Irish People Are Prime Suspects in Cases of Bad Gift Giving


By Nicole Buckler


Now that Christmas has come and gone, marketers are climbing over themselves to find out what we like and don’t like about Christmas. This is so they can flog us more unneeded crap next year.

But there are some survey results which show we Irishers are good eggs. According to a recent Stena Line survey, we are givers, rather than takers. We actually aren’t that fond of getting presents (but at this juncture it is imperative to check ourselves and ask why.)

Of the people surveyed, 46% looked forward to giving their loved ones presents. But only 6% said they liked getting gifts. Are we a nation of crap gift-givers? Think about the presents you got at Christmas. Were they entirely awful? Let’s face it, some were awful. The same Aunt has given us the same board game for three years running. Two are still untouched from 2013 and 2014. The 2015 one thinks it is one-third of a triplet family. I think I might place all three of the board games back into her house secretly next November, save her buying it for when she gives it to us again during Christmas of 2016.

There are other things to learn about ourselves, other than the fact that we give awful gifts. The survey asked Irish people travelling on the ferry in ten European countries what they thought of festive traditions from other countries like Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Germany and Sweden.

Facts that were presented to innocent and previously unaware Irish travellers included the following:

-In Norway carol singers get rewarded with a shot of Schnapps. (If it was me I would sing at four houses and then be in an ambulance.)

-In Finland Christmas is not complete without a visit to the sauna. (What kind of sauna? The pine one, I hope.)

-In France children who have been disobedient are frightened with an ‘evil version’ of Santa Claus. (Doesn’t sound like the nice Merry Christmas of perfect childhoods, does it now? No wonder they eat so much cheese as adults. Cheese makes everything better.)

The results are now in. It turns out that we Irish are a nice bunch of folk. Only 4.2% say they would be willing to adopt the French tradition of scaring the bejesus out of kids with “evil Santa.” I think some adults could use a mature version of this however. Like if-you-aren’t-good-we-will-be-taking-your-Christmas-sherry-off-you kind of thing.

But, 39% said they would leave an empty chair by the dinner table in memory of those no longer with us like they do in Poland. In fact, I hereby think we should steal this idea and then in a few years make wild claims that it was Irish all along. This method of cultural appropriation has worked for a hell of a lot of other things we think of as Irish. Why stop now?

As for booze? We aren’t entirely feeling the Norwegian tradition of handing out Schnapps. Only 15% of Irish Stena Line passengers said they would adopt this tradition. Well it is alcohol we don’t want to share too much. We need to maintain our booze-jackets for the cold winter. No one’s central heating works properly in Ireland. We are a nation of cold spots and bizarre drafts which only the booze jacket can fob off.

It seems as though we don’t all detest family time either. Apparently, we aren’t all thinking of new ways to plot our relatives’ demise over Christmas. 75% of Irish people surveyed were looking forward to spending time with family and friends. Wow, we have nice families and friends. Nice one. I’ll remember than when I need a loan.

We are also a nation of pigs. 54% of us couldn’t wait to get stuck into the traditional Christmas food. All I know is that it doesn’t take an annual festival for me to be a pig. But it is nice to have an excuse occasionally. And doing it with other pigs makes me feel less like a bushpig. And that is true Christmas spirit.

But here’s a surprise. Irishers were keen to celebrate Christmas in another country with 73% of Irish responders being all for it. Anywhere sunny is probably a good idea… does Stena Line go to Australia? How much would an Irisher vomit on the way there in high seas? This is a serious calculation that needs to be made.

The people who were surveyed probably didn’t have anything better to do except be trapped on a ferry. But I am assuming that they were giving honest answers and that they had done all of their Christmas shopping. I’m sure Stena Line staff were on hand to remind people that the company flogs stuff on board. Booze is probably an okay present from on-board…perfume sets and aftershaves, not so much… and you can back away from that Irish sheep keyring, thanks all the same. Remember, we are going to try harder to not give crap gifts.

We hope you had a merry Christmas and that you still are working on your booze jacket. You are gonna need it; January is the friend of no-one who likes a tan.










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