Many hours are spent on the Christmas dinner prep to get it perfect

Many hours are spent on the Christmas dinner prep to get it perfect

The average mum will have spent a staggering 51 hours preparing for Christmas by the time the big day arrives, including over four hours cleaning the house and 13 hours researching and buying presents, 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, which was commissioned by Red Tractor Beef and Lamb also found that Christmas dinner in itself takes up to 15 hours of planning, preparation and cooking and that 45 per cent 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 50 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 a quarter of women said they weren’t under pressure to make things perfect for Christmas, while four in ten mums feel they don’t get enough help from their partner around the Christmas holidays.

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

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/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


50 hours 50 minutes

How long do you spend on Christmas preparations? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK


Shabana Adam @Shabs_A

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