• Thu. May 30th, 2024

A Christmas Wrap-Up: the holiday habits of Brits this season

ByIlana Pearce

Jan 19, 2020

The holiday period is defined by tradition. We hum carols, wince at sprouts and sport colourful paper crowns as, in the words of rock and roll legend Billy Mack, ‘Christmas is all around us’. But the festival is practised differently across the globe: Australians barbecue on the beach, Norwegians eat rice pudding and Venezuelans roller skate to mass. Even the holiday habits of the British public vary from home to home. This round-up of recent YouGov polls shows how the UK celebrated Christmas this year.


Christmas Ordering is the new Christmas Shopping

More and more Brits are taking to their devices to do their Christmas shopping each year. This winter, 34% of people said that they did most of their Christmas shopping online, and 12% of adults used only online stores like Amazon. 

Online shopping is viewed as effortless and convenient. Shoppers said they like being able to compare prices more easily, and many believe that a better range of products and retailers are offered. 

Alternatively, those who preferred shopping in store say they want to support local shops and enjoy the experience. When it comes to Black Friday, 74% of Brits feel it makes the lead-up to Christmas more commercialised and only serves as a way for brands to get rid of old stock. But this didn’t seem to affect business: the top products sold were fashion, then cosmetics, followed by toys.


When does Christmas really begin?

The nationwide dispute surrounding the beginning of Christmas is an annual affair. While polls show that some deem it acceptable to start playing Christmas music once Halloween is over, others mark December 1st as the start date of the festive period. 

As for present-buying this year, many UK shoppers preferred to think ahead, a trend particularly common amongst women. 1 in 8 Brits bought all of their gifts by December 11th, and when asked how many of their presents they had purchased by December 18th, 38% of people said they had bought all of them. 


How much do we spend at Christmas?

The results revealed that the average Brit spends a staggering £1,116 at Christmas. Those who struggle financially often feel the pressure of the festive period, with 79% of over-indebted Brits saying that Christmas gets more difficult to afford each year, but 67% of them say that cancelling Christmas is not an option. 

Many admit to spending more than they should. One fifth of adults spent over £500 on presents alone. However, young people are much more likely to be thrifty with their purchases: a large number of 18 to 24-year-olds spent under £50 this Christmas.


Mental health over the holidays

With the cost of the celebrations and the weight of the organisational demand, Christmas can be a challenging time for many. A quarter of people feel Christmas makes their mental health worse, saying they often experience stress and anxiety. 

Those who are unemployed, divorced or widowed are amongst the groups most likely to struggle during the Christmas period. Women also seem to carry the burden more, as only 35% of men say they feel stressed around Christmas compared to 51% of women.

The holiday is typically considered a time for family, warmth and cheer, though this is not always the case. A fifth of people said they experience loneliness at Christmas.

However, YouGov found that young people tend to feel happier over the Christmas period. Over half of 18 to 24-year-olds say their mental health is better in December. As January can also be gloomy, mental health charity Mind recommends practical distractions to keep busy, as well as being supportive and listening to others.


What makes you a Grinch?

The YouGov researchers analysed the profiles of the people who said they dislike Christmas to find out what qualities a scrooge might have. 

15% of those surveyed said they didn’t like Christmas. Age was an important factor in this result, as 55% of these people were over 50. They were also more likely to live alone and less likely to have children.

These ‘grinches’ are more likely to take a dim view of marriage, strongly oppose the idea of Britain’s monarchy, believe ‘the Olympics is more financial trouble to a city then it’s worth’ and say they don’t understand what emojis mean. 


Festive Facts:

Other interesting trends revealed by the polls

22% of people said the General Election made them feel ‘less Christmassy’ this year

18% said they watch the Queen’s Speech closely, 43% don’t have it on at all

At Christmas, Brits consume on average 175 million mince pies

The world record for the largest Secret Santa, organised on Reddit, involved 89, 421 people

The John Lewis and Waitrose Christmas advert is said to have cost £7 million to make


Image: via cairogossip.com