Christmas checklist: Buy presents, cook the turkey, mow the lawn...?

One in five people said they mowed their lawn last Christmas.
One in five people said they mowed their lawn last Christmas.

As well as buying presents and cooking the turkey, mowing the lawn is at the top of Christmas to-do lists this year, a survey has shown.

Homeowners all over the UK are more likely than ever to be mowing the lawn over the festive period, due to the warmer weather helping the grass grow faster.

According to the Woodland Trust's Nature's Calendar, almost four times as many lawns are mowed in a mild December as in a cold one - and this year's has been on average 3.2C warmer than usual.

Figures from the Met Office show that November temperatures were also 2C above average - the highest rise in 50 years.

This, the charity said, highlights a global trend of rising temperatures across seasons, affecting the growth of wildlife.

A spokesman said: "The warmer weather means the grass is growing more during the winter, and people are happier to go outside in the garden. It means spring is arriving earlier as well so it highlights a longer term trend."

Hundreds of homeowners, from Exeter to Cockermouth, contributed to the findings by recording online when they mowed their lawn and tended to their gardens through the charity's website.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, citizen science manager at the Woodland Trust, said: "It may seem strange, but people recording the last time they mow their lawn each year provides a valuable insight into climate change.

"Nature's Calendar records suggest it has become much more common to do so in December, so it's entirely possible Santa will need to get the lawnmower out once he's delivered all his presents."

In December 2010, when Central England Temperature (CET) averaged minus 0.7C, only 6% of recorders cut their grass in December.

In contrast, in December 2014, when the CET averaged 5.2C, 20% of recorders cut their grass. Over the last 13 years of records, the average has been 15%.

The figures also vary by region. In Scotland, no recorders cut their grass in December in either year, while in the south west of England, 9% cut their grass in December 2010, with an increase to 37% in December 2014.