out by Censuswide on behalf of ShelterBox.

Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.