Red Tractor

The 51-hour Christmas List- the average mums to-do list

10th December, 2012 in Lifestyle, Parenting, Shopping

The average mum will have spent a staggering 51 hours preparing for Christmas by the time the big day arrives, a study has shown. The research revealed the equivalent of more than two days will be spent choosing, purchasing and wrapping presents, making nativity costumes for the kids and taking care of the food shopping.

That, in addition to time spent putting up decorations around the house (and on the tree) as well as cleaning up in preparation for visitors.

The study also found that Christmas dinner in itself takes up to 15 hours worth of planning, preparation and cooking.

The research, which was commissioned by Red Tractor Beef and Lamb, also found that 45% of mums sometimes wish they could get away with a simpler meal than a traditional Christmas dinner.

A fuss-free joint of beef or steak and chips were the top alternatives, while many would settle for a takeaway.

Jane Ritchie-Smith, from Red Tractor Beef and Lamb said:

“The results show that getting Christmas right is really important for mums. They put so much effort into making sure the day, and the whole festive period is perfect, making sure that everyone is fed, entertained and happy.

“From decorating the house, to the shopping and wrapping of gifts, all the planning and preparation adds up to over two days of time, which is a lot for a few days of festivities a year.

“No wonder that with the pressure of making sure that the Christmas meal is perfect, some Mums wish festive food was easier to cook and took less time to prepare.”

The research also found that the average mum will spend just under three hours writing and delivering Christmas cards this year- she’ll then put four and a half hours into cleaning the house ahead of guests arriving and nearly three more decorating the home.

A whopping 13 hours goes into the researching, browsing and buying of presents – followed by at least three and a half hours wrapping them.

The best part of four hours is dedicated to the food shop, with researching recipes and finding ingredients taking a further two in preparation for the Christmas meal.

Nearly three and a half hours is spent preparing and cooking the Christmas Day meat, while on average mums feel it takes 49 minutes to prepare the table, lay cutlery and get the look just right.

On top of that, an hour is spent peeling, chopping and cooking the vegetables, while gravy and sauces clearly play a big role and earn fifty minutes of dedication on average.

Even when the food is cooking in the oven there’s no time for a break – tending to guests, rustling up drinks and sorting out nibbles takes a further two hours of mum’s valuable time.

Once everyone has had their fill at the table, there’s still the matter of three and a half hours’ worth of washing up to be done over the holidays.

Only 25% of women said they weren’t under pressure to make things perfect for Christmas, while four in ten mums feel they get don’t get enough help from their partner around the Christmas holidays.

In fact, more than a quarter goes as far as to say the workload that goes into making Christmas happen is usually entirely on their shoulders.

Jane Ritchie-Smith continued:

”Mums tend to get left with the majority of the Christmas jobs, but the little tasks can soon add up into hours and days of lengthy preparation and planning.

”Christmas dinner can be a logistical headache so we want to give mums and dads a helping hand by suggesting some easier recipe options like a fuss free joint of beef to make Christmas a little smoother this year, but still keep the family happy.

”Because we know how hard people work to make Christmas perfect, it’s about time someone offered a helping hand.”

Red Tractor have set up some time-saving hints and tips to help mums enjoy their Christmas.


Mum’s tasks Time spent
Writing and delivering Christmas cards 2 hours 51 minutes
Decorating the tree 1 hour 38 minutes
Decorating the house 2 hours 43 minutes
Researching and buying presents 13 hours 13 minutes
Present Wrapping 3 hours 35 minutes
Cleaning house before guests arrive 4 hours 28 minutes
Buying food 3 hours 42 minutes
Researching Recipes 1 hour 7 minutes
Searching for ingredients 1 hour 13 minutes
Laying table 49 minutes
Cooking and preparing meat 3 hours 21 minutes
Peeling and chopping vegetables 1 hour
Making gravy and sauces 50 minutes
Cooking at the oven 1 hour 40 minutes
Serving drinks 1 hour 2 minutes
Preparing and serving nibbles 1 hour 3 minutes
Washing up 3 hours 38 minutes
Making nativity costumes 2 hours 57 minutes
Total 50 hours 50 minutes



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