Men take charge of just four things at Christmas while women shoulder bulk of holiday chores

Carving the turkey is one of the few tasks that men take the lead on during Christmas, according to new data. (Getty Images)
Carving the turkey is one of the few tasks that men take the lead on during Christmas, according to new data. (Getty Images)

When it comes to the festive season, who kicks off the planning for the big day? Who comes up with the present list, buys them and wraps them? Who does the festive big shop, and who leaves treats out for Father Christmas?

Turns out, the majority of the time, the women in the family are the ones who take on most of the responsibilities that come with the holidays. According to new data by Starling Bank, 85% of women say they do most of the Christmas tasks, compared to just 30% of men.

Despite increasing awareness surrounding the inequality of household chores among heterosexual couples, old stereotypes continue to persist with the burden of maintaining the home falling disproportionately to women.

This pattern continues during Christmas time, when additional tasks like organising presents and dinner come into play. Research released by Starling Bank, following the launch of its Share The Load online tool, shows that women are primarily responsible for 19 of the 23 Christmas tasks suggested by the survey.

Depressed frustrated woman wrapping Christmas gift boxes, winter holiday stress concept
The chore of buying and wrapping Christmas presents for the family disproportionately falls to women, survey finds. (Getty Images)

In contrast, men take the lead on just four tasks - two of which take place on the big day. These include carving the turkey (51% of men do this compared to 26% of women) and washing up after Christmas dinner (31% of men vs 26% of women).

The other festive tasks that men take on include untangling fairy lights (41% vs 28%) and getting rid of the tree after Christmas (51% vs 16%).

Women are more likely to:

  • Buy presents (57% of women vs 8% of men)

  • Wrap presents (58% vs 10%)

  • Plan Christmas dinner and buy it (51% vs 12%)

  • Cook Christmas dinner (49% vs 19%)

  • Dressing kids (47% vs 6%)

  • Attend the children’s nativity play (28% vs 6%)

  • Leave out treats for Santa Claus (36% vs 11%)

  • Buy the tree and decorations (46% vs 16%)

  • Write Christmas cards (62% vs 10%)

  • Clean the house for guests (42% vs 12%)

  • Tidy up after guests (28% vs 15%)

Because women take on the lion’s share of Christmas tasks and chores, the research found that they enjoy the festive season less than their male partners.

Women are twice as likely to feel exhausted once the festive season is over, and twice as likely to feel like a nag, the survey found. Nearly a fifth (20%) of participants who do the majority of Christmas chores say they feel taken for granted, with the figure rising to 22% for women compared to 12% of men.

Frustrated and upset family couple sitting on sofa in living room on christmas, man and woman quarreling not talking, celebrating new year and christmas near tree on winter day.
The unequal division of labour during the Christmas period can lead to disagreements and arguments between couples. (Getty Images)

Commenting on the research Rachel Kerrone, family finance expert at Starling Bank says: "Our Share The Load findings and tool sparked conversation in the UK about who really does what at home. Household pressures can be even greater at Christmas and, once again, our research indicates that women are taking on more of the burden."

Among heterosexual couples, around a third (33%) of men agree their female partner does the most work at Christmas. However, a similar proportion (30%) say they do the most at Christmas - although this is only backed by 3% of women.

LGBT+ couples see a slightly more equal division of chores, but one partner still ends up doing the bulk of the work. More than six in 10 (63%) say they do the majority of Christmas-related tasks - although only 13% of their partners agree with this.

One in five LGBT+ partners say they start to resent their significant other, and 14% say the unequal burden causes arguments.

Watch: 1 in 5 believe their pet enjoys the holiday season more than them

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