02 November 2012
Christmas facts and quotes
Political Correctness and Christmas
Is Christmas becoming too politically correct?
In a survey of 1,000 people by ComRes for Theos, conducted between May 13th and 14th, 2009 the following results were obtained:
- When asked to agree or disagree with statement "Christmas should be renamed to reflect our multicultural society" 84% disagreed.
- When asked to agree or disagree with statement "Christmas should be called Christmas even though we are no longer a Christian country" 77% agreed.
- When asked to agree or disagree with the statement "Christmas should still be called Christmas because we are still are Christian country" 85% agreed.
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 of 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.'
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.
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.
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.
Special Christmas stamps
The designs for this year’s special Christmas stamps are based on a poem by children’s poet Tony Mitton. The stamps which feature festive characters including Father Christmas, a reindeer and a Robin have been designed by Children’s illustrator Axel Schaffler. The Royal Mail expected to handle 700 million Christmas cards and 40 million parcels from Internet shoppers in 2012, the same figures quoted as for 2010 and 2011.
Figures obtained from the Royal Mail website www.royalmail.com
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
Unwanted Presents Galore!
Last year 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
Spending predictions for Christmas 2012
- 9% of people intend to spend more this year on Christmas than they in 2011. 47% will spend the same as last year and 32% will spend less.
- 5% of respondents had already done their Christmas shopping at the time of the poll (28th-30th September 2012) The majority of people (37%) will wait until December to do their Christmas shopping.
- Most people will do at least some of their shopping on line; only 10% of those questioned will not do any online shopping.
- Moneysupermarket.com research into how the cost of Christmas has changed in the last decade discovered that we spend slightly more on gifts at £410 than we did in 2001 but spending on food and drink (£152) and socialising (£67) are both considerably less than they were in 2001.
Sources: Retail Week Christmas Spending 2012 - September 2011 www.icmresearch.com/tag/christmas The changing cost of Christmas http://eauk.co/OtnLb1
Survey shows worry about spending for Christmas 2012 has started ... in July 2012
Research published by Asda in July 2012 for their Mumdex index which surveys women from a wide variety of backgrounds has revealed:
- 46% are worried about the cost of Christmas
- 93% of the women surveyed are already stockpiling presents
- 41% have already bought Christmas cards
- 13% have already bought decorations
- 22% have food stored away ready for December
- Many of the women surveyed spoke of feelings of guilt as they would not be able to spend as much as they would like on presents for their children
source Retail Gazette http://www.retailgazette.co.uk/articles/33023-half-of-mums-concerned-about-christmas-cash
A 2011 survey by M&S Money has suggested a large number of consumers will not keep within their means when it comes to festive spending. Its recent poll discovered four out of ten consumers have not made a budget for their Christmas outlay, while of those who have, 46 per cent expect to fail to stick to it.
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.
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
The Downside of Christmas
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
The price of Christmas spending on mental health
An online poll of 116 people by the mental health charity Mind found that respondents were stressed and anxious about repaying their Christmas spending. Here is a summary of the survey's findings:
- 19 per cent of people felt less able to manage their mental health because of worries about paying off the cost of Christmas
- 25 per cent were feeling depressed
- 20 per cent will have problems meeting their rent or mortgage payments this month.
- Over 50 per cent admitted they had spent more than they could afford on Christmas.
- 39 per cent used credit cards to cover the cost of Christmas.
- 33 per cent estimated that it would take them more than six months to pay off their Christmas spending debt
Mind's Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "Christmas is an expensive time of year but it's not just your wallet that could be hurt by excessive spending. Financial worries can have a devastating impact on mental health and can lead to serious problems such as stress, anxiety and depression...People who have mental health problems are already more likely to be living in poverty, with many dependent on benefits because they are too ill to work. Worries about finances and the prospect of not being able to afford the essentials like food, heating and electricity will only add to their distress...We are concerned that the predicted credit crunch in 2008 will result in more people experiencing money worries which could have a detrimental impact on their mental health. That's why this year Mind is launching a major new study investigating the real toll that poverty and debt has on mental health."
Reported in: Medical News Today 11th Jan. 2008 http://bit.ly/GTC5M7
More than 53% of Britons were worried about funding Christmas 2010, according to research done by Moneysupermarket.com. This was an increase on the previous year when 45% said they were worried.
Reported in: Investor Today 12/10/10
The Religious Celebration of Christmas
Church attendance over Christmas
More than 2.6 million people participated in a Church of England service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 2011. In 2011 33% of the population attend a Christmas service of some sort, rising to 42% in London. 22% among those from non-Christian faiths are also said to attend a Christmas service.
Approximately 129,100 people attended services in cathedrals on Christmas Day/Eve 2011, the highest figure since 2006. 776,400 people attended services in cathedrals during Advent.
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1737985/attendancestats2011.pdf and http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1423215/2001_2011cathheadlines.pdf
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