Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 29 November to 10 December 2023

Insights on important issues facing society today from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. This edition focuses on adults' experiences of the run-up to Christmas.

This is not the latest release. View latest release

15 December 2023

We will publish the next edition of this bulletin after the Christmas period, on 12 January 2024. We will resume our normal fortnightly editions from 19 January 2024.

Email Laura Fairey, Ana Wheelock Zalaquett and Tim Vizard

Release date:
15 December 2023

Next release:
12 January 2024

1. Main points

In the latest survey period 29 November to 10 December 2023, we asked adults in Great Britain about their plans for the Christmas period.

  • Around 9 in 10 (86%) adults reported that they were going to meet up with friends and family during the Christmas period; other plans included going to a place of worship or a carol concert (20%), donating to a food bank (18%), donating presents to a gift appeal (15%), and volunteering their time with groups, clubs or organisations (8%).

  • Around 3 in 10 (28%) adults reported being worried (very or somewhat) about being able to afford the things they planned to do this Christmas period and 43% were somewhat unworried or not at all worried.

  • As households continue to be affected by higher living costs, we asked adults what actions they had taken or were planning to take this Christmas period; the most reported actions were spending less on Christmas food or presents (46%), buying Christmas food or presents earlier to spread the cost (39%), and using personal savings to buy Christmas food or presents (29%).

We also asked adults about their ability to keep warm in their home and afford their energy bills.

  • Around 1 in 5 (20%) adults reported being occasionally, hardly ever or never able to keep comfortably warm in their home in the past two weeks (13% occasionally, 5% hardly ever and 2% never); this was a slight decrease from 24% in a similar period a year ago (7 to 18 December 2022).

  • Around half (48%) of adults reported using less fuel such as gas or electricity in their home because of increases in the cost of living; this was a decline from 56% in a similar period a year ago (7 to 18 December 2022).

  • Around 2 in 5 (41%) adults reported finding it very or somewhat difficult to afford their energy bills; this has decreased from 47% in a similar period a year ago (7 to 18 December 2022).

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3. Measuring the data

This release contains data and indicators from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS's) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN).

From the 16 June 2023 release onwards, we have made changes that reduce the scope of the release and accompanying datasets. This is based on a routine review of the relevance and usefulness of this release.

Breakdowns by age and sex are no longer provided for fortnightly estimates in the latest Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain datasets. All previous versions of the dataset remain available from this page. Estimates from the OPN by these and other personal characteristics will continue to be provided on a regular basis in other ONS releases. For example, OPN estimates relating to the impact of the cost of living among different sub-groups of the population are provided within the regular Impact of increased cost of living on adults across Great Britain series.

Confidence intervals are provided for all estimates in the datasets. Where changes in results from previous weeks are presented in this release, or comparisons between estimates are made, associated confidence intervals should be used to assess the statistical significance of the differences. 

Sampling and weighting

In the latest period (29 November to 10 December 2023), we sampled 4,975 households. This sample was randomly selected from people who had previously completed the Labour Market Survey (LMS) or OPN. The responding sample for the latest period contained 2,373 individuals, representing a 47.7% response rate.

Survey weights were applied to make estimates representative of the population (based on ONS population estimates). Because of sampling changes in July 2023, some groups in our unweighted sample may be over-represented. Although our weighting strategy aims to account for this, in some instances we may see some differences in population totals presented in the data tables from wave to wave. Further information on the survey design and quality can be found in our Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Quality and Methodology Information (QMI).

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5. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 15 December 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Public opinions and social trends, Great Britain: 29 November to 10 December 2023

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Laura Fairey, Ana Wheelock Zalaquett and Tim Vizard
Telephone: +44 3000 671543