Festive Family Traditions - OutdoorToys

What are the most popular Christmas Traditions?

Christmas is a time of year when millions of people in Britain and around the world gather together with friends and family to celebrate the festive period. Many traditions and activities are associated with Christmas, from the traditional Christmas dinner to the opening of presents and preparing for the visit of Santa.

Often, Christmas traditions are passed down through the generations: father to son, mother to daughter. Meanwhile, other activities are adopted as adults and become new traditions within a growing family. Some festive traditions are for adults only, but most are great family activities designed to entertain the kids at Christmas.

But which festive traditions are the favourites of families across the country? To find out, the team at Outdoor Toys surveyed Brits of different ages, genders, and localities to discover the most popular Christmas traditions from their childhoods, as well as the new ones they may have adopted for their children in later life. 

Most popular childhood festive traditions

Most popular childhood festive traditions

A Christmas day film with the family is the most common tradition.

1. Christmas film: 48.3%

A big meal like Christmas Dinner can often make people feel full and sleepy, and an after-dinner movie can be a great way to relax at Christmas. Whether you are looking for the action-filled adrenaline thrill ride of Die Hard or a wholesome comedy such as Elf, there are Christmas films to cater for every family's tastes. As a result, it was the most popular festive tradition, with almost half of Brits surveyed experiencing it when they grew up. 

2. Picky Boxing Day tea: 35.6%

Although many people indulge in fine food on Christmas Day, the preparation and cooking of a whole festive roast can be a tiring and time-consuming experience, not something you’d want to repeat on Boxing Day! Consequently, families will often save some food from the big day to serve the next day, often in a buffet style with additional snacks and trimmings. This was the second most popular childhood Christmas tradition, as over a third of the adults surveyed had experienced it in their youth. 

3. Post-Christmas dinner walk: 21.1%

Rain, shine, snow, sleet or blowing a hooley, Christmas weather in the UK can be unpredictable. However, over one in five Brits got outside and braved the elements in their childhood, making it the third most popular Christmas tradition. After a big Christmas dinner, people may feel the need to leave the stuffy, warm confines of the house for a bit of fresh air, exercise and good chatter.  

Most popular new Christmas Traditions

Most Brits stick to what they know at Christmas and continue their favourite childhood activities with their own children.

1. Not starting any new traditions: 33.1%

Brits are often accused of being stuck in their ways and tied to traditions, and this is mirrored in their practices surrounding Christmas. Around a third of the people surveyed said that they had not begun any new traditions with their own children, preferring to recycle the ones that faired well in their own childhood. 

2. Christmas film: 21.4%

A generation ago, watching a Christmas day movie could be a chore. This was because options were limited; terrestrial television only showed a limited number of films on a schedule determined by them, and there are only so many Christmases you can watch the same films before they become tiresome. Many Brits in the survey said that watching a Christmas Day movie was a new tradition they had started with their children, and perhaps a reason for this is the freedom to watch whatever you’d like in the streaming era. 

3. Picky Boxing Day tea: 19.8%

Almost a fifth of people stated that they have begun serving a picky Boxing Day tea with their own children despite not experiencing it in their own childhood. With the cost of living crisis and disposable income being at a minimum, a picky tea on Boxing Day can save you money whilst still tasting delicious. 

The Christmas traditions most popular with men

Over twice as many males enjoy visiting the pub at Christmas than females.

1. Pub visit on Boxing Day
Male responses: 10.6%
Female responses: 5.1%
Difference: 105%


The Christmas tradition that men are most likely to prefer over women is a Boxing Day trip to the pub, with men over twice as likely to do so. Around one in ten men said they visited the pub on Boxing Day, compared to just one in 20 women.

2. Pub visit on Christmas Eve
Male responses: 13.7%
Female responses: 6.8%
Difference: 101%

This is followed by a similar Christmas tradition: a Christmas Eve visit to the pub! Going to the pub the night before Christmas was more popular with both genders than doing so on Boxing Day, but the difference between them was slightly smaller. That being said, men were still twice as likely to do so!

3. Pre-Christmas dinner walk
Male responses: 11.8%
Female responses: 6.2%
Difference: 90%

While a post-Christmas Dinner walk was one of the most popular traditions across the country, going for a walk before the meal is much less common. For those who did experience the tradition, there were more males than females in the study, as almost 12% of males have experienced it compared to just over 6% of females, nearly double!

The Christmas traditions most popular with women

Females are more likely to be brought up with no Christmas traditions than males.

1. Picky tea on Boxing Day
Female responses: 42.5%
Male responses: 26.6%
Difference: 59.9%

Almost half of all females surveyed experienced a picky tea on Boxing Day in their childhood; this is far more than their male counterparts. Just over a quarter of men did the same thing, resulting in a disparity of almost 60% between the two sexes. 

2. No Christmas traditions
Female responses: 13.0%
Male responses: 12.1%
Difference: 7.2%

Incredibly, 13% of all British females surveyed did not have any Christmas traditions growing up as a child; while this may sound sad, it is not necessarily, as a tradition is not the only way to have fun at the festive time of year. 

3. Christmas film
Female responses: 48.8%
Male responses: 47.7%
Difference: 2.3%

Although there was very little difference, slightly more females experienced a post-Christmas dinner movie than their male counterparts. Watching a film was experienced by just under 50% of those surveyed. 


  • A survey was sent to 2,000 people in the UK via TLF Panel to discover their childhood Christmas traditions.