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Men only take care of four things at Christmas, while women do most of the holiday work

Who starts planning for the big day when the holidays begin? Who makes the gift list, buys the presents and wraps them? Who does the big Christmas shopping and who prepares candy for Santa?

It turns out that in most cases, it's the women in the family who take on most of the tasks that come with the holidays. According to new data from Starling Bank, 85% of women say they do most of the Christmas tasks, compared to just 30% of men.

Despite increasing awareness of the inequality of household responsibilities among heterosexual couples, old stereotypes persist that the burden of household management falls disproportionately on women.

This pattern continues during the Christmas period, when additional tasks such as organising gifts and getting dinner are added. A study published by Starling Bank following the launch of its online tool Share The Load shows that women are primarily responsible for 19 of the 23 Christmas tasks identified in the survey.

Depressed frustrated woman packing Christmas gift boxes, winter holidays stress concept

According to a survey, the task of buying and wrapping Christmas presents for the family is disproportionately taken on by women. (Getty Images)

In contrast, men only take the lead on four tasks – two of which take place on the big day. These include carving the turkey (51% of men versus 26% of women) and washing up after Christmas dinner (31% of men versus 26% of women).

Other festive tasks men take on include untangling fairy lights (41% versus 28%) and taking down the Christmas tree after Christmas (51% versus 16%).

Women are more likely to:

  • Buying gifts (57% of women vs. 8% of men)

  • Wrapping gifts (58% vs. 10%)

  • Planning and buying Christmas dinner (51% vs. 12%)

  • Cooking Christmas dinner (49% vs. 19%)

  • Dressing children (47% vs. 6%)

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

  • Leave candy for Santa (36% vs. 11%)

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

  • Writing Christmas cards (62% vs. 10%)

  • Cleaning the house for guests (42% versus 12%)

  • Cleaning up after guests (28% vs. 15%)

Because women take on the lion's share of Christmas tasks and chores, the study found that they enjoy the holidays less than their male partners.

According to the survey, women are twice as likely to feel exhausted after the holidays and are twice as likely to feel like complainers. Nearly a fifth (20%) of respondents who do the majority of Christmas chores say they feel taken for granted, compared to 22% of women and just 12% of men.

Frustrated and angry family couple sitting on the sofa in the living room at Christmas, man and woman arguing and not talking, celebrating New Year and Christmas on a winter day next to the Christmas tree.Frustrated and angry family couple sitting on the sofa in the living room at Christmas, man and woman arguing and not talking, celebrating New Year and Christmas on a winter day next to the Christmas tree.

The unequal division of labor during the Christmas season can lead to disagreements and arguments between couples. (Getty Images)

Rachel Kerrone, family finance expert at Starling Bank, commented on the study: “Our findings and our Share The Load tool have sparked a debate in the UK about who actually does what at home. Pressures in the home can be even greater at Christmas and our study shows again that women bear a greater share of the burden.”

Among heterosexual couples, around a third (33%) of men agree that their partner works the most at Christmas. However, a similar proportion (30%) say they work the most at Christmas – although only 3% of women support this.

For LGBT+ couples, the division of tasks is a little more even, but one partner still ends up doing the majority of the work. More than six in ten (63%) say they do the majority of Christmas-related tasks – although only 13% of their partners agree.

One in five LGBT+ partners say they are starting to feel resentment towards their partner, and 14% say the unequal burden leads to arguments.

Attention: 1 in 5 believe that their pet enjoys the holidays more than they do

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