Christmas is a truly special time for friends and family in Ireland, a time of reunion and tradition. A new survey carried out by Kilkenny Design shows that Irish people's top priority for 2021 is to spend time with their families.

A Christmas 2021 survey taken by over 1,000 people in Ireland revealed Ireland's favorite holiday traditions from festive décor to 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

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. Just some of the responses included:

"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."

"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. 

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 put 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 favorite, just edging out ‘Elf’ and ‘Love Actually’ for the top spot. Irish people also favor classic 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 color 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.  

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