Christmas dinner, decorating the tree and exchanging presents are among the UK’s best-loved festive traditions, according to research.

Three quarters (73 per cent) revealed customs will be especially meaningful this year – with 26 per cent planning to adopt more of them than ever before.

The M&S Bank [] research also found one in five are planning on spending extra on Christmas this year – £803 on average.

Adults will typically spend £33 on Christmas jumpers, £42 on a tree and £35 on decorations, and another £36 will be spent on festive pyjamas.

Other popular traditions among the top 30 included watching Christmas films, decorating the house and listening to yuletide songs.

Shopping for Christmas presents and doing the Christmas food shop were also firm favourites.

The average spend on food and drink this year is set to be a total of £193 – an estimated 44 per cent increase on last year.

While £337 will be spent on presents for loved ones – up 47 per cent on 2019.

The poll of 2,000 adults also revealed why traditions are taking on more meaning in 2020 – 42 per cent said it’s been a difficult year.

And 31 per cent explained it’s because people want to enjoy time with friends and family more than ever.

For nearly three quarters (73 per cent), it was Christmas traditions that make the holiday period feel so special.

Half of respondents said they made them feel festive, and 45 per cent said they bring back memories of Christmas celebrations gone by.

Paul Stokes, head of products, M&S Bank, said: “It’s clear that Christmas traditions are an important part of many families Christmas celebrations this year, which is understandable after what has been such an unprecedented year.

“The familiarity of traditions also often brings a sense of comfort.

“And as our research suggests, it’s not necessarily the bigger traditions that people enjoy most, but the little things that make this time of year so special, whether that’s a shopping trip for your Christmas dinner, or decorating the tree as a family.”

When it comes to Christmas shopping, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said they have a routine they follow.

While more than half (52 per cent) like to write a list and work their way through it, and 47 per cent like to be organised and plan their shopping trip in advance.

More than a third (36 per cent) like to make an occasion of it and go shopping with friends and family, if able to.

Despite 34 per cent revealing they like to spend the whole day browsing for the perfect gifts for loved ones, 31 per cent admitted they like to get it done as quickly as possible.

It also emerged a quarter of those polled have planned to – or already have – started their Christmas shopping earlier this year.

The poll also found that more than one in five will plan their Christmas shopping list up to a month before, while 18 per cent will draw up their list a week before.

A savvy third will also save reward points and vouchers throughout the year to specifically use at Christmas.

Paul Stokes of M&S Bank added: “The research found that shopping for presents, as well as food and drink, are some of our favourite traditions as we head towards the festive period and nearly half of us look forward to doing it.

“It’s great to see that a third of savvy shoppers are saving up the reward points and vouchers they have earned on their spending throughout the year, to help make those Christmas traditions and festive spending go that little bit further.”

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they will enjoy giving presents more this year, with nearly half of people spending more on gifts than last year.

The top reasons people enjoy gifting is to make other people happy (57 per cent), and to show others they care about them (50 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, showing appreciation for others was also a popular reason for gifting this year (42 per cent).


1. Christmas dinner
2. Decorating the Christmas tree
3. Spending more time with family and friends
4. Exchanging presents with family
5. Watching Christmas films
6. Decorating the house for Christmas
7. Listening to Christmas music
8. Eating chocolate
9. Opening an Advent calendar
10. Sending Christmas cards
11. Christmas shopping for presents
12. Seeing Christmas lights get turned on
13. Christmas shopping for food and drink
14. Playing board games
15. Family games and activities
16. Putting lights on your home
17. Wearing Christmas jumpers
18. Opening small present/stocking on Christmas eve
19. Putting a wreath on the door
20. Putting a mince pie and carrot out on Christmas eve
21. Carol singing
22. Wearing Christmas pyjamas
23. Christmas eve buffet
24. Making and drinking mulled wine
25. Cooking a Christmas day breakfast
26. Preparing a Christmas pudding or cake
27. Christmas crafts e.g. making decorations or a wreath
28. Making gifts for others
29. Taking part in secret Santa
30. Decorating baubles


1. To make other people happy
2. To show others I care about them
3. To show others I appreciate them
4. To see the reaction when the recipient opens the gift
5. To get a sense of satisfaction
6. To help keep connected to people I don’t see as often as I would like


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