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Festive season takes its toll at 4:30pm on Christmas Day

Posted December 5, 2007 - Press Releases

Hours of preparation, alcohol consumption and socialising with the family takes it toll as the nation catches 40 winks at 4.30pm.

  • A third of British adults admit they ‘peak’ by 10.30am on Christmas day
  • A third find Christmas more stressful than starting a new job

Worn out Brits are set to nod off at 4.30pm on Christmas day this year, as the effects of surviving the festive season – burning the candle at both ends, travelling long distances and arguing with ‘in-laws’ over what to watch on the box all take their toll, according to research released today.

The study of the seasonal habits of 3,000 adults commissioned by Freeview Playback, the digital TV recorder brand, reveals that people are now more active at Christmas than at any other time of the year, leaving many of us struggling to grab a few moments of rest and relaxation this year. The pressure to have a perfect Christmas and the strain of close extended family contact left nearly two thirds of (65%) of respondents citing Christmas as the most stressful time of the year, with a quarter admitting that they found three days with the in-laws more taxing and tiring than starting a new job.

The study highlights the amount of time the nation spend preparing for the big day – revealing that the average person will spend a foot numbing 15 hours on shopping alone – nearly half of which will be spent waiting in a queue over the Christmas break. Long distance travel also features on the vast majority of people’s Christmas itineraries with the average family clocking up 300 miles in order to do the rounds of family and friends.

The majority of people’s social lives also experience an upturn with over a quarter of Brits set to start their Christmas party season as early as the 1st December this year. While a third (33%) expect to be out on the town for at least twelve nights before Christmas – double the amount of time people go out at any other time of year.

Over half of the nation (52%) will begin Christmas day at 7am as they are woken by their children and begin to prepare the Christmas meal. An additional third (33%) admitted that they would kick start their Christmas by indulging in a festive tipple before lunchtime.

The study also pinpointed 10:30am as the time of day when the nation’s spirits soar with over a third (36%) of respondents stating they’re at their happiest when they start handing out stacks of presents to their nearest and dearest, while 15% of us ‘peak’ when we sit down to lunch and start tucking into our Christmas meal.

The survey also identified that arguments over what to watch on the TV were one of the main causes of stress on Christmas day. More than a third (34%) said that these disagreements were generational, with the older generation (56% of over 55 year olds) demanding to watch the Queen’s speech. While just 5% of youngsters (under 25 year olds) will gladly sit down to watch the head of state this year.

The long day will take its toll on many people however as the findings reveal that the cumulative effects of preparing for Christmas combined with the early morning start and alcohol and food intake on the day itself combine to leave most Brits (73%) relaxing on the sofa in front of the TV by 4.00pm where half of us admitted to regularly catching a short nap to recharge – the most popular time being 4.30pm for an average of twenty minutes.

A third of Brits even admit to recording Christmas TV while they watch it, as they expect to be too tipsy or too tired to last their duration of many shows. The survey results could also explain why over half of respondents also said they prefer the escapism of comedies and blockbusters, while 37% also admitted to enjoying watching repeats of their favourite TV as they only remembered snippets of the original shows first time around.

Ilse Howling, General Manager, Freeview, said: “By the time Christmas day comes it’s not surprising we’re ready for a break. Plan and record your TV viewing in advance using the eight-day on screen TV guide on a Freeview Playback digital TV recorder, and you can take that 4.30pm nap on Christmas Day without the worry of missing your favourite TV shows!”

The top 5 Christmas stresses

  1. Going out and overindulgence 51%
  2. Christmas shopping for gifts and food 32%
  3. Entertaining the kids 23%
  4. Coping with the family 13%
  5. Travelling long distances to be with family and friends 7%

Families in Scotland are the most likely to catch 40 winks at 4.30pm on Christmas Day, with 68% admitting to falling asleep at ‘snooze o’clock’. They were closely followed by the Welsh (57%) and Londoners (55%) as the most likely cat nappers.

Families in London (55%), the Midlands (52%) and the North West (41%) admitted that Christmas was the most stressful time of year, with gift shopping 34%, food shopping 28% and entertaining the kids 21% being the main reasons. Other reasons included them getting up early on Christmas Day to start cooking 11%, looking after the family 7% and traveling long distances to be with family and friends 6%.

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