After an unprecedented year, most of us are looking forward to 2020 being a distant memory. Despite this – or because of it – new research from Countdown identifies that Kiwis are getting into the festive spirit early, and only a few of us are feeling worried about the potential of a Christmas lockdown.

Countdown has surveyed almost 1500 Kiwis about Christmas; what it means to them and what traditions are a must-do on the most magical day of the year.

The research reveals that most of us are celebrating our main meal at lunchtime with a hot ham, we’re listening to Snoopy’s Christmas, aren’t too shy to pop a bottle of celebratory bubbles first thing in the morning, and lots of us under the age of 30 are starting the day with a chocolate or two!

Countdown’s research shows that Kiwis’ top ten Christmas activities are:

1.      Spending time with family and friends

Almost 80% of Kiwis say that the thing that makes Christmas Day special is being with family and loved ones. Parents say that the act of giving is just as important as being with family. Seeing the joy on children’s faces as they open presents from mum, dad or Santa really makes the heart melt. And while COVID-19 is never far from our minds, almost 70% of people surveyed said they weren’t feeling worried about a potential lockdown over Christmas.

2.      Eating Christmas treats

Although Kiwis love a BBQ in summer, Christmas fare remains steeped in old traditions. When asked what people’s must-have food on the Christmas table, almost a quarter of us said that hot ham was a must! Closely following was the iconic Kiwi favourite, the pavlova. Other must-haves included a leg of lamb, turkey and trifle. Christmas cake didn’t fare so well, with none of the age-groups surveyed picking it as their top treat.

3.      Christmas lunch

The main Christmas meal for more than half of us is at lunch time whilst 13% of us have multiple Christmas locations and meals. And while a traditional Christmas is often portrayed with Santa in the snow, families wearing ugly Christmas jumpers, drinking eggnog and watching the Queen’s Speech, in fact only a third of us tune in to see what she has to say and the majority of them are 60 years or over.

4.      Opening presents

On Christmas morning, more than 60% of Kiwis told us that their favourite thing to do was open presents. Whether that’s presents from Santa, from friends and family, or something to keep the kids entertained before breakfast – Christmas is a time of giving!

5.      Playing games with family or going for a walk, bike or swim

Surprisingly only a third of Kiwis like to have a nap on Christmas Day. Instead, the majority (90%) of Kiwi families like to get out and do something on Christmas Day, whether it’s going to visit friends and family, getting outside for a walk, swim or hike, and we love to play games.  The beauty of summer means we’re not stuck inside drinking eggnog and toasting marshmallows around the fire. In fact, only four per cent of us make eggnog and mulled wine for Christmas Day.

6.      Watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve

Nearly 50% of us are starting to prep food for the meal the next day on Christmas Eve, whilst 35% are tucking into a hot chocolate with marshmallows whilst watching our favourite Christmas movies. But spare a thought for the Kiwis under the age of 30 years, they tend to still be running around the malls getting those last-minute presents on Christmas Eve.

7.      Getting dressed up

Almost half of us say that we like to wear our nice dressy clothes on Christmas Day rather than an ugly Christmas sweater! With almost a third of us getting into theme with some form of Christmas accessories, whether it’s a Christmas hat from the crackers, festive earrings or reindeer ears, there’s bound to be something you can wear.

8.      Relax on Boxing Day

Boxing Day is all about relaxing and eating leftovers from the day before. While more than 70% of us sit back and eat the leftover ham and treats, the rest of us are either going to the shops for the sales or hitting the beach.

9.      Listening to Christmas music

Snoopy’s Christmas is the crowd favourite when it comes to Christmas songs, surprisingly beating Maria Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You for the top spot. It’s a must have in Countdown’s store music playlist every year!

10.    Champagne for breakfast

Almost a quarter of us like to start the day with a glass of bubbles at breakfast! It’s a day of love, celebration and festivities so what better way to start the day than popping open a bottle of champagne.

Countdown’s Head Elf (aka General Manager of Merchandise) Steve Mills, says that it feels like this Christmas means more than usual, after a really uncertain year for Kiwis.

“I think that it’s fair to say that after one of the most challenging years in history we’re all ready for Christmas. It’s another busy time in our stores and for our teams, but I think all of us across the country are feeling grateful for the chance to celebrate with our customers, family and friends.

“Interestingly almost 70% of Kiwis don’t tend to put out a plate for Santa on Christmas Eve! However, for those of us that do partake in leaving a little treat for the big guy, a glass of milk or beer is always popular, and our favourite treat for Santa is cookies, plus a few carrots for the reindeer,” says Mills.

“Whether it’s your favourite box of Scorched Almonds, crackers, a ham, fresh cream or a roll of Christmas paper and sellotape, Countdown has everything you need to have a magical Christmas to remember. And luckily we’re open late for all those last-minute panic buys on Christmas Eve,” says Mills.

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