With thanks to all who participated, here are the results to mid-December Weekend Poll about gearing down at the office and up for the Christmas holidays.
Enjoy your well earned breaks
By the time you read this, many of you will have said goodbye to the office for the year. For 57% of you, the activity level in your offices accelerated mid-month, as the pressure was on to wrap up business before the holidays.
89% of you were gearing up to take a combination of both statutory and paid holidays. While 15% plan to be away from the office for three or fewer week days, 40% of respondents will enjoy four to seven weekdays off. Almost a third of you plan to take anywhere from eight to 10 days off, and 15% will be away for more than 10 weekdays between now and early January. Enjoy!
But will you truly get away from work?
It’s a firm yes for 40% of respondents, who said it’s a given that they will not work over the holidays. Another 31% will check email periodically, while 8% of respondents expect to be checking email daily and 4% know that they’ll be working or catching up and checking email. Another 12% plan to respond only to matters that are urgent.
What about that time off?
I asked, and 70% of respondents said you’d prefer to be at our around home over the holidays. What will actually happen? Well, 19% of you will travel to be with family or friends. Another 7% will travel for the sake of travel, sunshine or exploring the world. Four percent were undecided as of mid-month, while 70% actually will be at or around home.
How do you celebrate?
Ninety-six percent of respondents celebrate Christmas. Anecdotally, some readers have told me independent of this Weekend Poll that they have other beliefs but join in some aspects of the Christmas celebrations.
I posed a question in this poll, asking those who don’t celebrate Christmas to offer any etiquette suggestions for people who like to give Christmas cards or tokens of friendship at this time of year. One reader responded, “My international based family with many different life styles celebrate some thing or another – we refrain from cards that reference God and lean towards general merry times instead.”
A time for decorations, sentiment, (some) baking and being a guest
This poll validated our perceptions of assistants as an organised bunch. Sixty-seven percent of respondents expected to have all their decor in place by mid-month, while styles ranging from happily minimalists to the 4% who described their decorating style as over the top and loving it! Readers identified a number of favourite decor items that reflect sentimental memories.
When it comes to making, buying and wrapping gifts, this is again a generally organised bunch. Twenty-six percent chose responses that suggest there was progress yet to be made, but 30% were already done or almost entirely done (including the wrapping) by mid-month. Another 44% reported having matters well in hand.
Has Christmas baking gone by the wayside? Christmas cards may be on the decline, but only 4% of respondents reported avoiding baked goods. Fifty-five percent of respondents had either begun or planned to do some baking for the holidays. Another 19% buy their baked treats, while more than one in five of you look forward to baked goods prepared by relatives or friends.
Looking for ideas?
Readers offered up their favourite holiday songs, movies and ideas for reading during this festive time of year. See if any of these provide inspiration, or bring back fond memories.
Reach out to someone
With all my work, I like to focus on the positive. The fact is, though, that this may be a difficult period for some people. If you’re experiencing a difficult time over the holidays, reach out to someone you know for support. If you’re among the fortunate who are gifted with health and happiness, reach out and see how you may help someone whose circumstances aren’t quite so rosy.
Note: Information below reflects the percentages of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.
1. How much do you look forward to the upcoming holidays?
Seven percent of respondents a “1”, the lowest possible rating. Another 21.5% gave a “2” rating, and 71.5% of respondents gave a “3”.
2. How would you describe the level of activity in your office come mid-December?
- 57% of respondents: Activity accelerates; the pressure’s on to wrap up business before the holidays
- 28% of respondents: It’s more or less the same, but with spikes in social activities
- 11% of respondents: There’s a decline in productivity
- 4% of respondents: It’s the same as any other month
3. Do you plan to take time off between Christmas and New Year’s?
- Yes; both statutory holidays and paid leave: 89% of respondents
- Yes; statutory holidays only: 7% of respondents
- Yes; both statutory holidays and leave without pay: 4% of respondents
4. How many weekdays will you have away from work in December and the first week of January?
- 1 – 3 weekdays: 15% of respondents
- 4 – 7 weekdays: 40% of respondents
- 8 – 10 weekdays: 30% of respondents
- >10 weekdays: 15% of respondents
5. Which of the following best describes how likely you are to stay away from business email and work matters during these holidays?
