In the essence of a British home, it’s not just the aroma of fish and chips on a Friday night or the presence of tea bags and a kettle. It’s also the fireplace mantelpiece, which according to recent statistics from the UK’s Greeting Card Association, truly embodies Britishness.
The Soul of British Homes
Amid the myriad things that could symbolise Britishness, a research by the Greeting Card Association of the UK has identified the mantelpiece as the focal point of the British soul. The motivation behind this study was the unique British tradition of displaying birthday cards prominently for extended periods.
Mantelpieces and the #Cardmitment Movement
The British, more than any other nationality, are known to exhibit their birthday cards on mantelpieces for weeks. This culture has led to the inception of the #cardmitment movement. Endorsed by renowned designer and TV personality, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the campaign is particularly relevant in September, the month with the most birthdays in the UK. Interestingly, September 27th has emerged as the UK’s most popular birthday in the last two decades.
This age-old tradition of showcasing cards on mantelpieces is not just about decoration; it signifies coming together and cherishing moments.
How Long do the Brits Display Their Cards?
According to the GCA’s research, birthday cards often adorn British homes for an average of nine days. While residents in Scotland and northern England typically display them for eight days, the folks in the Midlands and Wales extend this to ten. Remarkably, 15% of Britons will exhibit their cards for 15 days or more, underscoring the sentimental value of these tokens of affection.
Amanda Fergusson, CEO of the GCA, highlighted, “Not only do we Brits love to send cards, we love putting them on show to continue enjoying them and even keep the really special ones tucked away,”
Backing the GCA’s campaign, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen commented, “I feel that greeting cards are a very important part of making and retaining relationships. The sending of a greeting card is not AI, it’s something real, based on real emotions, creativity and craftsmanship, and I feel privileged to be part of this.”
More Quintessentially British Habits
The GCA study also highlighted several other unmistakably British household traits, including:
- An overtly frequent use of the word ‘sorry’.
- A perpetual discussion about the mostly unchanging weather.
- The indispensable act of brewing tea during crises.
- The unmistakably British tradition of dunking biscuits in tea.
- The habit of prominently displaying greeting cards during special occasions.
- A washing machine positioned right next to the kitchen sink.
- The inherently British love for queuing, even within households.
- Unique electrical sockets equipped with individual switches.
These fascinating insights present a vivid tableau of the customs and characteristics that make a house unmistakably British. For more detailed findings and insights on British behaviours, further information is available here.