Making mum’s Christmas needn’t cost a penny
  • Mums clock over 29 hours preparing for Christmas
  • Over a third of mums would forego presents in return for a helping hand
  • In spite of the hard work 55 per cent admit Christmas is their favourite annual event

Mums nationwide spend 29 hours and 29 minutes preparing for Christmas (on top of their day to day routine) in the run up to Christmas, according to new research released today by Morrisons. With over a third (37 per cent) admitting they would forego Christmas gifts in exchange for a little more help at home.

Proving the saying that a ‘woman’s work is never done’, shopping for presents and festive food (6 hours 27 minutes), preparing and cooking Christmas lunch (6 hours 14 minutes), decorating the house (2 hours 7 minutes) and entertaining guests (3 hours 10 minutes) take up the biggest share of mums’ time at Christmas.

Mums traditionally complete the lion’s share of the work round the house, but 32 per cent state they would give up their lead role at Christmas if they had the chance. Dads pitch in and help too, with an average of 13 hours, less than half the time mums spend.

Although the research revealed that 28 per cent of mums find Christmas more stressful than enjoyable, they admit they wouldn’t have it any other way as 55 per cent state that Christmas is their favourite annual event.

The Morrisons study also found that it takes the average mum three attempts at cooking a Christmas dinner before they feel confident cooking it. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of mums questioned said that turkey is the hardest dish to cook, closely followed by gravy (21 per cent), sprouts (15 per cent) and roast potatoes (13 per cent).

Christmas doesn’t always run smoothly as the research found:

  • Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of mums forget to serve a dish that has been cooked
  • 17 per cent of mums have plated up food at different times and let it go cold
  • 16 per cent of mums have served overcooked or burnt food to guests
  • 15 per cent of mums have missed a vital ingredient from a dish
  • One in ten (10 per cent) mums have served undercooked food to guests

Sonia Whiteley-Guest, Morrisons Director of Brand Development commented: “We understand that Christmas can be a very busy and often stressful time, particularly for mums who tend to take the lead role. Though our research has revealed that the man of the house is sharing the load, it seems mums would still appreciate a few extra festive helpers as they are clocking up over 29 hours on top of their usual routine, in preparation for Christmas.”

Number of hours the nation’s parents spend completing Christmas duties:

Activity Mum Partner
Drawing up lists 1 hour 12 minutes 30 minutes
Writing Christmas cards 1 hour 26 minutes 35 minutes
Delivering Christmas cards 1 hour 14 minutes 39 minutes
Shopping for presents 4 hours 10 minutes 1 hour 22 minutes
Wrapping presents 2 hours 19 minutes 53 minutes
Making nativity costumes 54 minutes 28 minutes
Attending school nativity plays/events 1 hours 12 minutes 48 minutes
Doing the Christmas food shop 2 hours 17 minutes 1 hour 2 minutes
Preparing the Christmas lunch 2 hours 2 minutes 54 minutes
Cooking food in advance 1 hours 35 minutes 35 minutes
Cooking the Christmas lunch 2 hours 37 minutes 57 minutes
Decorating the tree/house 2 hours 7 minutes 1 hour 2 minutes
Entertaining guests 3 hours 10 minutes 1 hour 56 minutes
Catering for unexpected guests 1 hour 22 minutes 47 minutes
Queuing 1 hour 52 minutes 53 minutes
Total number of hours 29 hours 29 minutes 13 hours 21 minutes

With mums spending on average 3 hours 10 minutes entertaining, Executive Chef and Head of Development, Neil Nugent, shares his festive ‘neat cheats’ to ensure you’re not hidden away in the kitchen:

    • The microwave will be your saviour; make your mash potatoes prior to the day and store in the freezer. Defrost thoroughly and reheat with a knob of butter in the microwave – your guests will be none the wiser!
    • Cold starters are a great option. You can pop them onto a plate well in advance and not worry about monopolising the busy stove space
    • Don’t try and offer a service by plating up à la Masterchef, put everything onto big plates and platters that loved ones can pass around the table
  • Begin cooking some of these delicious accompaniments ahead of time and pop them in the freezer. They will be still taste lovely and fresh once defrosted on Christmas Day
    • Pick up Morrisons Cranberry Sauce Kit and make up ahead of the day. It freezes well stored in a plastic container
    • Morrisons Fresh Poultry Gravy and stock can be stored in ice cube trays so you can use as little or as much as you need – it’s also perfect for leftovers
    • Red cabbage freezes nicely once braised and is easy to defrost and re heat
  • People enjoy helping and being involved with the Christmas meal, so get the family involved in the preparations. Here’s a few things they can help you with:
    • Setting and dressing the Christmas table
    • Keeping the drinks topped up
    • Get someone on board to carve the roasts
    • Microwave duty – and have them heating the sauces
    • Washing up – well, you have been on your feet all morning!

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