Favorite Holiday Traditions Survey Results

Near the end of November I set up a survey to find out what sorts of things people look forward to over the winter holidays—favorite traditions, food, etc. I had a great response and learned a lot about how other people look at this time of year. While the results are in no way reflective of the world, or even of the entire United States of America, I think it gives a nice snapshot. For your viewing pleasure, here are the results:

My favorite aspect of any holiday celebration is:
Hands-down the company with a 65.6% response. The ambiance came in second at 19.7%, closely followed by the food (14.8%).
Favorite part of the winter holidays graph.

Who do you most look forward to spending the holidays with?
This was an open answer survey question and some people put in more than one answer. “Family and close friends” was a very common one. I gave each equal treatment. Spending time with family, primarily a spouse or children, was the number one by a land-slide with 50 entries. If you add pets in there, it went up to 51. While “friends” was listed 13 times, it was usually attached to “and family.” 10 people responded in the extended family arena, and there was a stress on seeing loved-ones that they don’t normally get to spend time with. 1 person said that they look forward to spending time alone.
Who do you look forward to spending the winter holidays with graph.

Side Dishes are my favorite Holiday food.
A slight majority, 45.71%, agreed with this followed closely by 41.42% who had no strong feelings either way. 12.85% disagreed.
Side Dishes are my favorite winter holiday food graph.

What is your favorite holiday side dish?
This was far more interesting. It was another open response question and sometimes there was more than one item listed. I counted everything, but had to lump a few things together for the graph. Some mentioned special family recipes and got my mouth watering and my curiosity piqued (whoever mentioned the family recipe for cranberry-orange relish, please email it to me?), and some, like left-over turkey sandwiches and pumpkin bread, didn’t sound side-dishy to me, but who am I to judge? Here’s the full list:

  • 13 stuffing
  • 9 cranberry
  • 6 candied yams
  • 5 mashed potatoes
  • 3 green been casserole
  • 2 gourmet salads
  • Yam and apple casserole
  • broccoli casserole
  • macaroni and cheese
  • hot spinach dip
  • sweet potato casserole
  • sauerkraut
  • turnips
  • cranberry orange relish
  • bacon-wrapped dates
  • cheesy potatoes
  • Waldorf salad
  • gravy
  • left-over turkey sandwiches
  • creamed white onions
  • pumpkin bread
  • seafood

Favorite Holiday Side Dishes graph.

The main course is my favorite Holiday food.
The majority didn’t care (52.86%), or disagreed (31.43%). Only 15.71% thought the main course was the best part of a holiday meal.
Main Course Favorite holiday food graph.

What is your favorite Holiday main course?
This was another open answer box and there were sometimes more than one listed. One person even specified a different main course for each major holiday in the year! What I found most interesting about this list was the fact that most of the respondents either didn’t care or didn’t prefer the main course, and by a land-slide (35) turkey was the most often listed feature. Ham came in second with 15 votes, followed by roast beef and lamb at 3 each, and then tofurky (2). With one each, here are the rest:

  • meatless meatballs
  • lasagna
  • duck
  • pumpkin souffle
  • sauerbraten
  • Artichokes stuffed with rice and cheese
  • spicy meat
  • brisket

Do you get in a rut? I get in a rut sometimes and I certainly got some ideas from this list to break my normal stand-bys. I’m happy to say that I’m serving grilled beef tenderloin in a sherry-soy sauce marinade this year instead of turkey.
Main Course Favorite holiday food graph.

Desserts are my favorite Holiday food.
The majority of respondents were neutral to this statement (44.29%). 28.57% agreed and 27.14% disagreed. When combined with the other two food-related agree-disagree question results, I have to determine that I didn’t ask the question right somehow, because the percentages didn’t add up. Maybe I’ll try again later.
Desserts Favorite holiday food graph.

What is your favorite dessert?
Various types of pie came out on top of this question (38 votes). Followed by cake (12), cookies (8) something else (7) and chocolate (3).
Here’s the complete list:

  • 15 pumpkin pie
  • 7 holiday cookies
  • 6 pecan pie
  • 5 pie
  • 4 apple pie
  • 3 fancy cake
  • 3 chocolate
  • 3 cheesecake
  • 2 sweet potato pie
  • 2 lemon meringue pie
  • carrot cake
  • pumpkin cheesecake
  • chocolate cake
  • chocolate chip pumpkin cake
  • coconut rolled date-balls
  • sliced pears with bleu cheese, honey and walnuts
  • apple bread pudding
  • apple strudel
  • chocolate pudding pie
  • apple crisp
  • ice cream with liquor
  • chocolate bread pudding
  • mince-meat pie
  • apple sauce cake
  • pumpkin cake
  • Nesselrode pie
  • brown sugar icebox cookies

Some of these I’m going to have to go look up. I’d never heard of Nesselrode pie and that pumpkin chocolate chip cake sounds tasty.
Favorite holiday desserts graph.

What are your favorite decorations for the holidays? (ex. candles, figures, flowers, music…)
I liked the responses to this one because a lot of them came with neat explanations like:

  • “Things that hold meaning to me. i.e. small tree, treasured decorations and fresh flowers. And my Christmas dishes.”
  • “Flowers such as bird of paradise and orchids. Music, singing, dancing and story telling.”
  • “Music as a decoration? Interesting idea. I like the smell of the holidays. Baking aromas, spices, fresh greens, mulled cider and wine, crisp outdoors.”
  • “Ornaments made by kids, especially nativity scenes. They are always extremely entertaining.”

Since this was another open answer question, I gave tally marks to each mention. I also had several people answer “none,” which I can interpret as either they don’t have a preference, or they get annoyed by the whole “decorations everywhere” thing. One went so far as to say that they “HATE, HATE, HATE holiday decorations.” Don’t get after them. It’s so easy, even in more multi-cultural areas, for people to get caught up in their own affairs and forget that there is a large population that does not participate. I can see where getting hammered by “the spirit” (especially the canned Christmas music in the stores) can certainly create some resentment. And what’s up with the decibel level of those Salvation Army bells? Going to the grocery store hurts the entire month of December! Here’s the full list:

  • 19 tree
  • 15 lights
  • 12 candles
  • 12 music
  • 11 greens
  • 7 flowers
  • 4 ornaments
  • 3 Nativity Scenes
  • 3 Other scenes
  • 3 none
  • 3 smells (baking, greens, cold)
  • 2 wreaths
  • Santas
  • colors
  • Christmas dishes
  • dancing
  • story telling
  • old things
  • HATE Decorations
  • bells
  • trains
  • sparkles
  • shows

Favorite holiday decorations graph.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the results of this survey. I certainly did.

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This entry was posted by on Thursday, December 17, 2009.
Filed under: Articles, For Writers, Marketing
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