Digital Christmas: traditional content, new framework

  • December 17, 2018
1024 493 eNet

Everybody wants Christmas to be a happy and memorable experience to the entire family. Christmas traditions are strong, but new digital devices also allow us to involve distant relatives in the festivities, watching movies or listening to music together, and even playing certain games. How frequently do people spend time together in the digital space, and how active are the various generations in that regard? These are the questions that the second part of eNET – Telekom’s November research in the series titled “Report on the Internet Economy” seeks to answer.

Digital activities and communications stepped up at Christmas

Most of us want to be with our loved ones at Christmas. At least a few hours during the three-day festivities are dedicated to family members with whom we don’t live under the same roof. During this period, digital devices are used more actively than at other times of the year to involve loved ones living far away in the festivities. One quarter of all internet users try to bridge the physical distance to their loved ones with video calls or video chats, too.

What do people do to turn the festive period into a memorable time spent together? Christmas is a very traditional time of the year, as indicated by our plans and social interactions. Giving presents as well as cooking and eating festive meals are the most common programs, in which eight out of 10 families regularly engage at Christmas with family members. Seven out of 10 decorate a Christmas tree together, and 63% visit or are visited by relatives. Also, Hungarians take advantage more and more of the increasing opportunities offered by digitalisation during the time spent together, such as listening to music or watching movies or TV programs. About 40% of internet users marked these activities in the survey.

Christmas connects generations

Festivities are best enjoyed together. How do the various generations contribute to Christmas celebrations? Exchanging presents is the most frequent family program: 33% of those who usually give Christmas presents indicate that three generations are involved. Considering that grandparents are no longer present in some families, this ratio is quite high. Christmas meals are spent by three generations together in the families of 20% of internet users. Religious ceremonies are further occasions for several generations to come together: among those who go to church, three generations are present in one fifth of all families.

Christmas is also an opportunity for children, parents and grandparents to play together. At this time of the year, conventional games dominate; about 38% of internet users play board or card games in the festive season. One in 10 internet users also plays computer games with family members. This novel digital pastime, popular with young people, is shared by some parents but few grandparents: in those families where computer games are played, parents take part in 40% of the cases, but grandma or grandpa is involved in only 6% of the cases.

Christmas movies and music are increasingly digitalised

Digital devices and the internet increasingly transcend the traditional elements of Christmas – just think of all the presents ordered online, or the best festive meals prepared using recipes found on the internet. And this is also true for watching movies, TV series and other programs, and listening to music. Let us delve into this topic.

When it comes to watching movies or TV programs or series with family members, television broadcasts are still the most popular (70%). But digital access is gaining ground. One in three regular internet users plans to watch motion pictures at home for free (e.g. on youtube or videa), while others watch pre-recorded TV programs or movies downloaded from file sharing sites (29% and 28%, respectively). Another 12% of the respondents plan to use a movie streaming application at Christmas.

Christmas brings a flavour of nostalgy: incredibly enough, 10% of internet users still listen to vinyl disks at this time of the year. Still, digital music rules as 66% will listen to free online music in the upcoming festive season, and half of them will find their favourite CDs. Of those who listen to music at Christmas, 16% indicate that children, parents and grandparents are all present at that time. Of all digital pastimes, music presents the most frequent joint experience when families spend time together in the festive season.

eNET – Telekom

About the research: eNET interviewed 1,104 members (internet users older than 18 years) of the online research community VeVa.hu in November 2018. The results are representative of the views of adult Hungarian internet users by gender, age and region.