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Many over-65s spend Christmas alone

More than one in 10 over-65s in Britain will be spending Christmas Day alone, according to a survey showing that a majority of people believe the festive period is "over-rated".

Telephone research into the views of 1,005 adults revealed the majority of the population - 68% - will spend Christmas Day with family.

But 6% said they would spend Christmas Day alone, with this figure rising to 11% of the over-65s, the survey conducted for Theos, the public theology think-tank, showed.

A majority - 54% - said they thought the festival was "over-rated", with 18%, or nearly one in five, saying they "dread" Christmas.

The research conducted between Friday and Sunday, showed 82% expected to spend the same or less on Christmas presents this year than last year.

Nearly one in five, or 18%, of those spending less, said it would make Christmas "better" as it would help them focus on the "things that matter".

A further 62% said it would make no difference because Christmas is about "more than presents". But 15% said spending less would make Christmas "worse" because they would not be able to afford the things they want.

Only 13% of all the people surveyed said they would borrow money if necessary to ensure they could afford "decent" Christmas presents.

The survey showed the least wealthy, those in the two lowest socio-economic groups, were more likely to dread Christmas, at 22%, more likely to borrow money for Christmas, at 15%, and more likely to believe Christmas to be overrated, at 61%.

They were also more likely to spend Christmas on their own, at 11%. More than one in three, 36%, said they would attend a Christmas church service this year compared with 44% in 2008. A majority, 62%, said they would not be attending a Christmas service this year.

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