The ’32’ Days Of Christmas….

The traditional 12 Days of Christmas has been consigned to the past as two in five UK families (37%) now claim Christmas lasts for a whopping 32 days. Families across the country now begin their festivities on December 1st and don’t end the Xmas party until January 1st.

12 days of Christmas

Traditional 12 Days of Christmas ditched as modern families celebrate for more than a month

  • 37% of families claim Christmas now lasts for 32 days – from December 1st to January 1st
  • 68% now give gifts on days other than Christmas Day – with one in 100 giving presents to their children EVERY day in December
  • One in five families put up tree and decorations in November
  • Spending on advent calendars rockets 58% this year as shoppers snap up beauty and alcohol advents
  • But 13% of families will make a ‘reverse advent calendar’ for charity

Only eight per cent of families still observe the traditional 12-day celebration, while a further 14 per cent have stretched out the festivities to 14 days. As a result, more than two thirds (68%) of parents now give gifts to their kids on days other than Christmas Day, the report from parenting site revealed.
A massive 61 per cent give their children presents on Christmas Eve, while three per cent give gifts on Boxing Day. A further three per cent of children also receive extra presents on New Year’s Eve or Day along with one in 20 who get presents to start the festive countdown on December 1. And one per cent of families lavish presents on their children EVERY day in December, the study showed.

More than a quarter of families (27%) backed the new trend of daily gift giving, describing it as ‘the true spirit of Christmas’, with 16 per cent of families saying they save all year to do it. But 28 per cent slammed the growing trend claiming it is ‘too commercialised’.

But the extension of Xmas goes beyond gift giving with families putting up their trees and decorations earlier than ever before. The first week in December is now the most popular time to decorate the home with 60 per cent of families decking the halls then. But 21 per cent of homes have house and tree done by the end of November – and only half a per cent of homes stick to the tradition Christmas Eve to decorate their tree.

Similarly, October is now the most popular month to start Christmas shopping, with a quarter of families beginning then, followed by 24 per cent in November. Just 11 per cent leave their Xmas shopping until December – and an organised 12 per cent even start in January.

One of the fastest growing new festive trends is multiple advent calendars. The poll showed the average family’s’ spend on advent calendars soared by 58 per cent, up from £10.16 last year to £17.49 this year. While 95 per cent of families have the countdown calendars, just seven per cent stick to the tradition of having one calendar for the whole family.

Instead, a third (33%) have one for each child, one for themselves and one for their partner too, while one in ten families buy multiple advent calendars for each child. Chocolate calendars are the most popular, bought by 89 per cent of families, and 14 per cent of mums and dads say eating chocolate at breakfast is now a festive tradition in their family.

One in five buy pricey toy calendars such as Playmobil and Lego, which retail at around £20 each. A further ten per cent snap up lavish beauty advent calendars that contain a cosmetic product for each day and can cost up to £250, and five per cent have bought alcoholic calendars which contain gifts including gin and beer. However, 18 per cent of families now make their own refillable calendars choosing personalised gifts.

But the fastest growing trend this year is for ‘reverse advent calendars’ where families take an empty box and add a grocery item into each day from December 1 before donating it to a foodbank on Christmas Eve. This year 13 per cent of families are making one, with a further 49 per cent considering it.

Of the families who are making the reverse calendars, 69 per cent say it’s a way to help other families and teach their children how lucky they are, while eight per cent admit it makes them feel better about spending lavishly on their own family. A further six per cent used foodbanks themselves in the past and want to give back.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of said: “The 12 Days of Christmas has almost trebled to the 32 Days of Christmas – and while it’s fantastic to see families having so much fun, it can put a huge strain on family festive finances. image005

“It’s certainly better to give than receive but that doesn’t mean you need to lavish your children with gifts every single day in December. Think back to your own childhood and the excitement of waiting for Christmas Day, and sometime it’s clear less really can be more. The trend for reverse advent calendars captures the true spirit of Christmas personally, and we’d encourage more families to do it if they can afford it.”


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