More than 80 percent of Brits are confused about when our winter occurs, with many (30 percent) believing the coldest season of the year begins as early as November 1st.
A recent study, commissioned by wood burning stove brand Contura to mark the launch of ‘National Cosy Night’ on 30 November (winter’s eve), found that less than one fifth (18 percent) accurately recognise December 21st as the first day of the astronomical winter, whilst only 19 percent correctly note March 20th as its close.
The dates of the astronomical winter are based on the winter solstice, when the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn – the most southerly point on the globe – producing the shortest day and longest night.
Likewise, meteorological winter is missing from most Brits’ calendars. More than eight in ten (84 and 83 percent respectively) could not say when the three coldest months in the Northern hemisphere start or finish. Just over a quarter (16 percent) could pinpoint December 1st as its first day, while only 17 percent identify February 28th as its finale.
When it comes to the freezin’ season, the research, carried out by OnePoll.com, shows that Brits have their very own calendar...
One third claims that November 1st marks the start of the season, with almost 70 percent indicating their personal signals of the onset of winter to be frosty mornings and crisp, cold, dark evenings.
But seasonal starters come a little more varied than that: 18 percent of Brits say the John Lewis Christmas advert signals winter’s arrival. For a fifth of the nation, it is de-icing the car each morning, and one in ten first feel wintery as soon as mince pies appear on the shelves.
Ironically, as Australia’s summer gets underway, as many as ten percent of Brits consider ‘I’m A Celebrity…’ their official winter’s welcome.
Phil Wood, Contura’s country manager for the UK, said: “Astrologers and meteorologists may despair at our lack of knowledge of the true winter dates, but it’s interesting to see that what marks the beginning of winter is personal to each of us. It’s surprising, too, that the vast majority of Brits are actually ‘suffering’ winter as early as November; way before it officially sets in.”
The nation’s favourite winter event was considerably clearer cut – half of Brits say Christmas Day is the best moment of the season, with ten percent of us preferring the build-up, indicating Christmas Eve as the most exciting.
But research shows there is a lot to love about winter beyond the big day. Four in ten claim cosy nights in are the best thing about the colder months, while it was fresh, chilly mornings or crisp evenings for one in ten.
One fifth point to autumnal shades of red, brown, orange and green as their favourite part of winter; the colours of the country walks that ten percent of us love about the colder months.
One in ten say they look forward to seasonal food and beverages, such as pumpkin spiced lattes, Christmas sandwiches, toffee apples and mulled wine.
Findings also reveal how excitement for the season builds as the year advances – one in ten start looking forward to winter as early as October, while 15 per cent eagerly await it come November. By the time December comes around, one fifth of Brits are filled with anticipation.
Almost half of the population, however (49.3 percent), claim they never feel excited about winter’s arrival. And for fifteen per cent, there is absolutely nothing to love about winter. Unsurprisingly, feeling cold, longer nights, short days, and the soaring cost of energy bills make Brits the most miserable through the winter months.
Cold hands and feet, getting ill, and driving in the dark also drive Brits to despair – and one in ten scrooges say that Christmas shopping is the thing they loathe the most.
Contura’s Phil Wood, adds: “There is definitely a warmer side to winter, with cosy nights in topping the list of things we love about the colder season. Comfort food, roaring fires, wrapping up warm, gatherings with friends or family… These can really help to elevate our mood and allow us to celebrate the season rather than shrink away from it.
“To mark the season’s start, we are designating winter’s eve - 30 November - ‘National Cosy Night’. Take a look at our twelve tips to ‘creating cosy’ to kick off this winter on the right foot.”