South Westerners Saying Goodbye To Some Christmas Traditions

published on 5 Dec 2014

A new survey of the South West and Bristol residents has revealed that a host of Christmas traditions are falling by the wayside because modern life is taking over. 

Turkey roast is falling out of favour with 60 per cent in Bristol and 58 per cent in the South West saying they are considering an alternative to the traditional Turkey dinners.  

Researchers found that 56 per cent of Bristol residents and 54 per cent of those in the South West don’t plan to go to mass or Christmas Eve church services over the Christmas period this year.  While 26 per cent of those in Bristol and the South West felt that Nativity Plays were falling out of fashion.

Fifteen per cent of people in Bristol believe that sending Christmas cards to friends and family is a disappearing tradition over the festive period. While more than one in five felt that taking part in community spirited activities such as visiting neighbours or volunteering were being forgotten. 

The survey, commissioned by The Salvation Army, revealed that people spend most of their time shopping and wrapping presents, perhaps because half of people felt that giving gifts provides the most Christmas wellbeing (51% in Bristol, 50% South West). Spending time with family was also important to people living in Bristol– with 42 percent saying that helped their wellbeing in comparison to 43 per cent across the South West. 

Many people in the area now find that Christmas has become too commercial (30% Bristol  32% South West).  

Major Ian Harris, divisional commander for the South-Western division of the Church and charity, said: “Christmas is such a special time of year – with the gift giving, good food and the lights and decorations. But many now believe that shopping and commercialism are getting in the way of what is really important about the season. 

“Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus more than 2000 years ago – bringing hope, love, and restoration for everyone. It is a time to celebrate God’s message of good will to all. We can do this by helping those in need, caring for our neighbours, as well as focusing on family and friends. Or if you would like another way to help us help others you could also donate to our Christmas fundraising appeal.”

Just over a third of people from Bristol said they would not be watching the Queen’s speech this Christmas compared to 38 percent across the South West who said they wouldn’t watch it.

Yet, 77 per cent of people in the region still thought that The Salvation Army, including its festive choirs and bands, was synonymous with Christmas.  The Salvation Army is a Church as well as a charity, and will be holding services across the UK over Christmas to mark the birth of Jesus. 

Major Ian Mountford, from Salvation Army church – Bristol Citadel in Ashley Road, said: “We’re working as a team with other churches in Bristol to run a toy and food appeal for children and families in the community who might not otherwise have toys this Christmas. We are also running a Christmas day lunch to help support those who might otherwise be on their own. 

“The Salvation Army helps people who are vulnerable or in need in every community – offering a friendly welcome and listening ear. Why not join us over Christmas, The Salvation Army conducts services throughout the Christmas period.”