Forget carol singing and church: Telly is our new Christmas tradition with the average Briton watching five hours of television on Christmas Day

Clara Guibourg
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A TV set with a Santa Claus is displayed
“Never mind the perfect turkey" (Source: Getty)

Ah, Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be… stuck in front of the box?

Yes, it seems that one of the most prominent features of a traditional British Christmas is no longer carol singing or going to church. It’s watching television.

Families are set to spend an eye-watering average of nearly five hours in front of the telly on Christmas Day, according to new research from price comparison site uSwitch.

Television has overtaken more traditional Christmas pastimes, the study shows, as 86 per cent are planning to watch TV, against the 46 per cent set to play board games, 15 per cent going to church and just 11 per cent who say they will go carol singing.

Almost one in four even say that the telly is “part of their Christmas tradition” - certainly, this will be the case for the 20 per cent of Brits who leave the box on even during Christmas dinner.

“Never mind the perfect turkey, the perfect television schedule will feature highly on our Christmas Day festivities list this year,” said Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch, who said the shift was powered by the rise in tablets and smartphones.

As for what we’re glued to, Christmas films and TV specials like Downton Abbey and Doctor Who are drawing most viewers. Around half of those polled are planning to watch one of these, against the mere 23 per cent planning to catch the Queen’s speech.

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