Family, not faith, important to Britons at Christmas British Academy survey reveals

23 Dec 2015

Thirty three percent of Britons hold faith to be the least important aspect of Christmas, according to a survey by YouGov on behalf of the British Academy.

Ahead of our season of events around Faith, we asked what are the least and most important parts of Christmas.

Only 7% of those surveyed said that ‘Faith / Christianity’ is the most important part of Christmas.

'Spending time with family and friends’ was held to be the most important by 65% of respondents, followed by ‘Having time off’ (12%).

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, who will be taking part the British Academy’s Faith events, said:

“These interesting findings confirm a long-standing truth about the Christmas festival, that it has never been entirely an expression of Christian faith.

"Connected with pre-Christian winter observance, grafted on to Christian practice in the fourth century, and given its present form by the Victorians with a great deal of non-Christian symbolism of trees and holly, it has always been a welcome break in dreary months.”

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