Press release

Food and family still make Christmas for the over 50s

Monday 13 December 2010

  • 91% of over 50s feel lunch with the family makes Christmas
  • Over 50s happy to switch off the Queen’s speech
  • 4% of 18-24 year olds thought the traditional Christmas Tree was introduced by Coca-Cola!

The over 50s will be heading to their kitchens this Christmas to channel their inner Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson and cook festive food themselves, new research reveals.

Saga questioned 2000 adults about their Christmas plans in a bid to understand changing Christmas traditions and what is going to be important to people this year.

When it comes to traditional food, more than one in three over 50s (38%) will make their own mince pies compared to only 27 per cent of under 50s. A further one in three (35%) will prepare their own stuffing; and the over 50s are twice as likely to create their own Christmas pudding (21%) compared to the under 50s (10%).

When it comes to enjoying the fruits of their labour, 91% of the over 50s said they could not do without the tradition of Christmas lunch with the family and 96% felt that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without seeing the family at all. However 1 in ten of respondents under 50 would be quite happy to ditch the traditional family Christmas.

One in three over 50s (31%) could, however, give drinks with the neighbours a miss – suggesting our nearest are not necessarily our dearest on Christmas day.

Once lunch is over, it seems that tradition now falls by the wayside, with 39 per cent of the over 50s saying they could happily switch off the Queen’s speech and 24 per cent agreeing that Christmas TV programmes in general could go – they’ve seen them all before. The monarch’s annual address is even less popular with the younger age group; 46 per cent of under 50s said they could do without the Queen’s speech.

The over 50s are more in tune with the history of our Christmas traditions. While 88 per cent of people agreed that a tree was a Christmas essential, many younger people are not aware of its origins. Two in three over 50s (66%) correctly identified Prince Albert as the person responsible for introducing the Christmas tree to the UK, compared to 43 per cent of those under 50. Almost one in seven people under 50 (14%) said that the Pagans first brought us the Christmas tree, while one in twenty (4%) 18–24 year olds thought this tradition was down to Coca-Cola.

Despite the fondness we hold for our trees, the majority of people will not be making decorations themselves this year. Just 13 per cent of the over 50s will create DIY decorations compared to 21% of under 50s.

Across the UK:

  • There are high levels of creativity in the East of England. One in five (21%) will make their own decorations, 22 per cent will make their own Christmas cards and 10 per cent will make a Christmas wreath.
  • The North East is the most family–orientated region, with just 7 per cent saying they could do without sharing Christmas lunch with their family, compared to 13 per cent of those from the East Midlands.
  • Just one in five people from Yorkshire (20%) would miss out on drinks with their neighbours, compared to 37 per cent of Londoners.

Emma Soames, Editor at large for Saga Magazine said: “Understanding the mindset of the over 50s is what Saga is all about and these results give us a picture of an evolving group of people, who value family and tradition but are also very much moving with the times.”


For further information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.



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