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21 November 2014

Christmas facts and surveys

Christmas facts and surveys

Modern Celebration of Christmas

What do people think the modern day Christmas is about?
In a survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of Theos in October 2011 the following results were obtained:

  • 83% agreed that Christmas is a about spending time with family and friends
  • 62% agreed that Christmas is a time when we should be generous to people less fortunate than ourselves.
  • 41% agreed that Christmas is a about celebrating that God loves humanity. 24% disagreed with this.
  • 40% said Christmas is a good excuse for taking time off and doesn't really have any meaning today but 34 % disagreed with this.

Intenet Shopping on Christmas day - a popular activity?
UK internet shoppers visited retail sites 107 million times on Christmas day 2012. John Lewis Partnership said they saw a peak of activity late in the evening on Christmas day.
Reported on BBC news website 27th December 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-208502

 

Spending predictions for Christmas 2014

  • Most people will do at least some of their shopping on line, and online retailers are expecting growth their share of the market to grow with Centre of Retail Research suggesting sales online may reach £17.4 billion
  • The total retail spend in the run up to Christmas (mid-November to Christmas day) by UK households in 2014 is expected to £74.3 billion and more than one third of this will be additional "Christmas" spending over and above our regular spending on food, drink, clothing toiliteries etc
  • The Money Advice Service, in their 2014 Christmas spending survey, found that the average adult spends £530 on their festive celebrations which equates to a total spend of £26 billion on Christmas food and drink, gifts, decorations, cards etc.
  • In a survey by Shoppercentric only 5 per cent of people said they had more money available this year and that expected to soend it on Christmas celebrations and 9 per cent said they felt they deserved some extra treats this year.
Sources:    TalikingRetail.com, Internet Retailing, Money Advice Service

 

Food, drink and gifts going to waste
The Money Advice Service asked participants about wasted food and unwanted gifts in their 2014 survey.  They found that £2.4 billion is wasted on uneaten, discarded food and unwanted gifts. The average adult spends £28 on food and drink that will get thrown away. Additionally 37 per cent of respondents said they received gifts worth an average value of £54 that they did not want or use. Money Advice Service

In 2011 we spent £594 million on unwanted Christmas gifts as at least 1 in 10 of the gifts the average person received was not really what they wanted.
And people were very quick to get rid of their unwanted gifts with 1.5 million new items for sale were listed on eBay Boxing Day 2011.
Research by swapit.co.uk in December 2010 found that almost 90% of under 18's would be happy to receive fewer presents to help ease financial concerns for their family.
Reported in Daily Mirror 12th Sept 2012
http://eauk.co/UdKLxs and Daily Mail 16th December 2010 http://bit.ly/GTGQRL

Christmas debt
The Money Advice Service's 2014 Christmas spending survey found:

  • Almost half of Uk adults say they will have to resort to credit cards, store cards and overdrafts to help them cope with Christams expenditure;
  • 30 per cent say they will find it harder to afford Chrstmas in 2014 than they did in 2013;
  • 1.4 million say they will ask for loans from pay day lenders to fund their Christmas festivities;
  • 37 per cent said they feel pressure to spend more than they can comfortably afford to put on a special Christmas for their families;
  • 26 per cent of adults admited to getting carried away with Christmas spending so that they end spending more than they can afford;
  • 24 per cent do not plan their Christmas spending.

Source Money Advice Service

A very expensive Mince Pie
A mince pie worth £3,000 was on display at a London shopping centre in Dec  2011. The pie was at the Mince Pie Manufactory, a mince pie workshop at the Exchange shopping centre. The pie had some very expensive ingredients including a platinum coin, platinum leaf and holy water from Lourdes. It took the creator of the pie Andrew Stellitano 1 week to create the pie.
Reported in: London Evening Standard, 17th November 2011

Knowledge of the Nativity story
In a survey of parents and their children undertaken by ICM for the Bible Society in December 2012, 22% of parents and 18% scored eight out of  ten in a Nativity knowledge quiz:

8% knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2  4)

2. 89% knew Mary put the baby Jesus in a manger (Luke 2  7)

3. 83% knew the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth (Luke 1  26)

4. 77% knew Herod was king at the time (Matthew 2  1)

5. 63% knew the angels were the first to announce the news  (Luke 2  15)

6. 52% knew Mary and Joseph were travelling because they has been ordered to register with the authorities (Luke 2  1)  

7. 46% knew the shepherds were first to visit Jesus  (Luke 2  16)

8. 32% knew the word Immanuel (Matthew 1  23) means 'God is with us' 

9. 26% knew Mary and Joseph were engaged when she found out she was going to have a baby (Matthew 1  18)

10. 14% knew the wise men travelled West following the star to Jerusalem (Matthew 2  1)

- See more at: http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/news/children-and-parents-6-out-of-10-score-on-nativity-knowledge/#sthash.kly7p54x.dpuf

On average parents and children scored 6 out of 10.  22% of parents and 18% of children scored 8 out of 10 or more. 

