When Americans and Brits Start the Holiday Season

By Shane Sentelle | November 20, 2023

Decorated Christmas tree in front of a fireplace. Wrapped gifts are under the tree.

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As winter’s chill emerges, so does a timeless question—when should the Christmas tree grace our homes?

We conducted a study to find out when residents of the United States and the United Kingdom prefer to set up and take down their Christmas trees and lights. We also investigated when they place gifts under the tree and start playing holiday tunes.

Surveying 1,003 participants—including 504 Americans and 499 Brits—we uncovered interesting insights into holiday traditions and behaviors. Explore our findings below.

Key Findings

Setting Up the Tree

The data below reveals when people in the U.S. and U.K. usually put up their Christmas trees and pile presents beneath them.

Infographic sharing when Americans and Brits are more likely to set up their Christmas tree.
Infographic showing when Americans and Brits place gifts under the Christmas tree.

Illuminating the Season

Now that we know when indoor decorating begins (and ends), let’s see when U.S. and U.K. residents choose to set up their Christmas lights.

Infographic sharing when Americans and Brits put up their Christmas lights.

Holiday Harmonies

Now that we’ve explored timing for indoor and outdoor decorating, let’s delve into when residents of the U.S. and U.K. tune in to their favorite holiday music.

Infographic showing when Americans and Brits are likely to start playing holiday music.

Final Thoughts

Our study revealed that Americans and Brits have different timing preferences when embracing holiday traditions, with Americans generally getting into the festive spirit earlier in the year. While both nations follow similar customs, such as decorating with artificial Christmas trees, Americans tend to set up decorations and play holiday music as early as November, contrasting the British preference for early December. From stringing twinkle lights to playing festive tunes, our study highlights variations in when each culture starts the holiday season.


For this campaign, we carried out a survey from November 6–7, 2024. We conducted this survey using the Prolific platform and disseminated it to a total of 1,003 participants—including 504 Americans and 499 Brits—to explore each culture’s holiday decoration and music habits.

Fair Use Policy

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