When you think of Christmas, you think unwrapping presents, turkey, sprouts and getting merry. It now seems, according to a survey conducted by OnePoll for Netflix that gathering the family in front of the television is becoming a popular association of the festive season, as 58 per cent of Brits declare that watching TV together is the highlight of their Christmas Day.
It makes sense that more and more people are looking forward to sitting down as a family, as many households rarely spend any time together over the rest of the year. I know in my household – to use the cliché – we are like passing ships in the night, so it is nice to sit down and watch a film or programme together.
Technology allows more TV control
With the advances in technology, we now basically control what we want to watch, especially with services like Netflix and LoveFilm, so it has become much easier for all the family to agree on something to watch during Christmas.
But not everyone enjoys spending the whole day together. Once all the presents are open and we’ve stuffed our faces over Christmas dinner, it seems that most Brits crave a little bit of “me” time, with 45 per cent admitting they can only take three hours of family time before sneaking off for a bit of respite.
The TV revolution is also responsible for this as it means that it is much easier to sneak off from the family to watch TV elsewhere; be it via tablet, phone, laptop or another television set. A third of Brits questioned in the survey admitted to heading off to their bedroom to watch TV with nearly one in ten confessing to even locking themselves in the bathroom with a tablet or phone for a breather.
Betsy Sund of Netflix said: “Christmas is a great time to get the family together, and in front of the TV is still everyone’s favourite place to do it. But the way we watch TV has changed so much in recent years. Tablets are one of the fastest growing ways to watch Netflix, which means we can watch what we want, where we want – and with whom we want. It seems we are using technology as a bit of an escape hatch, grabbing a portable device and a bit of time-out from the family Christmas pressure cooker, as well as a way of bringing the family together.”
Let the festive ratings battle begin
Another reason families are gathering in front of the television much more over the festive period is because Christmas has become the television industries busiest time of year. Like retailers are packed full of frantic shoppers, television channels are packed with viewers seeking entertainment and companies aren’t afraid to bring out the big guns so they escape victorious during the festive ratings battle.
The most popular thing to watch on Christmas Day, every year, is the soaps. It’s become a recurring theme for soap bosses to ramp up the drama over the Christmas period, as perverse as it may sound; we seem to enjoy nothing more than watching people suffering on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of the year.
Last year Eastenders had 9.4 million viewers, a 34.3% share of the audience, for its hour-long special on Christmas Day, which beat its ITV 1 rival, Coronation Street, into second place with 8.8 million viewers, or 34.5% of the audience. This year they go head to head again with storylines including shock violence and an arrest on Coronation Street, a murder plan in EastEnders, and a fire in Emmerdale.
Christmas also brings seasonal specials of the nation’s much loved shows as Doctor Who sees Matt Smith hand over the TARDIS keys to Peter Capaldi, Downtown Abbey and Vicious celebrating Christmas and a whole of host of reality shows including more celebrities taking to the floor for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. As well as this Christmas television schedules also house the biggest terrestrial film premieres with BBC showing Toy Story 3 and Channel 5 showing Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
So it’s no longer a question of whether or not we’ll be watching the television over the Christmas period but instead what will we be watching.
Do you enjoying tuning into Christmas Day television? If so, what are you looking forward to watching?