The True Cost Of Christmas? Three Months Of Your Lifetime - But Only If You Are A Woman

23/12/2016 11:57 GMT | Updated 23/12/2016 11:57 GMT

The countdown to Christmas has started. Meticulous planning and militant preparations are well underway for some of us and sheer panic is mounting in others, myself included, when thinking about everything we have to get done by December 25th. New research from Scottish Widows has revealed that annually each woman in the UK spends 33 hours in total shopping for gifts, wrapping presents, and entertaining family and friends - amounting to 94 days over a lifetime.

It appears women are taking on more than their fair share at Christmas. Throughout their lives women spend, on average, 24 days more than men preparing for festivities - this includes ten days more than men on buying Christmas presents, two days more cleaning the house ahead of festive family get-togethers and three days more wrapping presents.

Using the recently launched ONS Unpaid Work calculator1 to determine the value of the 94 days women spend prepping for Christmas over a lifetime, Scottish Widows found that the total value of their time equates to over £19,000, nearly £5,000 more than men over the course of a lifetime. It would be great if hardworking women across the UK were given a chance to put their feet up over Christmas this year - with chores divided equally between all members of the family.

The research did show that men do spend time on Christmas preparations but prefer those tasks that are typically more 'fun', choosing to lend a hand coordinating outings with family and friends, preparing the festive feast and looking for unusual ingredients for Christmas dishes.

And it's not just equal workloads that cause stress at this time of year, a number of us also have some gripes during the lead up to Christmas Day. The research by Scottish Widows found that, in total, people in Britain waste almost nine hours2 each annually on festive frustrations which include long queues in busy stores, writing Christmas cards and dealing with annoying relatives.

Two thirds of Brits say that they would pay someone else to do their least favourite tasks for them, including nearly a quarter who would have their presents wrapped for them, one in five who would have someone queue in shops for them or 14% who would gladly outsource present buying for loved ones altogether.

As a mum who works in a busy, full-time job, I'm looking forward to some quiet time with my family this Christmas. Thankfully, we've been fairly organised this year, so I don't need to worry about hitting the shops in the coming days, which will probably be the busiest time of the year. Instead, I fully intend to be putting my feet up and having some well-deserved me-time over a mulled wine and mince pie.

Take a look at www.changeyourlifeinanhour.co.uk to get thinking about your financial future over the Christmas period, if you get the chance that is!

Follow Jackie Leiper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jackieleiper

1 £19,356 for women and £14,414 for men over the course of a lifetime. Figure based on ONS data. Based on 94/70 days spent preparing for Christmas over the course of a lifetime (equating to 2,256/1,680 hours, average life expectancy of a female in the UK as 82.7 years, a male as 78.8 years), multiplied by the average hourly rate of household chores in 2015 (£8.58) as reflected at https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/dvc376/index.html

2 8.7 hours