Just over half the families (52%) planned to go to a school nativity this year. 

According to the survey, these are the ten best-known facts about the nativity:

1. 98% knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2  4)

2. 89% knew Mary put the baby Jesus in a manger (Luke 2  7)

3. 83% knew the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth (Luke 1  26)

4. 77% knew Herod was king at the time (Matthew 2  1)

5. 63% knew the angels were the first to announce the news  (Luke 2  15)

6. 52% knew Mary and Joseph were travelling because they has been ordered to register with the authorities (Luke 2  1)  

7. 46% knew the shepherds were first to visit Jesus  (Luke 2  16)

8. 32% knew the word Immanuel (Matthew 1  23) means 'God is with us' 

9. 26% knew Mary and Joseph were engaged when she found out she was going to have a baby (Matthew 1  18)

10. 14% knew the wise men travelled West following the star to Jerusalem (Matthew 2  1)

- See more at: http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/news/children-and-parents-6-out-of-10-score-on-nativity-knowledge/#sthash.kly7p54x.dpuf

On average parents and children scored 6 out of 10.  22% of parents and 18% of children scored 8 out of 10 or more. 

Just over half the families (52%) planned to go to a school nativity this year. 

According to the survey, these are the ten best-known facts about the nativity:

1. 98% knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2  4)

2. 89% knew Mary put the baby Jesus in a manger (Luke 2  7)

3. 83% knew the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth (Luke 1  26)

4. 77% knew Herod was king at the time (Matthew 2  1)

5. 63% knew the angels were the first to announce the news  (Luke 2  15)

6. 52% knew Mary and Joseph were travelling because they has been ordered to register with the authorities (Luke 2  1)  

7. 46% knew the shepherds were first to visit Jesus  (Luke 2  16)

8. 32% knew the word Immanuel (Matthew 1  23) means 'God is with us' 

9. 26% knew Mary and Joseph were engaged when she found out she was going to have a baby (Matthew 1  18)

10. 14% knew the wise men travelled West following the star to Jerusalem (Matthew 2  1)

- See more at: http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/news/children-and-parents-6-out-of-10-score-on-nativity-knowledge/#sthash.kly7p54x.dpuf

What does Christmas mean to people and how will they be celebrating?
In a survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of Theos in December 2010 the following results were obtained:

  • 51% agreed with the statement "The birth of Jesus is irrelevant to my Christmas" whilst 46% disagreed with the statement.
  • 18% agreed with the statement "I dread Christmas" whilst 81% disagreed only 13% agreed with the statement "I would borrow money to ensure I could afford to buy decent Christmas presents" 86% disagreed with the statement.
  • 54% agreed "Christmas is over-rated" whilst 44% disagreed with the statement.
  • 61% agreed "Christmas is mainly for children" whilst 38% disagreed.
  • 36% said they would be attending a Christmas service. 62% said they would not be going to a service, 2% were unsure.

Source http://bit.ly/GU6S8g

The dwindling religious significance of Christmas?
A survey commissioned by The Children's Society in 2010 found that only 10% of adults think that it's religious meaning is the most important thing about Christmas. Only 4% of 25-34 year olds thought the religious aspect was important whilst 20% of those over 60's years feel that it is the key aspect of Christmas. 67% of all adults said spending time with family was the most important thing about Christmas.
Source: Church of England Newspaper December 3rd 2010

Christmas pressures mean divorce in January
A study has shown that January 8th is the busiest day of the year for divorce lawyers when up to one in five couples will enquire about divorce after the pressures of Christmas. The enforced intimacy of Christmas, coupled with the start of a new year is thought to be the main trigger. The other peak in the year is after the summer holidays. Adultery, lack of sex, abuse and boredom were the main causes of divorce enquiries. Studies show that fewer than 40% of those who divorce will be happier.
Reported in the Daily Telegraph 8 January 2007

January is the month for love
To balance the view that January is the month for couples to file for divorce after Christmas arguments the Church of England released figures in January 2012 that show their dedicated weddings website, set up to encourage couples to marry in church have been at their highest compared to receives the highest number of monthly enquiries in January.
Daily Telegraph 8th January 2013 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9786116/Forget-divorce-day-January-is-the-month-for-love-says-Church.html

The Religious Celebration of Christmas

Church attendance over Christmas
More than 2.4 million people participated in a Church of England service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 2013.
Approximately 117,200 people attended services in cathedrals on Christmas Day 2012.  745,900 people attended services in cathedrals during Advent 2012.
https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2112070/2013statisticsformission.pdf and http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1820547/2012cathedralstatistics.pdf

Why do occasional churchgoers go to church at Christmas?
In an essay entitled How far is Bethlehem? exploring the ordinary theology of occasional churchgoers by David Walker published the results of surveys of attenders at services in Worcester and Lichfield cathedral. Here are some of his findings:
Motivation for going to the service

  • 94% said their motivation was the music.
  • 75% said they wanted to be reminded of the Christmas story.
  • 55% said they wanted to feel close to God.
  • 55% said they wanted to worship God.
  • 52% said they wanted to find the true meaning of Christmas

What kind of service?

