West Midlands Saying Goodbye To Some Christmas Traditions

published on 5 Dec 2014

A new survey of West Midlands, Birmingham and Coventry 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 40 per cent in Birmingham, 45 per cent in Coventry and 38% in West Midlands says they are considering an alternative to the traditional Turkey dinners.  

Researchers found that 43 of Brummies, 60 per cent of Coventry residents and 48 per cent of those in the West Midlands don’t plan to go to mass or the church services over the Christmas period this year.  But just nine per cent of those in Coventry felt that Nativity Plays were falling out of fashion compared to more than one in five Brummies and West Midlanders.

Twenty-seven per cent of people in Coventry believe that sending Christmas cards to friends and family is a disappearing tradition over the festive period. 

The survey, commissioned by The Salvation Army, revealed that people spend most of their time shopping and wrapping presents, perhaps because most people felt that giving gifts provides the most Christmas wellbeing (52% in Birmingham, 55 % Coventry and 38 % West Midlands). Spending time with family was more important to people living in Coventry – with 40 percent saying that helped their wellbeing in comparison to 32 per cent of Brummies. 

Many people in the area now find that Christmas has become too commercial ( 32% Birmingham, 45 % Coventry and 34 % West Midlands).  

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

“Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus more than 2000 years ago - the real reason behind why we celebrate - so Christmas represents hope and love. It is a time to celebrate God’s message of good will to all men. We can do this by reaching out to our community and helping those in need as well as focusing on family and friends. Or if you would like to help us help others, why not donate to our Christmas fundraising appeal.”

People from Birmingham and the West Midlands are much more likely to watch the Queen Christmas address (40 %) than those in Coventry (31 %). 

Yet, eighty 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 Stephen White, from Salvation Army church – Birmingham Citadel, said: “We run a toy and food appeal every year for children and families in the community who might not otherwise have toys this Christmas. We also run a Christmas day lunch to help support those who might otherwise be on their own. 

“The Salvation Army helps vulnerable people in need in every community – offering compassionate support and a friendly welcome. Why not join us over Christmas, The Salvation Army conducts services throughout the Christmas period such as our Christmas concerts at The Symphony Hall on December 14 (taking place at 2.30pm and 6pm).” 

Major Gethin Thomas, of Coventry City Corps, said: “Across Coventry The Salvation Army will be there – whether it be providing a Christmas lunch for those who are homeless at our centres, known as Lifehouses, helping provide gifts so residents of our Lifehouses can give a present to their children, or as we at Coventry City corps do – running a toy appeal so children who might not otherwise get a gift this Christmas will do. We also joining with six other Coventry churches to open one night a week over the winter period as a night shelter for people who would otherwise be on the streets.

“And our church services over the festive season, as always, are open to all and we will give a friendly and warm welcome.”