CHRISTMAS isn’t just a full time job for the man in red and his elves, but also ordinary Britons, according to new research.
A survey of 1,995 respondents carried out by One4all, the Post Office gift card, found that British adults spend 66 hours and 44 minutes preparing for Christmas – equivalent to almost two working weeks in a full time job.
If they were actually ‘doing Christmas’ as a job, this would equate to £558 in wages – £53 more than the average weekly wage* in the UK.
Shopping for presents was the most time-consuming task, taking an average of 10 hours 7minutes 12 seconds; followed by shopping for food and decorations, which takes 8 hours 49 minutes and 12 seconds.
Cooking was the task British adults spend the third largest amount of time on at Christmas, spending 7 hours 35 minutes 24 seconds in the kitchen on average.
Women and men share the overall responsibility of organising Christmas almost equally – with men surprisingly spending 53 minutes more than women preparing for the big day.
However, the data revealed that the fairer sex dedicate more energy to the more practical tasks – spending more time than their male counterparts shopping for gifts, food and decorations, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry.
While men take more responsibility for interpersonal tasks – such as hosting loved ones, arranging social occasions with family and friends, handling child care and driving their families and guests to and from social events.
Aoife Davey, group marketing manager at One4all Gift Cards said: “It’s surprising to see just how many hours Britons are investing in preparing for Christmas, and it’s particularly interesting to consider where the time for this is coming from – whether they are taking annual leave during the festive period, or simply being less productive in their actual day jobs to cover the almost two working weeks extra time they need to prepare for Christmas.
“Trying to achieve all of the preparation that needs to be done in one go right before Christmas is exhausting and stressful. It is far better for people to begin earlier, so that they can spread the tasks over several months and also to allow time time to delegate! This not only enables people to enjoy the build up to Christmas more, but will also ensure people aren’t losing time from their day jobs because of it.
“It’s also partially about being realistic with certain tasks – for example, instead of spending hours deliberating over what to give someone who is hard to buy for – turn to a gift that gives them the choice, such as a gift card.”
Sadly, despite the amount of time that goes into preparing for Christmas, a third of British adults receive no thanks whatsoever for the energy and effort they put into organising Christmas for their loved ones. The survey asked respondents how they would like to be thanked for their efforts and found that, while 42% would be pleased with a simple thank you, 1 in 4 (22%) would like to receive thank you gifts such as gift cards or vouchers, followed by wine (18%) and chocolate (16%).
Davey continues: “Although many generous hosts say guests being grateful is enough of a thank you, we’d recommend that those who are guests in somebody else’s home for Christmas this year take them a small, token gesture, as a way of thanking them for their hospitality and to reflect the amount of time and energy that they have put in.”
The Tasks Britons Carry Out in Preparation for Christmas:
Buying Gifts: 10 hours 7minutes 12 seconds
Shopping for food, decorations and other Christmas related goods: 8 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds
Cooking: 7 hours 35 minutes 24 seconds
Cleaning the house: 6 hours 53 minutes 24 seconds
Wrapping Gifts: 6 hours 31 minutes 48 seconds
Having guests over: 6 hours 21 minutes 36 seconds
Laundry: 5 hours 58 minutes 48 seconds
Organising social occasions: 5 hours 21 minutes 36 seconds
Childcare: 4 hours 44 minutes 24 seconds
Driving: 4 hours 17 minutes 24 seconds