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Most Festive City: The Nation’s Christmas Habits & Routines Revealed

Every Christmas looks a little different, down to even the smallest details – like, for example, whether you open presents before or after dinner, or whether you leave cookies or mince pies by the fireplace for Santa Claus.

Knowing each ho-ho-home celebrates in its own way, we’ve looked into the habits of 2,000 UK adults at Christmas time to find out which region is the most festive.

From the time it takes to deck the halls to the number of video calls booked into our calendars, we’ve unearthed some interesting findings around how the nation usually celebrates, and how they’ll be celebrating this year. Read on for the results of our Christmas 2020 survey.

Which region is home to the most festive people in the country?

The West Midlands is the most festive region, followed by Wales and London

For some of us, the festive feeling comes naturally. We’ll be eyeing up Christmas trees six months prior, belting out carols in the shower at the start of November, or sifting through sales for stocking fillers weeks and weeks before the big day. It’s no wonder that 73% of us consider Christmas to be one of the best times of the year.

Yet how festive are we, exactly? When asked to rate our levels of festive-ness on a scale of 1 to 10, we found that the West Midlands came out on top as the most festive region in the UK, with an average score of 6.12 out of 10. Our survey revealed that Wales (6.1) and London (6.01) were also home to some of the country’s most festive people.

In fact, Birmingham may be one of the best places to go for Christmas. Brummies love Christmas more than those in any other part of the country, with more than 75% agreeing it’s the best time of the year.

However, some regions are a little more ‘bah-humbug’ than buoyant about the festivities. At the other end of the scale, less than two thirds of Norwich residents consider Christmas to be a highlight of their year, with more than 1 in 5 stating it’s not something they look forward to at all.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and the South West are among the other least festive cities, with average ratings of 5.36, 5.57 and 5.61 out of 10 (respectively).

The top five most and least festive cities in the UK

Most festive cities

1.) Birmingham 

2.) Bristol 

3.) Cardiff 

4.) London 

5.) York 

Least festive cities 

1.) Norwich 

2.) Edinburgh 

3.) Liverpool 

4.) Glasgow 

5.) Plymouth

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How do we deck the halls?

One in five of us will have already decorated our homes before December

For many of us, filling our homes with that festive feel is an important part of the Christmas season. Deciding on a theme, picking out Christmas tableware and bringing down the outdoor lights from the attic are all part of the excitement.

In fact, one fifth of people are so excited to get started with decorating that they’ll begin decking the halls before December has even begun – well before Santa has managed to get his sleigh ready. Londoners are the hastiest to dust off the Christmas decorations, with three in 10 putting them up before the end of November. They also don’t skimp on time either, spending an average of just under four and a half hours decorating their homes – around the same time it takes to roast a turkey.

On average, 35-44 year olds are the age group most likely to take their time when putting up decorations, spending just under four hours, compared to three hours spent by over 55s.

 With all this time spent on decorating, which items do we think are essential in our festivities? The tree, baubles and indoor lighting are our top three most important decorative items, followed closely by hanging décor, wreaths and outdoor lighting.

Aside from décor, preparing for the big day also involves a whole host of other activities, including gift giving, food shopping and cooking. Getting everything ready for Christmas costs time and money, with the average time spent preparing sitting at just over 10 hours – the equivalent of watching It’s a Wonderful Life four times over.

Regionally, people in East Anglia will spend the most time preparing for Christmas, at just over 11 hours, while Londoners will spend the least time, at just below nine hours. 

Meanwhile, the average Brit can expect to spend around £429 preparing for Christmas, with 45-54 year olds spending the most at an average of £494. Regionally, our survey found that people in Northern Ireland and the North East were the most generous with their money, forking out £618 and £550 (respectively) during the festive season.

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How will we celebrate differently this year?

Just over 45% will make more of an effort to celebrate Christmas this year.

With this festive season looking a little different to previous years (think virtual Secret Santa unboxings and video calls to relatives on Christmas morning), many of us will be thinking of ways we can bring a little extra sparkle to the festivities.

In fact, despite half of us agreeing that the pandemic has put a bit of a dampener on this year’s celebrations, 45% of us are planning to make more of an effort in our homes to ensure a good end to 2020.

One in seven will even be spending a little more money to make this festive period one to remember, with that extra expense going on presents, indoor decorations and making the tree especially lovely this year.

Nearly 30% will be celebrating Christmas via video call with family

The majority of us will be celebrating with the members of our household, but this year we’ll be attending a few virtual Christmas parties as well. From festive virtual quizzes to video calls with Santa, lots of us will be huddling around our devices to see familiar faces on a screen this year.

In fact, almost a third of us will be celebrating with a video call with family. Meanwhile, over 17% of us will be doing the same with friends and around 10% will be taking part in virtual quizzes.

Despite all the screen time and video calls to loved ones, on average we’ll be having just one virtual Christmas this year.

However, our survey found that one particular age group have their calendars booked up already. Nearly 15% of 35-44 year olds have between four and seven virtual Christmases to look forward to – that’s definitely something to be jolly about.

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How competitive are we at Christmas time?

One in five say they are ‘competitive’ during the festive period

Whether it’s giving the best Christmas gifts to having the prettiest wreath or bagging the biggest turkey, the Christmas period can bring out our competitive streak in different ways.

In fact, one in five of us admit to being ‘competitive’ during the festive period, particularly when it comes to decorations, gifts and Christmas dinner preparations.

With over two fifths of us owning Christmas jumpers and more than a quarter being proud owners of festive-themed socks, Christmas outfits is another area where we’re keen to compete.

More than 20% of us are competitive when it comes to making sure the kids are dressed in the cutest costumes, while nearly 14% of us are competitive over having the best Christmas costumes for the other ‘kids’ of the household – our pets.

More than a third will share Christmas posts on social media

This competitive streak extends into the online sphere too. In fact, more than a third of us will post images of our festivities on social media.

The tree, presents and indoor decorations are our top three things to flaunt to our followers, followed closely by our Christmas dinner and outfits.

Given that many of us will be celebrating virtually this year, we’ll still be keen to show off magnificent trees and matching onesies online. In fact, 28% of us agree we’ll be spending more time using social media this Christmas.

Londoners are the most likely to be snapping selfies, with just under half (48%) agreeing they’ll use social channels more this year. Meanwhile, people in the North East are least likely to agree, with just under 13% saying they’ll be on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter more.

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No matter how you might be celebrating this Christmas, find the perfect gifts, homeware and décor this festive season with Next and have a very Merry Everything.

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