For many people, much of the joy of the festive period comes from hugging: the ultimate expression of human connection and solidarity. Huddling up over a pint at the pub on Christmas Eve, curling up in front of the fire while watching our favourite Christmas rom-com (for the 100th time) or big bear hugs after unwrapping gifts to each other – usually, physical contact is routine at this time of year. This is the focal point of “We Will Hug Again”, Zalando’s new holiday campaign and accompanying film, set to Frank Ocean’s heartwarming track “Godspeed”. It’s full of hope and warmth for a future when we can all physically connect once again.
The benefits of hugging are abundant: it boosts our happiness, eases stress, relieves pain, bolsters our immune system, helps us sleep better, makes us feel closer to others (causing the release of oxytocin aka the “love hormone”) and more. After a challenging year of uncertainty and separation, social distancing has meant we’ve missed out on these benefits, too.
We might be unable to have all of our closest pals over for ‘friendsmas’ dinner, throw big family parties or embrace many of our loved ones after another month of lockdown but we can still show them how much we care – they just won’t be able to give us a thank you hug afterwards.
We will embrace each other again but in the meantime, click through for some alternative ways to feel close to others as we round off an unforgettable year, when human connection feels more important than ever.