UK top 10 Christmas traditions

Christmas magic on the up as parents out-do previous generations to keep children believing in Santa

Family Christmas traditions are increasing in popularity across the UK, with parents coming up with more and more creative ways of keeping the magic of Christmas alive.

Our Christmas traditions survey* (carried out by YouGov) show that today's parents take part in nearly four times as much 'reindeer feeding' (8 per cent vs. 31 per cent) and open twice as many letters from Santa with their children than they had done with their parents (18 per cent vs. 36 per cent).

The UK's top ten festive family traditions

The survey shows the lengths today’s parents go to in order to keep the magic of Christmas alive to help make their children’s childhoods even more memorable than their own.

"It’s great to see that treasured traditions such as Christmas letters dominate the top five in the poll with over half of UK children writing a letter to Santa. However, just a third actually get a reply from Mr Claus, which is why the NSPCC is offering to deliver a personalised Letter from Santa for a suggested donation of just £5 to help keep the magic of Christmas alive for all children."
Peter Wanless / NSPCC CEO

Billie Faiers - TOWIE

Star of TOWIE and new mother, Billie Faiers, said:
"Sam and I always go big on Christmas celebrations and this year is no different – we have lots of fun family festivities lined up! Plus, as it's Nelly's first, Greg and I want to make it really special for her and we can't wait to introduce her to Santa for the first time.

"We'll all be in our festive onesies, the mince pie and carrot will be out ready, and she'll also be so excited to get her NSPCC Letter from Santa – the baby's first Christmas version is just adorable."

Changing Christmas traditions

Parents were asked about their own childhoods as part of our survey, and it seems that Christmas has become more creative in recent times. Creating homemade gifts with their children is a favourite with 27 per cent of parents - compared to 18 per cent in previous years.

The introduction of 'Elf' into the Christmas viewing schedule is another big change - sitting 5 places above classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' in our top ten. But one thing we're happy to see hasn't changed too much over the years is children writing letters to Santa.

Even in today's digital age, over half of parents encourage children to hand-write a letter to Santa. Hopefully Santa doesn't get an email address and we can keep this tradition going a bit longer.

"Family traditions are an important part of childhood, giving children a sense of their past as well as a sense of what they can look forward to in the future."
Dr Linda Papadopoulos / NSPCC supporter

NSPCC supporter and psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said:
"Family traditions are an important part of childhood, giving children a sense of their past as well as a sense of what they can look forward to in the future. At Christmas time, whether it's hand-writing a letter to Santa at the kitchen table, making mince pies or opening a letter from Santa, personalised traditions can be a great way to bring the family together.

"The folklore and traditions that we involve our kids in at this time of year give them a sense of what is valued by their family, showing them that they are a very special part of Christmas and giving them a sense of belonging."

Make Christmas magical for a child you know

Number 4 in the top 10 list is opening a letter from Santa. You can make sure a child you know has one to open this Christmas by creating a personalised letter with us. The last day to create a letter and have it posted is Monday 15 December.

Create your letter

Creating a personalised letter from Santa and giving a suggested donation of £5 will help us to do something memorable for the children closest to you and be there for vulnerable children across the UK who'll need our support over Christmas.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,007 parents with children aged 18 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12 – 17 November 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).