The 12 prep days of Christmas: How organising the big day takes up almost a fortnight
Preparations for a typical family Christmas Day take up 12 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes, researchers sayParents spend almost two weeks trying to make December 25 as special as possible



17:02 GMT, 1 December 2012

Christmas Day comes but once a year – but preparations for December 25 take up almost a fortnight, new research has found.

The typical family Christmas takes 12 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes to organise, according to a new study.

Between shopping for presents, hanging decorations, and preparing and cooking a festive feast, the hours mums and dads devote to making Christmas Day as special as possible add up to almost two weeks.

The big day: A typical family Christmas day takes an average 12 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes to organise

The big day: A typical family Christmas day takes an average 12 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes to organise

All that organising is not restricted to the festive season itself – the average British family begins planning and saving money for Christmas in the last week of August, while one in seven start buying gifts in the January sales.

But not everybody is quite so well-prepared, a third of families leave all the work to the four weeks leading up to December 25.

The survey of 2,000 UK parents, commissioned by Wilkinsons, found that nine days, 15 hours and 48 minutes is spent researching and shopping for presents.

A further three hours and 26 minutes is spent wrapping the gifts, while writing Christmas cards takes up two hours and 31 minutes.

A total of three hours and six
minutes is spent retrieving decorations from the loft and hanging them
up around the house, while two
days, 10 hours and 48 minutes is taken up thinking, planning and
shopping for food for Christmas dinner.

A further two hours and 34
minutes is spent cooking the festive feast and laying the table.

Christmas shopping adds to the preparation time

Decorating the tree is in an important part of creating a festive atmosphere

Forward planning: Christmas shopping, left, and decorating, right, take up plenty of time ahead of December 25

Steph Chambers, Christmas buyer for the company, said: 'A lot of time and effort goes into making Christmas Day the most special of the year, and thanks to our research we are able to pinpoint exactly how much time and effort it takes.

'So from now on, we won’t talk about the 12 days of Christmas but the 12 days, 14 hours and 13 minutes of Christmas.

'All the effort that parents put in shows just how important an event a family Christmas is. It is a great tradition and despite any stresses and strains most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

'We love Christmas just the way it is.'

Oxford is the Christmas shopping capital of the UK, where parents spend the longest time looking for gifts – 11 days, 15 hours and 54 minutes.

Parents in Edinburgh spend the least time buying presents – seven days, one hour and 15 minutes.

Eight out of 10 families have relatives over to stay during the seasonal period.

One in 10 spend at least a week getting the house in order before they arrive, but 5 per cent have a quick dust around just an hour or less beforehand.