12 Studies of Christmas: The Meaning of Christmas

Extending the Christmas cheer for one more day, our final festive study is here. This one speaks for itself - we asked 100 participants three questions: What are you most looking forward to this Christmas? What is your favourite Christmas memory? and For you, what is Christmas really about? Here are some of our favourite responses.

What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

A long peaceful walk in the countryside

Watching my toddler get excited about Father Christmas and playing with the presents he receives.

Feeling festive and happy after a really rubbish year and spending time with the family I'm allowed to see.

The fact that it will be much quieter than usual, and less compulsion to overeat or drink. Just the two of us.

Being able to spend time with my parents for a day, giving them gifts that I have saved up for all year.

Giving my child the best day and seeing his little face on Christmas morning after the rubbish year we’ve had

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

For around 4 years, my boyfriend and I were in a long distance relationship which was very difficult, and I'd often get upset and say we needed to set a date for moving in together so I had a light at the end of the tunnel for relief. Last year, he gave me a candle that had been made personally for me with the scent I'd like, and on the label it said "the light at the end of the tunnel", and he told me he was moving to London to live with me.

As a child, my parents didn't put Christmas decorations up until Christmas eve, when we were in bed. It was magic to come downstairs on Christmas morning and see the house all decorated, the tree lit, and a pile of presents.

My grandfather used to dress up as Father Christmas and seeing him come into my room and leave my stocking on my bed was really special (even though I knew it was him!)

When my grandaughter was born just the week before Christmas

When I was a small child I came downstairs to muddy footprints through the house and some potatoes with bites taken from them. My mother said it was Santa's reindeer but now I obviously know that she walked mud all over the house and bit raw potatoes.

Announcing to my family in Christmas Day that we were expecting a baby.

1964 meeting my wife

Spending Christmas with my late Grandad where we put up a pop-up table in the living room to eat Christmas dinner to accommodate Grandad's wheelchair.

When a sheep got into the garden and I watched my dad chase it around in the snow. Best Christmas

For you, what is Christmas really about?

It is about personal traditions, the decorations, present giving and feeling happy and excited. It is a celebration to be enjoyed with family and friends.

It's about how the Son of God chose to come into the world as a screaming baby, to presence himself in the mess and the joys of humanity so that we can know him - Immanuel - God with us. It's also about the other lovely stuff - time with family, silly games, beautiful food and alcohol - a feast time and a celebration time.

A time when we can temporarily escape from everyday worries just relax and enjoy life.

Christmas is about having a cheerful celebration in the darkest and coldest part of the year. It's about appreciating family and friends, and relaxing with good food, before a new year starts with renewed motivation.

For me Christmas is about the children. Creating magic, decorating the house, festive treats, family and presents.

Christmas isn't a thing for me as someone who grew up Orthodox Jewish. But I like the festive season as I feel it's a time when people tend to be nice to each other and remember each other :)

It's not about religious myths. It's about making the effort to do more for friends - whether that's custom drawn Christmas cards or well thought gifts. It's also about helping those less fortunate, such as donating to sadly needed food banks or giving big tips to Big Issue sellers.

Being grateful for friends and family, and being a beacon of warmth at the darkest and coldest part of the year

From everyone at Prolific, we hope you had a merry festive season and wish you all the best for 2021!

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