Close of Christmas tree with red baubles on it Credit: Shutterstock/Ilona Kozhevnikova

You haven’t put your decorations up but you are already planning for Xmas – our festive survey revealed

Do you always watch a film on Christmas Day? Or perhaps you prefer a festive walk? See how you compare to other Saga customers in our latest survey.

Our insight team conducted an in-depth poll of Saga customers to find out what the feelings were about Christmas.

As a child, you probably thought ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’, to steal the words of Wizzard’s 1973 song.

However, our survey of 1,850 Saga customers, showed there’s less excitement among the over-50s: 61% said they had become less enthusiastic about the festive season as they’d aged.

There’s little bah humbug about it though: 50% still say it’s one of their top times of year (only 18% disagree).


When do you start planning?

It will surprise few to learn that women generally begin planning for Christmas before men: 26% start in October and 40% in November. Almost half of men (46%) leave it until December.

Perhaps, thankfully, the decorations do wait until December (apart from the eager 2% who put them up in November).

The most popular time to decorate is mid-December, although the younger you are the earlier they go up: 37% in their 50s choose early December, while 26% of over-80s wait until Christmas week.

How many gifts do you give?

When it comes to giving gifts you are a generous bunch:

  • The average number given is seven to ten.
  • A fifth of you give four to six presents.
  • Another fifth of you hand out 11-15 gifts.
  • When it comes to choosing gifts 53% of you like to give surprises, while 48% ask people what they’d like.
  • When it comes to cash for presents, 32% of you choose to gift money and that rises with age.

Home for Christmas

Spending time at home is how the majority of people mark Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; very few go out for meals or host parties.

Just 25% of you still sit down to watch a Christmas film on the big day.

Few of you venture out to a religious service either, with just 13% going to church on Christmas Day. Slightly more go on Christmas Eve (20%), but on both days, it’s the older groups who are mainly attending, with around a third in their 80s taking their place in the pews.

Numbers fall with each decade, and only 5% of 50-59-year-olds worship on Christmas Day and 10% on Christmas Eve.

Creating your own festive traditions

Other traditions, however, are flourishing: a Christmas walk is still popular, with 37% embracing it (or at least tolerating it). Saga customers really value family traditions, too.

One study found that those with family rituals spent a happier Christmas (and argued less) than those who were together but had no traditions.

Women are often the guardians of these: 58% say they inherited their current traditions from their own family; only 7% say they’ve come from their partner’s family. And 50% of women have introduced new traditions (vs 38% of men).

Whether that’s something silly, like firing streamer bombs at the chandelier on Christmas Day – as one Saga customer described – or touching, like reading together, these traditions act as family ‘glue’.

Time to stock up on streamers and bubble-wrap that chandelier.


You share your festive traditions

  • We buy everyone an amaryllis and plant them on the same day in November; the tallest one on Christmas Day wins a prize.
  • A lottery ticket hidden in Christmas crackers.
  • A pork pie for Christmas Day breakfast.
  • Presents from the Christmas tree – never more than £5, wrapped and given to visitors so no one leaves with nothing.
  • Opening vintage port on Christmas Day evening to remember family no longer with us.
  • Our late Auntie Mary used to give such odd gifts, so now we have an Auntie Mary gift on Christmas Eve – no more than £5 and whoever gives the silliest wins a cup.
  • We name our turkey. The name needs to begin with T.
  • After unwrapping a present, we screw up the paper and throw it at the person we think least likely to expect it.

What do you think? Join the conversation by emailing your thoughts to us at


Written by Rachel Carlyle