It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas… But Is The UK Ready?

Last updated: December 6th, 2023 Published on: November 25, 2020

The official countdown to Christmas is on!

Shops have their Christmas ranges out, decorations are going up and, if you are like us, many of you are already lining up the Christmas films and tucking into the (Christmas) treats.

At Funky Pigeon, Christmas is one of our favourite seasons, and it’s the same for loads of you too. This year, we took a deep dive into Christmas in the UK, everything it encompasses, what types of Christmas gifts we love and how we are getting ready for the unique festive season.
We polled the UK public on a national scale to get the facts and combined that with a few other sources too.

Christmas Spending in 2020

Looking at data from 2020, according to the Bank of England, we spend more in December compared to any other month. This increase is across several categories, with 56% spending more on toiletries, 2 in 5 of people spending more on alcohol and 16% spending more on food.

This year, however, research from American Express reveals that two-fifths of Brits started their Christmas shopping earlier than in previous years, hunting down deals and sale items in a bid to keep costs down.

Funky Pigeon’s poll results found that men spend £47.49 more on average for Christmas preparations than women. 15% of men spare no expense, spending over £501 on compared to just 8% of their female counterparts.


We love the feel-good and heartwarming vibes that come with Christmas decorations. For 55% of Brits, putting up the tree and decorations officially marks the start of getting ready for Christmas. A quarter of people also think it’s important to check which decorations need replacing first.

Most Brits – 3 in 5 – agree that the Christmas decorations should be up in December. However, this year a quarter of you have decided to bring the festive cheer as early as possible by decorating earlier.


Our own unique Pigeon data shows that in 2019, the amount people spent on Christmas gifts increased by over £1.16 billion from the year before. In December 2019 alone, Brits spent £2.5 million hoping to make someone’s Christmas that extra bit special.

Sixty-four per cent of adults start getting ready for Christmas by buying and wrapping presents, yet 77% of people say they get at least one Christmas gift they don’t like. To help you avoid a common mistake when picking something for loved ones, (or Secret Santa gifts!), we have taken a look at some of the worst Christmas presents people have received. Buy with caution if you want to improve your ranking as a Christmas gift-giver!

  • Ugly clothes/shoes/jewellery
  • Standard toiletry kits bought quickly in the supermarket
  • Something regifted
  • Clothes/shoes that don’t fit
  • Household products (e.g. cleaning products, saucepan sets etc)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Something homemade
  • Underwear
  • Exercise gear

Some unfortunate people have received some very off-key (and non-personal) gifts including:

“A guillotine.”

“A fish tank ornament from my wife. I don’t have a fish tank.”

“A margarine tub filled with pennies.”

“3 x £1 ready-made meals. Wasn’t a joke either”


“Hankies with the wrong initial on them”

“Empty bottle of perfume, and out of date Baileys”

What do we do with unwanted gifts? According to Statista, we mostly hope that someone else can love it more than you do, with over half of people (53%) donating it to charity or regifting it. Twenty-eight per cent of Brits do nothing and, as for the rest, last year you…

  • Sold it on the market place/car boot- 7%
  • Try to get school credit – 7%
  • Binned it – 5%
  • Asked to get replacement/refund – 5%
  • Used it – 3%
  • Altered/upcycled – 2%
  • Swapped – 1%
  • Undecided – 1%

(If you need some more ideas on how to recycle your unwanted gifts we have created an extensive list of ideas here.)

Christmas in 2020

There is no doubt that this year Christmas will be different. Many of us already thinking about how this year’s festivities will be affected, with over a third (38%) saying it depends on Government restrictions.

  • 44% of people are concerned they will not be able to see loved ones
  • 2 in 5 socialites are bothered about missing Christmas events
  • Just over a third (35%) admit Christmas Day is likely to be much smaller than usual
  • In spite of everything, 1 in 10 boldly state “I will not let the Covid-19 pandemic change my Christmas plans in any way”

At the same time, a quarter of Brits are likely to spend less money this year.

Our research shows there is no evident one-size-fits-all Christmas tradition in the UK on how to start or wrap up Christmas, as long as people get into the festive spirit. This Christmas might possibly be the most socially-distanced ever, so should you need a gift to show how much you care, Funky Pigeon has something for everyone – including Christmas cards, personalised gifts and stocking fillers.