  • 78% said they prefer the service to be candlelit.
  • 76% said they prefer traditional rather than modern hymns.
  • 94% said they expected the service to be uplifting.
  • Belief in the Christmas story amongst occasional churchgoers
  • 58% believed in the birth took place in a stable>
  • 57% believe in the role of the shepherds
  • 55% in the wise men
  • 42% in the virgin birth.

Reported on www.brin.ac.uk on June 14th 2013 The essay by Dave Walker is published in a collection of essays entitled Ordinary Theology: Everyday Christian believing and the Church edited by Jeff Astley and Leslie Francis published by Ashgate 2013. http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calcTitle=1&title_id=11624&edition_id=11988

Christian resources for churches and schools
The Evangelical Alliance Information and Research office has prepared a list of resources to help you plan a special service, talk or school assembly. The listing also includes sources for alternative gift solutions. http://www.eauk.org/church/resources/christmas-resources.cfm


Christmas cards and Christmas trees

Christmas Trees
The tradition of displaying and decorating at tree at Christmas originates from Europe with records of trees decorated with sweets at guild halls in Germany and Livonia (Latvia and Estonia) in the 15th century. It's origins probably go back even further however with "paradise trees" decorated with apples being used in the medieaval mystery plays that told the story of Adam and Eve that were performed on 24th December a possible fore-runner.  Trees or evergreen decorations used as symbols of eternal life or protection from evil were also common in some parts pre-Christian Europe.
According to the Forrestry Commission 90% of British families put up a Christmas tree.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association say their members sell 8 million real Christmas trees every year.

Charity Christmas cards
Charities in the UK receive an estimated £50 million from Christmas card sales. We have compiled a list of some suppliers of Christmas cards with Bible verses or a Christian theme for our Christmas resources page http://www.eauk.org/church/resources/christmas-resources.cfm

No room for Christ on Christmas cards?
A 2011 survey by the Daily Mail of 6,576 cards in major supermarkets in seven locations in England and Wales found only 36 featured scenes such as Jesus in a manger or angels. Traditional nativity scenes appear on less than 0.5% of all cards available. Don Horrocks of the Evangelical Alliance was interviewed by the Daily Mail for the article and said supermarkets were "helping to kill off the Christian theme at Christmas. There appears to be an aversion in society to Christianity being public."

The results for cards available singly were:

  • In Asda stores out of a total of 2,638 Christmas cards available singly only 4 (0.15%) had illustrations of the Christmas story.
  • In Tesco stores out of a total of 1,739 Christmas cards available singly only 7 (0.4%)had illustrations of the Christmas story.
  • In Sainsbury's out of a total of 1,394 Christmas cards available singly only 11 (0.78%) had illustrations of the Christmas story.
  • In Morrisons out of a total of 805 Christmas cards available singly only 14  (1.7%) had illustrations of the Christmas story.

The results for cards sold in multipacks were slightly better:

  • In Asda 13% of the cards sold in multipacks had a Christian theme.
  • In Tesco 20% of the cards sold in multipacks had a Christian theme.
  • In Sainsburys 23% of the cards sold in multipacks had a Christian theme.
  • In Morrisons 11% of the cards sold in multipacks has a Christian theme.

Reported in the Daily Mail 22nd December 2011 http://bit.ly/tPnlty

The First Christmas Card

The first commercial Christmas card was commissioned by Henry Cole in 1843. He ordered 1000 copies of the card designed by John C Horsley which depict a family enjoying a festive drink together; Religious greetings cards came some years later. The cards were advertised for sale in the Athenaeum newspaper and cost 6 pennies each thus making them a very expensive luxury item. The card was described in the advert as 'Just published. A Christmas Congratulation Card: or picture emblematical of Old English Festivity to Perpetuate kind recollections between Dear Friends.'
www.postalheritage.org.uk

Three of the remaining eighteen cards from the first batch produced by Henry Cole were auctioned by Sotheby's in New York In December 2011 One card was sold for $10,500, another one sold for $4,250 and the card bearing the design pictured below sold for $7,000.
http://bit.ly/HfTRVj

First Christmas card