Britain's favourite festive traditions – from turkey to Boxing Day footy


There's a lot to love about Christmastime – from seeing friends and family to opening presents to music and movies, it's a time of the year that has something special for everyone. So what are the nation's favourite festive traditions, and what do we love to watch and listen to on the big day?

We surveyed 2,000 people to find out what Brits love the most about Christmas day – and here are the results! 


Forget the traditional Bond movie – according to our poll, Home Alone tops the list of people's favourite Christmas films, winning 24% of the vote.

The classic story of a resourceful child wreaking havoc on a pair of bungling burglars came out ahead of It's a Wonderful Life (21%), Miracle on 34th Street (18%) and Elf (16%), although "Watching Christmas specials on TV" was just as popular as Home Alone with an equal 24%.

Meanwhile, the nation's favourite Christmas song was named as The Pogues' seminal Fairytale of New York, with 29% of people choosing it – compared to 23% who went for Slade's shouty hit Merry Christmas Everybody. Another 22% preferred Wham's tale of cardiovascular disposal Last Christmas, and it turns out Christmas carols are less popular than any of them – they only attracted 19% of the vote.

Boxing Day Football

The Boxing Day football fixtures are a proud British tradition going back to 1860, when Sheffield FC faced Hallam FC at Sandygate Road. The fixtures were first officially included in the inaugural 1888-89 football league season, and while Christmas Day is no longer part of the festive line-up, the Boxing Day match is more popular than ever. In 2016, crowds packed stands with a record-breaking 97% attendance.

Our survey found that the festive football fixtures are most popular in Cardiff and Liverpool, where 20% in each city said it was among their favourite things about the Christmas season. This was followed by Nottingham (13%), Leeds (11%) and Birmingham (10%).

Football fixtures map

Top traditions

Christmas Day is full of little rituals that are really a bit strange when you stop to think about them – whether it's eating chocolate and satsumas first thing in the morning, or eating sprouts at all. Nonetheless, people love Yuletide traditions – a sparkling, decorated Christmas tree tops the list at 47%, followed by Christmas lights at 44%.

 Food's also a big part of the celebrations, with the traditional turkey the undisputed champion of the Christmas menu at 43% of the vote. Pigs in blankets proved a surprising second place at 40%, and despite being a bit of a Marmite food for many, 33% of people named mince pies as their favourite festive snacks.

It's also heartwarming to see that spending time with family is among people's favourite things about Christmas day (37%), as well as receiving, wrapping and buying presents (28%, 26% and 26%) and playing board games with their nearest and dearest (24%).

At the end of the day, Christmas is all about being together with the people you love – and from all of us at Ladbrokes, we hope you and your family have a very merry one this year.

Test your knowledge about some of the most popular Christmas films mentioned here:




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