Festive nostalgia: 1980s named best decade for Christmas

Poll reveals favourite festive decade and Christmas traditions

Does your idea of the perfect Christmas bring back memories of watching “Only Fools and Horses” on the telly while feasting on chocolate novelty tree decorations?

There were only three or four channels to distract us; Christmas jumpers were yet to become trendy and tinsel was all the rage.

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But love them or loathe them, the 1980s have been crowned the best decade for festivities in a UK-wide poll.

The nationally representative research, which surveyed more than 2,000 16 to 95 year-olds reveals what makes the ultimate Christmas from across the ages.

And the decade that gave us the Rubik’s Cube triumphed on the festive front.

We may be happily looking to the future but still have one eye on the past as Christmas nostalgia is apparently on trend this year.

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Tinsel tops Christmas decoration trends

Despite often dividing generations, tinsel was voted the top home decor staple by a quarter of multi-generational respondents.

This is followed by wreaths, coloured Christmas trees and chocolate tree ornaments in the research commissioned by later living operator, Inspired Villages.

The beloved bicycle was voted the gift that evoked the most Christmas memories across all generations, but the survey reveals that younger groups hold the most sentiment towards homemade gifts.

Sixteen per cent of respondents aged 16 to 24 chose presents such as homemade photo albums, artwork, garments and condiments as most meaningful - compared to just seven percent of 75-84 year olds.

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So maybe that homespun electric blue scarf wasn’t in Granny’s letter to Santa after all.

More than half of respondents believe Christmas priorities have changed over the years, with 30 per cent saying for the better versus 27 percent who felt they have changed for the worse.

Of the former, almost half attribute it to more time spent with family.

The perception of negative change comes from the 57 per cent who think there is now too much focus on material items and presents.

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Family time is deemed the most important element of Christmas across every generation.

Christmas food was ranked next by all age groups, followed by giving presents and socialising with friends and colleagues.

“After another tough year for many, it’s understandable that we can expect to see consumers spending and enjoying the upcoming festive season as much as they can with loved ones,” said Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages.

“It’s particularly brilliant to see that there will likely be more emphasis on spending time with family this year.

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“With families of all generations expected to be able to come together and celebrate, our research reveals not only the intergenerational differences when it comes to Christmas sentiment, but also the similarities and priorities that we all share and have stood the test of time. There is so much to be learnt from each generation.”

Indeed, traditions may have changed over the years, but the data finds that the younger generation of 16-44 year-olds collectively believe going to church is most important (30 per cent) compared to 20 per cent of 65-84 year-olds.

However, almost a third of all age groups considered going to church more important when they were children.

After last year’s Christmas, which was coloured by coronavirus restrictions, consumers are expected to go big this festive season, with Brits predicted to spend an average of £168 per head including presents, food, drinks and activities.

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Those aged 35 to 44 years old are forecast to spend the most (£222) and the 75 to 84 year-old age group expected to spend the least, at an average of £125.

Favourite Christmas traditions

When it comes to food, predictably the classic roast turkey proved the most popular amongst all age groups.

Almost a fifth of the nation voted for pigs in blankets as their top side.

Almost a fifth of the nation voted pigs in blankets as their top side in the poll (Credit: Shutterstock)Almost a fifth of the nation voted pigs in blankets as their top side in the poll (Credit: Shutterstock)
Almost a fifth of the nation voted pigs in blankets as their top side in the poll (Credit: Shutterstock)

The humble Christmas pudding may date back to the 17th century, but remains one of the most popular festive desserts and was named by almost a quarter of Brits as their number one after-dinner choice.

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Christmas films came out on top across all generations for entertainment on the day itself, followed by playing board games and watching Christmas soaps on TV.

And when asked which films and music they would most want to watch or listen to with their grandchildren or grandparent, respondants voted 'Home Alone' their top film.

'Fairytale of New York' was voted top song.