12 Studies of Christmas: Activities

Christmas is a time of tradition and, unless your name is Ebenezer Scrooge, this sense of tradition likely extends to the kinds of activities you and your family get up to on Christmas Day. We were keen to learn more about what kind of activities our participants enjoy over the festive period, so we asked, and we learned some interesting (and surprising) things!

On a chilly Christmas day, basking in the warm glow of our electronic family member — the television — is a near-universal activity, enjoyed by all. But what program do we enjoy so much that we insist on watching it every single year?

"Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover." — Homer Simpson

Our participants enjoy an equal helping of Doctor Who and the Queen’s Speech, with both hitting 15.8% of the vote. Following this frustrating tempest of a year, no doubt the soothing words of HRH and the escapist sci-fi of the Doctor and her companions will be needed more than ever!


We also wanted to know if you’d rather watch something new, or the same shows every year. Humans are, after all, creatures of habit, particularly when it comes to the festive season. Surprisingly, however, a huge 63.4% of participants said they’d rather watch something new.

Lockdown has given us more time than ever to watch our favorite shows. I, for one, have unashamedly completed Netflix several times over. Where reruns of Gavin & Stacey in years gone by may have been acceptable, the tribulations of 2020 demand new and exciting content.


But when there's no more telly left to watch, what about games? These communal bonding experiences are ingrained in the Christmas ritual, so we asked our participants for their Christmas game of choice. While the thought of swapping a controller for a board, cards, and dice might seem a tad retrograde to some, a whopping 87.1% of participants chose a board/card game as their game of choice.

Among these, the most popular game was Trivial Pursuit, crowned by a substantial 16.8% of Prolific’s finest. Video games, while at the upper end of the list, hit only 12.9%. Regardless of the game or platform, however, we know that the true enjoyment comes from the people you play with. And from winning, of course.

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." — Helen Keller


Now, there comes a point in everyone’s Christmas when we’ve got mince pies coming out of our ears, you can't see the floor for wrapping, and Mariah Carey has just played for the fifth time. Waddling to the kitchen for a top-up of your favorite tipple, you glance, just for a moment, outside. You face a decision.

Do I continue to enjoy the warmth, safety, and festive ambiance of the indoors, or do I bravely venture outdoors and attempt to offset my gluttony?

For some, a Christmas walk is traditional, and to not would be considered sacrilege. Evidenced by our findings, it is clear that this decision is not one an easy one. 51.5% of participants said they walked the walk, and 48.5% said they didn’t.


Whether sedated by the festive feast or subdued by a Christmas walk, we all have that one family member who - try as they might - fall asleep. As indicated by your responses, the culprit can vary! Here are just a handful of your responses:






Step dad


Myself, I love my sleep

As you can probably tell from the above, we all fall victim to a Christmas-induced slumber at times! Sometimes the most enjoyable days are the most exhausting.

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.” — Leonardo da Vinci

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