More than 120,000 people have signed a petition urging shops to close on Boxing Day this year.

The petition has claimed that stores “do not need to open on Boxing Day and has called for workers to be given “some decent family time to relax and enjoy the festivities”.

Supporters of the petition, which was started by Ian Lapworth last month, accused retailers of trying to “make a quick buck” instead of giving them time off.

“Forget making money for one day, let’s concentrate on making more memories with the ones we love,” the petition says.

“While not everyone may see Christmas as a religious holiday, it should be respected as such, and retail workers (who work so hard on the run-up to the big day) given some decent family time to relax and enjoy the festivities like everyone else.”

Lapworth’s petition has been slowly gathering momentum since it was posted online in October, but signatories have flocked to the page on the website over the past 24 hours.

It is now closing in on the 150,000 signatures required in order for it to be delivered to Prime Minister Theresa May.

In support

One of the petition’s supporter Paul Hayes commented: “I have to go to bed early on Christmas Day and avoid spending time with my family or having any celebratory drinks as I have to then work all the way through New Year as well.”

The 23-year-old claimed that he hadn’t spent time with family for Christmas since he was 15.

Another signatory, Sarah Jane Holt, posted: “If I was a doctor and had to work Xmas it was to save a life, but all I was doing was selling stuff cheap that didn’t sell at full price.”

Ruth German added: “Christmas is for families not for retailers to make a quick buck. Give the hard-working staff an extra day to spend with their families.”

The British Retail Consortium said businesses would continue to decide their opening hours “based on customers’ needs and preferences”.

A spokesman said: “Boxing Day is a popular time to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales and retailers will respond accordingly to cater for this customer demand.”