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The top family Christmas activities revealed

12 December 2013
  • Parents fork out £45 per child on Christmas trips and treats
  • Trip to see Santa could cost as much as £11 per child
  • ‘Winter Wonderland’ and sporting activities challenge traditional Christmas treats and religious services

For many families a visit to Santa’s grotto is a big part of the magic of Christmas – and this year is no exception.  Most parents of children aged 12 or under are planning to take their kids to see Father Christmas – making it by far the most popular Christmas themed activity.

But, a winter holiday to see the big man doesn’t come cheap.  Parents said that, on average, they spent around £11 per child on a visit to Santa, but a good number had spent considerably more.  Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed said they had paid between £11 and £20, while 12% had spent over £20 per child.

The new survey*, commissioned by, questioned parents on their plans for Christmas themed trips and entertainment.  On average, parents said that they expected to pay-out £44.55 per child on a range of Christmassy activities, which in addition to seeing Santa, include watching the switching on of Christmas lights, a trip to the Panto or cinema and visiting a ‘Winter Wonderland’ type of attraction:

Top family Christmas activities


A visit to Santa


Watch the switch on of Christmas lights


A trip to the Pantomime


A trip to the cinema to watch a Christmas movie


A visit to a ‘Winter Wonderland’ type of attraction


A traditional carol concert


Winter sports activities (ice skating, skiing, tobogganing, sledging)


A Christingle church service


A religious service


A trip on the Santa Express train


A visit to a Christmas market abroad


A trip to London to watch a West End show


A trip to see Santa in Lapland


Commenting on the research, Claire Peate, customer insight manager from, said, “Christmas is traditionally a time of year when families get together to spend time with each other but, as our survey shows, it is also peak time for businesses to sell us Christmas experiences – from Winter Wonderlands and festive ice-skating rinks to visiting Santa ‘at home’ in Lapland.    

“While as parents, we all want to our children to have a magical Christmas, the cost of Christmas presents, treats and activities can quickly mount up.  As a result, it might be wise to consider agreeing a budget for Christmas treats so that spending doesn’t get out of control.”


*On 25th November 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 432 randomly selected British adults who have children aged 12 or under and are Springboard UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.