Ten lords a leaping, three wise men, two turtle doves. Christmas really is all about stats. This week Pete Benton, Director of Data Collection at ONS, treated BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright and his afternoon audience to a festive feast of seasonal statistics:
Love them or you hate them, their place in Christmas tradition is undeniable – Brussels sprouts. According to some highly informal ONS research commissioned by Pete….
- Supermarkets sell approximately 750million individual Brussels sprouts at Christmas time, but if you estimate how many are eaten, it’s only about half of that.
- 25% of the whole year’s sprout sales are in the two weeks before Christmas.
- An area covering 3240 football pitches are used to grow Brussels sprouts in the UK – and if you lined all those sprouts up, they would stretch from London to Sydney.
The occupation with the largest proportion of Christmas Day workers though was clergy, with 51% working. In total though, on Christmas Day 2016, 1.082 million people worked – that’s 3.4% of all in employment, and on Boxing Day 2016, 1.574 million people worked – 4.9% of all in employment.
Christmas marks the birth of a special baby and ONS data show that 1,391 babies were born in England & Wales on Christmas Day 2016. When it comes to seasonal baby names, in 2017 – we had 166 called ‘Angel’, 4 called ‘Gift’, 37 ‘Star’s and 5 ‘Merry’s. Holly was especially popular in December, 209 baby girls were named Holly in December 2017, compared to an average of 72 each month from January to November. For boys, last year there were 967 Gabriel’s, 398 babies named Nicholas and 120 named Noel.
News from around the world of youth ministry and the Church:
- Young, gay and Christian: If you are a young Christian in the UK, coming out can pose extra challenges. While some churches offer acceptance, others show hostility. It’s down to different interpretations of the Bible. Meet Aiko and David who both identify as Bible-believing, gay Christians, but who are walking very different paths.
- Justin Welby shares his life lesson for 2019: we must learn how to forgive – and disagree. He writes this in the context of the imminent Brexit vote.
- Archbishop calls for Vigil of Prayer ahead of Brexit vote: The Archbishop of York is inviting all to join him in a vigil of prayer ahead of the Commons vote on the Brexit deal. The vigil will start on Sunday 9 December at 6am until Tuesday 11 December at midnight.
- Bishop of Durham urges politicians to give working families more support: Further coverage of Joseph Rowntree Foundation state of the nation report on poverty. Includes comment from the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler.
- Christians are being invited to share their experience of living out their faith in the UK: in a consultation led by the Christians in Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group.
- Volunteer questioned over body parts that turned out to be for nativity play: Interview with a church volunteer who created a nativity scene made with life-sized mannequins at the church of St John the Divine in Nottingham.
- Statement on structural changes to Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team: including the appointment of Sir Roger Singleton as interim director of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team. Sir Roger was previously chief executive of Barnardo’s. He has been the Government’s Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children and chaired the Independent Safeguarding Authority from 2007- 2012.
Thanks to Trevin Wax
Roger Carswell warmly narrates this graphic and asks the question, “are you ready for what God wants to give you this Christmas?” You pick up an accompanying book and free downloads of posters, invites and the high definition version of this video here.
Three years ago Glen Scrivener produced a brilliant one-shot video. It appeals to the human nature to want to label ourselves and one another as it helps us to consider which of the ‘four kinds’ we are, after all everyone loves working out their ‘type’. There’s an interactive website and book, which could be a great conversation starter.
Links from around the world of youth work and social care:
- Online abuse: Facebook has announced that it has removed 8.7 million pieces of content that violated their child nudity or sexual exploitation of children policies in the past quarter.
- Young people’s mental health: statistics provided by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in response to a written parliamentary question from Bambos Charalambous, show that in 2017/18 there were 27,487 attendances at accident and emergency departments in England by young people aged 18 or under with a recorded first diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. This was almost double the figure for 2012/13, when there were 13,800 attendances.
- Characteristics of children in need: The Department for Education (DfE) has published statistics for children referred to and assessed by children’s social services in England for the year ending 31 March 2018. Figures show there were 404,710 children in need at 31 March 2018, an increase of 4% on the previous year; the number of child protection plans at 31st March 2018 has increased to 53,790, an increase of 5.3% on the figure for 2017.
- UK Youth Parliament: UK Youth Parliament has published the results of the Make your Mark consultation, run by the British Youth Council, which asked young people in the UK to choose issues they felt were a priority for discussion. Responses from 1,106,788 young people aged 11-18 show that putting an end to knife crime and improving mental health services for young people were among the top priorities identified.
- Domestic abuse: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a report following an inquiry into the government’s proposed domestic abuse strategy and draft bill on domestic abuse. The report looks at the impact of domestic abuse on children and makes recommendations including: the impact of domestic abuse on children should be explicitly recognised in the legislation; the government should develop a clear strategy to ensure that children experiencing domestic abuse are protected and given the support necessary to help them recover; children affected by domestic abuse should be given special waiting list status for all NHS services, including child and adolescent mental health services.
- Digital Media Is ‘Like Cocaine’ for Babies’ Developing Brains: Some doctors refer to behaviors resulting from overexposure to digital devices as “virtual autism.”
The Christmas story told cleverly through the eyes of Instagram. #comeletusadorehim
ITN and the Jerusalem Productions have created two powerful videos reminding people about the Christian meaning of Christmas as an antidote to all the commercialisation, tinsel and drunken partying!
The first one of those is this one – Is he drunk? Is he in a parallel universe? Or is this divine intervention?