The survey, by KeyNote/Gallup, finds that the south will be the gloomiest region during the holiday period, with people there being least prepared to spend money on food, alcohol, cards and presents. One-third of southerners said that they would cut spending because of the recession.
The liveliest festivities are forecast in the Midlands and Wales, where people are twice as likely as Scots and southerners to regard Christmas as a time for drinking and parties.
More than one in six people - and 50 per cent more women than men - find the family reunion 'very stressful', according to the survey. More than half of those questioned feel that commercialisation has robbed Christmas of its true meaning, but less than one in four intend to go to church.
The most popular choice of present from a man to his partner is a piece of jewellery (24 per cent), followed by a bottle of perfume (22 per cent). Women favour giving clothes and shoes, supporting up the theory of men all over the country receiving ties, socks and cardigans every year.
The survey finds that few people are prepared to go into debt more than usual in order to ensure a good Christmas. Women in particular are willing to cut spending because of the recession, while professionals are more than twice as likely as unskilled workers to contemplate an austere Yuletide.
People aged 16 to 24 are primarily interested in Christmas as a time for partying, while the 35-44 age group would prefer a holiday in the sun.