Christmas tree decorations

(Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels)

LONDON — Adults who celebrate Christmas will spend almost five years preparing for the big day over their lifetime. Research reveals a total of 34 hours is spent untangling lights, more than two days decorating the tree and 164 weeks cleaning and tidying before guests arrive to ensure the festive season goes to plan.

The poll of 2,000 British adults who participate in Yuletide festivities also finds they will spend 36 hours picking or vacuuming up pine leaves from real trees over a period of 63 years. Almost one-and-a-half days will also be dedicated to redecorating the tree if children or other household members have done a poor job of it — with a confident 22 percent claiming their decorating skills are “amazing.”

But the most time will be spent planning for the Christmas dinner as this will take up almost two-and-half years. An average of 41 hours will also be spent on “unexpected” challenges, such as failed cookers and hosting for last minute guests. The research, which was commissioned by British DIY product company B&Q, also found an hour is spent packing away decorations post festivities each year, with 54 per cent describing their technique as ‘neat and tidy’, but 16 per cent admitted theirs is haphazard.

When asked about making this time of year easier, the things people would like hacks for were revealed as wrapping unusual shaped presents (27 percent) and how to untangle tree lights (14 percent).

“Christmas time is a special and rewarding time for all those involved, and provides the perfect excuse to host loved ones in the home for festive fun,” says Mairi Devlin, a B&Q spokesperson. “There’s nothing more important than quality time with friends and family and creating new traditions, such as buying a real tree each year and adding new decorations as each year passes.”

The study also found 60 percent find the festive season stressful and 45 percent wish there were ways to help make it less so. A further 13 percent would like to learn hacks for packing away Christmas decorations while 12 percent hope to find a shortcut for fitting lots of people around the dinner table when there aren’t enough chairs.

Among the biggest challenges were cooking everything at the same time (28 percent) and similarly fitting all food in the oven (22 percent). Packing and unpacking decorations were found to be equally challenging (12 percent) while a tenth find it tricky keeping real trees alive.

Due to the cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom, 41 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, think this Christmas will be more stressful this year compared to last. But looking at the positives, the nation’s favorite things about the festive season were revealed as spending time with family and friends (44 percent), the food and drink (41 percent) and giving presents (34 percent).

And despite the challenges, 17 percent enjoy decorating their home, while 15 percent like hosting for loved ones (15 percent).


1. Create a table extender with large pieces of MDF to fit everyone on the table for Christmas dinner

2. Make sure your front door is spotless before hanging the Christmas wreath to avoid drawing attention to any scuff marks

3. Use a pencil to help tease out the knots in the Christmas lights

4. Bleed your radiators to make sure the heating works efficiently before guests arrive

5. Set up a dedicated workstation to wrap your presents and allow enough elbow room to unroll the paper easily

6. Always hang your Christmas tree lights first before the decorations

7. Label your Christmas tree ornaments so they are easily identifiable for when you get them out next year and stores everything in reusable bags

8. As soon as you have bought your tree, take it out of its netting to allow air to circulate and for the branches to settle

9. Before moving it inside the house, keep your Christmas tree in a cool place, such as a shed or garage

10. Feed your tree some water before decorating and every day after that

Report by 72Point writer Lucy Brimble

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