The British are filled with festive good cheerby Peter Kellner / December 11, 2014 / Leave a comment
Sitting down at home, the lights on an artificial tree twinkling in the corner of the room, about to eat turkey with five family members, and dreaming that Boris Johnson might drop by—that is the quintessential English Christmas, 2014. (Scots are different: they would far prefer Alex Salmond.)
This month’s YouGov/Prospect survey shines a light on our families, friendships and food in the festive season. What emerges is a mixture of tradition and change. Eight out of 10 of us will have Christmas trees in our homes, but the overwhelming majority of these are artificial. Non-religious people—almost half the public—are almost as likely to have trees as Christians who attend church at least from time to time. Only members of other faiths buck the trend—and even among them, almost half will have a Christmas tree.
Our eating habits are remarkably constant. In 1952 Gallup found that 69 per cent were eating turkey or chicken for their main Christmas meal. Sixty-three years later the figure is almost identical: 67 per cent. Gallup didn’t ask separately about chicken and turkey, so the mix may have changed. But the preference of fowl over red meat on Christmas Day remains virtually unchanged.
Boris is the most popular politician to spend Christmas with
Eight out of 10 of us will have Christmas trees in our homes
One in six either don’t know their neighbours at all (11 per cent) or actually dislike them (6 per cent)
Ukip voters are most likely to have given nothing to charity over the past 12 months
What probably has changed is our relationship to our neighbours. We seem to be less close to them than we used to be (or at least, less close than suggested by the general image of neighbourhoods in decades gone by). Just one in three of us regard our neighbours as friends. Almost half of us know them by name but have no strong feelings about them. One in six either don’t know them at all (11 per cent) or actually dislike them (6 per cent). And if bygone days were ones when working class neighbourhoods displayed a special solidarity and friendship, those days have long gone. The figures for middle-class…