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Irish Are a Nation of Givers

Press release   •   Dec 22, 2015 11:31 GMT

Santa Line festive survey finds out what passengers think of festive traditions

Did you know that in Norway carol singers get rewarded with a shot of snaps, while in Finland Christmas is not complete without a visit to the sauna and in France children who have been disobedient are frightened with an ‘evil version’ of Santa Claus?

In the run up to Christmas, Santa Line took the opportunity to find out what its passengers think of the different traditions that take place around the world during the festive season, with some surprising results.

The survey is part of Stena Line’s festive celebrations, which has also seen the leading ferry company change its name to Santa Line for December, and was carried out in a selection of ten European countries in which it operates ferry services.

The survey highlighted that us Irish are a nice bunch of folk with only 4.2% saying they would be willing to adopt the French tradition of frightening children who have been disobedient with an ‘evil version’ of Santa Claus with 39% saying they would leave an empty chair by the dinner table in memory of those no longer with us like they do in Poland.

We all like a festive tipple, but who knew that in Norway for example, carol singers get rewarded with a shot of snaps. Surprisingly only 15% of Santa Line’s Irish passengers said they would adopt this tradition, sounds like we may need to take a little inspiration from our Norwegian cousins to really get into the Christmas spirit!

Not surprisingly, 75% of Irish people are most looking forward to spending time with family and friends, 54% can’t wait to get stuck into the traditional Christmas food. With 46% of people surveyed looking forward to giving their loved ones presents perhaps somewhat surprisingly, receiving gifts isn’t anywhere near as important for Irish people, with only 6% saying this is something they look forward to, present buyers beware!

One common theme across all the results is that people are open to the idea of celebrating Christmas in another country with 73% of Irish passengers surveyed saying this is something they would definitely consider.

Diane Poole OBE, Head of PR & Communications of Stena Line said: “We carried out this survey to see what our passengers think of their own Christmas traditions and of those of other countries during the festive season. It is interesting to see how many different traditions that take place around the world and from the survey, it does seem that Irish customers are happy to stick with their own traditions in favour of most of the others from around the world.

“It is nice to see that more people favour giving presents than receiving, and at Santa Line this is something we have certainly noticed with passengers taking advantage of the great value offers in our onboard shops with up to 50%* off across many quality lines when compared to the high street on cosmetics, perfumes and aftershaves,” Diane added.

To book your very own Santa Line trip from as little as €89* single for car and driver log onto www.stenaline.ieor or call 01 204 77 77. Follow Stena Line on Twitter @StenaLineIE.


MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For further information, please contact Fiona Brown of Duffy Rafferty Communications on 048 9073 0880 /


680 Irish passengers answered Stena Line’s online survey.The survey was answered by a total of 4,520 passengers from Denmark, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Germany and Sweden.

See below for full results:

Would you be willing to celebrate Christmas away from home?

Female Male Total
Yes 73% 72.4% 72.7%
No 27% 27.6% 27.3%
Which Christmas traditions are you most looking forward to? (Maximum three answers)
Female Male Total
Eating traditional Christmas food 41.5% 64.4% 53.5%
Drinking Christmas beverages 7.2% 18.1% 12.9%
Going to church 20.8% 20.7% 20.7%
Giving Christmas gifts 46.9% 45.7% 46.2%
Receiving Christmas gifts 4.7% 7.8% 6.3%
Watching classic Christmas programmes on TV 9.4% 10.1% 9.8%
Decorating the Christmas tree 32.4% 12.6% 22.1%
Spending time with family and relatives 78.3% 71.6% 74.8%
Visiting Christmas markets 16.4% 15.5% 15.9%
Listening to Christmas music 14.2% 11.5% 12.8%
Making Christmas crafts and sweets 6% 0.3% 3%
None, I don’t celebrate Christmas 0.6% 0.9% 0.8%
Don’t know 0.6% 0.6% 0.6%
Which of the following Christmas traditions would you be willing to skip? (Maximum three answers)
Female Male Total
Eating traditional Christmas food 13.2% 10.1% 11.6%
Drinking Christmas beverages 24.5% 20.1% 22.2%
Going to church 23.6% 28.2% 26%
Giving Christmas gifts 4.7% 5.2% 5%
Receiving Christmas gifts 22% 16.4% 19.1%
Watching classic Christmas programmes on TV 35.8% 34.2% 35%
Decorating the Christmas tree 5% 16.1% 10.8%
Spending time with family and relatives 1.9% 2.6% 2.3%
Visiting Christmas markets 24.8% 28.7% 26.9%
Listening to Christmas music 11.9% 21.8% 17.1%
Making Christmas crafts and sweets 31.8% 42% 37.1%
All of the traditions are important to me 22% 12.1% 16.8%
Don’t know 2.2% 4% 3.2%
Which of the following foreign Christmas traditions would you be willing to adopt?
Female Male Total
Celebrating “J-Day” in Denmark, when the Christmas beer is available in stores for the season 5.1% 18.2% 11.9%
Introducing a public lottery, known as “El Gordo” (the fat one), as in Spain 10.5% 10.1% 10.3%
Frightening children who have been disobedient with an “evil version” of Santa Claus, like they do in France 2.9% 5.5% 4.2%
Sauna!No Christmas without a sauna in Finland 13.7% 21.6% 17.8%
Leaving an empty chair by the dinner table, to welcome those who have gone astray, like in Poland 45.4% 34.9% 39.9%
As an adult in Norway walking around in the neighbourhood singing Christmas songs in exchange for a snaps 17.5% 13% 15.1%
Letting the children put their shoes outside in the evening of December 5, and wish for candy, fruit and nuts, as they do in Germany 21.6% 13.5% 17.4%
Seeing if someone manages to burn down something that is big and recurrent each year, like the Christmas goat in Gävle, Sweden 0.3% 4% 2.3%
Letting young boys walk around with boxes in the neighbourhood and collect money for the poor by celebrating “Boxing Day” in England 24.1% 15.6% 19.6%
I wouldn’t follow any of these Christmas traditions 14.3% 15% 14.7%
Don’t know 11.4% 11.8% 11.6%

Stena Line operates the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Ireland and Britain with an extensive route network including Belfast to Cairnryan, Belfast to Liverpool, Belfast to Heysham, Dublin Port to Holyhead and Rosslare to Fishguard.

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