Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Though celebrated by millions of people across the UK, the true meaning of Christmas is interpreted differently by the population and each individual has their own unique way of marking the special occasion. Our #RLDChristmas Twitter chat and data research found that while some families take the opportunity to go all out and some have age-old traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation (the cheesier the better), others prefer to keep it as more of a low-key affair. The same can also be said about how early people begin their festive celebrations (is November too soon?!) and the habits people have when it comes to buying presents for their friends and family (are novelty socks and toiletries sets old news?).
With Yuletide festivities in full swing, we wanted to delve a little deeper into the Christmas traditions, sentiments and habits of the nation. Making memories is at the heart of what we do and we believe there’s no better occasion than Christmas to remember the good times and make brand new memories to cherish.
Massive thanks to respondents of our survey and festive friends who joined us for our recent Christmas Twitter chat (what a hoot!), it helped us shed light on how we celebrate Christmas as a nation. Here’s what we unwrapped!
What does Christmas really mean to us?
Christmas means varying things to different people. But at the core of the celebrations lies family and making unforgettable memories together. Spending the festive period with nearest and dearest was a resounding theme when our participants were asked what they loved most about Christmas. For some, it’s the one time of the year their entire family gets together, making it all the more special.
A4 Being surrounded by family and friends and how we laugh at the jokes and stories! #RLDChristmas
— Michael ✈️ (@swimforce01) November 30, 2017
In the main, the most fondly remembered Christmas memories are those from childhood. It’s such a magical time when you’re a kid and looking back in adult years really does prove that great memories stay with you forever!
I was a kid, it started snowing I looked across & there was my daddy, I only see him once a year it was my wish come true! #RLDChristmas
— Lauren (@Lauren0_x) November 30, 2017
Traditions are key to making each family’s Christmas celebrations unique to them and extra special in their very own way. From putting the tree up together in preparation for the big day or getting stuck into some festive baking with the kids, to wearing silly Christmas hats and jumpers, these traditions all contribute to the magical feeling at Christmas.
2. We have so many traditions, choosing and decorating our tree together, the kindness elves come to visit and we put together Christmas Eve box for the children with pjs, books, a film and treats #RLDChristmas
— Taryn – 3 little ladies & me (@3_little_ladies) November 30, 2017
I take my girls to the Christmas markets every year, thats are little tradition we stuff are faces on Christmas goodies #RLDChristmas
— Nicola ❄☃️❄ (@niclou84) November 30, 2017
Fancy checking out a Christmas market this winter? Here’s our round-up of the top Christmas markets in the UK.
Christmas shopping – What’s the best approach?
When quizzed on Christmas shopping habits, our respondents revealed that they prefer to think outside of the box when it comes to buying presents. Many shared that rather than going down the tried and tested route, they found true joy in getting their loved ones something more creative, to provide lasting memories.
I always try to be original! I like to gift people experiences that they will remember forever rather than something that they will not have forever. #RLDChristmas
— Lilla Mudblood (@LillaJade) November 30, 2017
Tickets for a concert or show they’ll love, or vouchers for an original experience or trip, such as adrenaline sports, supercar driving or spa days are increasingly popular choices. After all, material commodities may provide temporary happiness, but memories last a lifetime!
— Emma A (@EmmaPlus4) November 30, 2017
We also asked the dreaded question of when exactly people get around to doing their Christmas shopping – there are always going to be those last minute shoppers who can be found scampering around the high street in a panic on Christmas Eve, no matter how many times they tell themselves “Never again”!
60% of our respondents claimed to be organised shoppers who plan what they are going to buy in advance to save stress. On the other hand, 16% confessed to leaving it until the last minute. Whoops!
Which camp do you sit in?
Are the festive celebrations starting earlier and earlier?
When is it appropriate to begin the festive celebrations? Avid Christmas lovers may say as soon as Halloween and Bonfire Night are done and dusted, it’s Christmas a go-go! In contrast, there will always be those who roll their eyes at the mere mention of Christmas before the 12 day countdown. We asked our respondents at what point they put their Christmas decorations up and just over half told us that the Christmas tree makes an appearance at the beginning of December, followed by 21% who leave it until the middle of advent to deck out the house festively. Of course, we had a few early birds too, with 19% admitting their decorations go up in November, including one lady from the US who sticks to their stateside tradition of putting decorations up the day after Thanksgiving.
— The Baking Nanna (@thebakingnanna1) November 30, 2017
Fancy getting creative this Christmas? Make your very own decorations with our DIY guide!
Christmas films are an absolute must for getting into the festive mood in the lead up to Christmas! Ranking first on our list of the most popular festive flicks, was the most quotable Christmas film of them all – Elf, of course! The Home Alone series and feel-good rom-com Love Actually followed close behind – because we all need a bit of romance at Christmas!
— Carla (@Welshbybirth) November 30, 2017
When you think of Christmas Day, it probably conjures up images of mouthwateringly indulgent food, unwrapping gifts and spending time in good company. We asked our survey respondents what Christmas Day looks like for them and it would appear that old traditions die hard. The majority of people spend the day either at their own home or at a family member’s house, while only one person opts for something a little unorthodox, by using the time off work over Christmas to go on holiday.
2 – my family always, always, ALWAYS has smoked salmon & bagels for breakfast on Christmas morning! There would be a revolt if I tried to change it now. ;) #RLDChristmas
— Jane Duckworth (@janie_duckworth) November 30, 2017
When it comes to food, the traditional turkey roast topped the poll with a whopping 81% of respondents tucking into a classic Christmas dinner, while the vegetarians feast on a nut roast, or simply a plate piled high with all the trimmings – yum! Refusing to follow the crowd, one person even told us that they have a BBQ on Christmas Day – we hope the cook wraps up warm!
2. Having a barbecue. My dad decided that Christmas would be the one time a year where he’d cook but he’s a strange man and enjoys barbecuing in the freezing cold and rain. Our neighbors look at us like we’re crazy #RLDChristmas
— Mel Burt (@raisethewaves) November 30, 2017
Stuck for Christmas present ideas? We’ve written a Christmas Gift Guide jam-packed with gift inspiration for him, her and the kids!