Following on from our previous post on Christmas traditions in the UK, we continue with the special days themselves and how they are typically spent and celebrated by families across the country, according to national statistics:
For most families, Christmas Eve is spent with family and friends exchanging gifts ahead of the main event. Many families will go for a long walk and visit the pub. In the evening, people will often go to midnight mass at church.
Christmas Eve is most exciting for children as they hang their stockings at the end of the bed waiting for Father Christmas. In his sleigh with his 9 reindeer, Rudolph leading the way with his red shiny nose, he will shoot across the sky, land on the roof, slide down the chimney and fill the good children’s stockings with presents, and fill the naughty children’s stockings with coal. Many children will leave out a plate with a mince pie, a glass of sherry or milk and a carrot for the reindeers.
Most Christmas mornings start very early in British households as people are simply just too excited! According to statistics, the average family gets out of bed just before 8am and is ready to start opening presents by 8.19am. Once the wrapping paper has been torn off all the presents, the family sits down to breakfast at 9.02am, but not before they have tucked into their first bit of chocolate for the day at 8.39am.
Unfortunately, all the excitement and stress of preparing the Christmas dinner means that at precisely 9.58am on Christmas morning the first row begins, and the average parent tells off their children for the first time at around 11.07am.
Many families will then head off to church for the morning.
Whilst waiting for the dinner to cook, the average Brit starts to sip their first alcoholic drink at 11.48am. Dinner is usually ready at 3.24pm, with 85% of families sitting down to enjoy a traditional turkey and all the trimmings.
The Christmas table will be decorated with crackers which families join hands to pull. The may contain a terrible joke, a paper hat and a useless toy but they are traditional! Dessert is normally Christmas pudding or Christmas cake.
After lunch, it is time for the Queen’s Speech. Many families will sit down to watch as the Queen broadcasts her annual message.
All that food and drink means the first person falls asleep at around 4.58pm. For those who manage to stay awake, family board games and charades are brought out at around 5.46pm. The rest of the evening is then spent watching TV as many popular TV shows will have specials and the nation’s favourite films will also be shown.
Boxing Day in the UK is a bank holiday and tends to be spent at home again with family. Many will choose to go for a long walk to burn off the Christmas dinner and over indulgence before sitting down to even more food!
Lots of shops re-open on Boxing Day with their sales. Those who are brave enough will get up early and queue outside to bag themselves the best bargains.
The TTA team wishes you a very Merry Christmas.