- 97% of people say spending time with family is the number one priority at Christmas
- 96% of those surveyed plan to shop locally
- Just 15% will cater to more than 10 people for Christmas dinner
- More than 50% of people will have their Christmas tree up before the end of this week
Kilkenny Design, the home of Christmas, has surveyed more than one thousand people from all around the country on what makes an Irish Christmas.
The survey revealed people’s favourite traditions, festive décor, gifting habits and how the pandemic has changed views of what is most important at this time of year.
Irish people truly love Christmas with over 80% citing the December festive period as their ‘star’ celebration of the year in a new survey from Kilkenny Design. The Irish retailer recently opened a new Christmas pop-up Christmas shop at Kildare Village, has asked over 1000 people from all around the country what makes an Irish Christmas unique.
One of the most ‘merry and bright’ results from the festive research shows that spending time with family comes first in Ireland with 97% citing this simple pleasure as their number one priority this year and what they missed most about Christmas in lockdown in 2020.
67% say the pandemic has changed their view about what’s important about Christmas. ‘It brought home how important having family together is’, ‘It’s about sharing and spending time with the people you love”, ‘Family is at the heart of an Irish Christmas’, ‘Family and friends are everything’, ‘I always appreciated family but not having them around made me appreciate them even more,’ ‘It’s about the spirit of it – all my family together, loving and laughing. All nestling down together after the presents and Christmas dinner, like little puppies together.’
However, just 40% plan on celebrating Christmas as ‘normal’ this year, with only 20% planning to spend it with people outside of their immediate family. 50% will have 6 or less at their dinner table and just 15% will cater for more than 10 people.
Interested in knowing when others sit down to feast? The most popular time is 3pm, followed by 4pm and 2pm.
Irish Christmas traditions that topped the list included The Late Late Toy Show, buying a new decoration each year, eating Brussel sprouts, Christmas baking, the selection box, and the Christmas RTE Guide. More than 50% will get into the festive spirit with a Christmas jumper, while 20% are investing in matching Christmas PJs, a relatively new tradition in Ireland. Visiting the crib, the Wren on St Stephen’s day, and a Christmas day swim are also popular with some. Interestingly the 12 pubs of Christmas ranked last, with only 7% of respondents planning to part-take in the Christmas tradition.
More than half of those surveyed will have their tree up by the end of the first week in December, and a further 21% will do so on 8th December, with over 70% opting for an artificial tree.
Watching Christmas movies is a popular way to get into the festive spirit and ‘Home Alone’ was the clear favourite, just edging out ‘Elf’ and ‘Love Actually’ for the top spot. Irish people also favour classics films like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ’Miracle on 34th Street’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘The Santa Clause’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Traditional customs are also still strong. 72% put a candle in the window to welcome visitors at Christmastime while over 58% said they prefer to decorate in a traditional red and gold colour scheme.
People were asked what Christmas moments they missed most last year and the overall trend in answers highlights a longing for social interaction, closeness, and a craving to return to beloved traditions.
Family not being able to travel home from abroad for Christmas and not being able to spend time with family and friends, visiting other houses or having people over, ranked as the top Christmas moments missed. Others found not being able to hug people difficult, while many missed traditional social gatherings such as carol services, being part of a choir, going to midnight mass or mass on Christmas day, Christmas markets, work parties and seeing the Panto. Despite these feelings, over 60% said they wouldn’t celebrate Christmas as normal if public health restriction advises against doing so.
Commenting on the Christmas survey Evelyn Moynihan, CEO of by Kilkenny Design, said, “Last year’s celebrations were disrupted, and people really felt the absence of friends and family. It shows how much gathering and family is at the heart of an Irish Christmas. I think we all have been reminded that the small moments are actually the big moments, and that spirit of togetherness is what makes Christmas in Ireland so special and unique.”
96% plan to shop more locally this year, a statistic which is welcomed by Kilkenny Design who spearhead the annual ‘Champion Green’ campaign which encourages Irish consumers to buy Irish and shop local. More than 73% are buying for 10 or more people with 24% having more than 20 people on their shopping list. 44% take part in a Secret Santa and 75% of those surveyed said they prefer a gift to a gift voucher. It just goes to show that it really is the thought that counts.
Who’s the most difficult to buy for? Nearly 50% say males, 12% say grandparents, and 10% say friends. 71% plan on picking up a treat in the post-Christmas sales.
Finally, survey respondents shared some heartfelt sentiments when asked what makes an Irish Christmas so unique saying; “It’s special because families make an extra special effort to spend time together. They travel from far and near”, “As Irish people we are very interested in spending quality time with our loved ones & remembering loved ones who have passed away, lighting candles & hanging special decorations on the tree in memory of them”. Another succinctly captured it by simply saying Christmas to them means “Time, Tinsel and TV”.
‘Christmas by Kilkenny Design’ is the first dedicated Christmas store at Kildare Village and will continue to provide a magical festive experience to shoppers until the end of January. Featuring a beautiful range of gifting specials, Irish designed and made gifts, and premium traditional Christmas decorations, it’s a one stop destination for the Christmas season ahead. The family-owned Irish retailer has been home to Ireland’s largest collection of Irish designers for almost 60 years.
Discover Christmas at Kilkenny online at www.Kilkennyshop.com, and from Kilkenny Design stores nationwide.