Real vs fake Christmas trees: how do you decorate yours?


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We've taken a look at how people decorate their trees at Christmas. How do your Christmas decorating habits compare?


When it comes to decorating our houses for Christmas, we all have our own habits and traditions. We wanted to find out more about this, so we surveyed 2,000 Brits and started by asking if they opt for a real tree or prefer to fake it.

It turns out three quarters of people who celebrate Christmas go for a fake tree, although Millennials, men and Londoners are all more likely to go for a real one.

Most of us opt to put our Christmas decorations up during the first (32%) or second (31%) week of December, but as many as 17% have theirs on display before December even begins. And 8% of the people in the UK who celebrate Christmas don't actually put any decorations up at all.

This happens for a variety of reasons: some don't like them, some find them tacky and some lack the space. But more than a quarter of people just don't bother, as they know they'll be spending Christmas elsewhere rather than at their home.

Even though Christmas comes once a year, more than two-thirds of Brits said they'd bought the wrong size tree for their home in the past. A quarter of people struggled to get the right number of lights on their tree, while nearly a third found they had the correct number but at least one wasn't working.

Decoration dilemma

Figuring out how many baubles to buy for the Christmas tree is another issue. 39% of people surveyed found they always had baubles left over when they'd finished decorating, while 10% found themselves lacking.

And despite many of us having too many decorations for the tree, 55% of us still buy new ones each year. While for many people that means adding new decorations to their existing haul, 12% of Brits buy entirely new decorations each year. People living in the North West are most likely to do this, while the Welsh are more likely to reuse the decorations they have.

If you're one of the people who struggles to know how many decorations you need to make your tree look just right, take a look at our useful calculator.

If scenes on TV and in films are to be believed, decorating the tree is the perfect festive activity to bring the family together. But while that's true for a third of us, that's not the case for all Brits.

A quarter of us admit it causes arguments, especially when it comes to:

  • Where to put the tree
  • Which decorations to use and where exactly to put each one
  • Accusations of people not pulling their weight

41% of us decorate the tree alone, with 38% of people saying it’s the best way to make sure there aren't any arguments! 16% of Brits leave decorating the tree to their partner – although this is something men are more likely to do than women.

Social shares

Despite the stress of not having the right number of decorations and then arguing about their placement, most people wanted to share their festive decorations on social media when they'd got it just right.

More than three quarters of us share a picture of our Christmas trees on social media, while a fifth of us take to social media if we need festive inspiration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's Millennials and Generation X that are most likely to share their festive displays on social media.

Social media channel % of Brits who share
Facebook 26%
Instagram 18%
YouTube 14%
Twitter 7%
Pinterest 7%
Tumblr 4%

Perhaps it's because we can't help a little festive cheer, or maybe it's because of keeping up appearances on social media, but Brits enjoy spending on Christmas decorations. On average, the UK spends £155.42 on Christmas decorations each year – but 8% of us admit to spending more than £500.

Of all the regions in the UK, Londoners spend the most on average, with a spend of £296.25, with people in the West Midlands at the opposite end of the spectrum spending a more modest average of £84.26.

Noel Summerfield, Head of Admiral Home Insurance said: In an age dominated by technology it’s comforting that the vast majority of us still decorate our homes every Christmas.

“Despite this so many people end up with the wrong size tree, the wrong amount of decorations and potentially fall out with their loved ones over something that should be a happy experience.

“Christmas should be a time of fun, festivities and family-time. Getting organised when it comes to decorations and taking your time to prepare you space before getting the trimmings from the attic could not only reduce the stress of Christmas on you and your wallet but could also save you from having a Christmas-related mishap and having to make a claim.

“Although thankfully rare, we’ve seen several Christmas decorating claims over the last few years. So whether you prefer a real tree or an artificial one, take care when putting up your decorations to avoid damaging yourself or anything in your home.”

Our tips for preventing Christmas claims

  1. When getting decorations down from the loft, take a torch and be careful to only stand on the joists.
  2. Candles are lovely and festive, but don’t leave them burning unattended or anywhere near curtains.
  3. Make sure your ladder is secure before you go up it, and don't do this without someone else around.
  4. Make sure your Christmas lights conform to British Standard (EN 60598), don't leave them switched on overnight and never overload a plug socket.
  5. If you're going away over Christmas, leave your heating on low or turn off the water supply at the mains and drain the system. This will prevent any burst pipes.
  6. Keep glasses of wine and other drinks well away from excited children or pets.
  7. Don't leave presents where they can be seen and if you're expecting a delivery, never leave a note for the delivery driver to tell them you're out.

Take a look at our infographic for more information and statistics.

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