- 46% of respondents: It’s a given; no work for me over the holidays
- 31% of respondents: I’ll check email periodically
- 12% of respondents: I’ll check and respond only to urgent matters
- 8% of respondents: I’ll check email daily
- 4% of respondents: I’ll be working/catching up & checking email
- 0% of respondents: I’ll answer phone calls from colleagues
6. Where would you prefer to be during the upcoming holidays?
- At/around home: 70% of respondents
- Travelling: 30% of respondents
7. Where will you actually be during the upcoming holidays?
- At/around home: 70% of respondents
- Travelling – to be with family/friends: 19% of respondents
- Travelling – for the sake of travelling/sunshine/exploring the world: 7% of respondents
- Not yet decided – 4% of respondents
8. Do you celebrate Christmas?
- Yes: 96% of respondents
- No: 4% of respondents
9. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, do you have any etiquette tips for colleagues/friends who typically give cards or tokens of friendship at this time of year and would like to respect your culture/beliefs/views/principles?
- My international based family with many different life styles celebrate some thing or another – we refrain from cards that reference God and lean towards general merry times instead
10. If you celebrate Christmas, where are you in terms of decorating?
- All done – typically done by the first week of December: 30% of respondents
- Almost there – typically done by mid-December: 37% of respondents
- N/A; I normally decorate, but circumstances are such that we’re not doing so this year: 15% of respondents
- It’ll be done some time between now and Christmas Eve: 11% of respondents
- I celebrate Christmas without decorating: 7% of respondents
11. On a scale of one to five, with five being over the top, how much decorating do you do for the holidays?
- : 4% of respondents
- % of respondents
- % of respondents
- % of respondents
- 2: 4% of respondents
- 3: 37% of respondents
- 4: 19% of respondents
- 5 (over the top and loving it): 4% of respondents
12. What are your favourite or sentimental holiday decorations, if any, for this time of year?
- Silver-toned reindeer we hang on the tree – one for each family member
- Ornaments that represent a special memory
- the ornaments we made with my mother who is now gone
- Tree decorations from my family
- We buy 1 meaningful decoration for the tree to symbolise the year that’s past
- Ornaments purchased over the years representing where we’ve traveled
- Christmas Trees 🎄 – Christmas trees were mentioned a few times
- Ornaments / sentimental ornaments
- Lots of greenery, red balls & candles
- The Christmas tree, our stockings (we use the same ones every year)
- Angel on top of Christmas tree
- Christmas tree decorations
- Christmas stockings – the same ones we’ve used since our kids were babies
- Glittery snowflakes hung at varying lengths from the ceiling makes a space look so festive. and of course my huge white tree decked out in hot pink and teal blue – it reminds me of Vegas
- Evergreen and holly
14. Do you bake for the holidays?
15. If you bake for the holidays, what are some of your favourite things to bake?
- cookies – there were numerous references to simply “cookies”; you’ll see below mention of specific types of cookies other readers mentioned
- Nanaimo Bars
- mincemeat tarts
- cookies are easy, sometimes mincemeat tarts
- Christmas cakes
- Caramel Chew and cookies
- anything with saffron and sweets
- Pizzelles (Italian cookies), Russian Tea Cakes, sour cream sugar cookies, peanut butter chocolate fudge
- ginger cake, mince pies
- cookies, gingerbread house
- shortbread, sugar cookies
16. What are some of your favourite Christmas songs/songs for this time of year? Note: the first four songs on the list below received the most mentions, while more than a few readers mentioned fondness for the oldies/classics in general.
- Fairytale of New York
- All I Want for Christmas Is You
- Silent Night
- All the oldies (there were more than a couple of references to all the “oldies” and “classics”) / classic Christmas songs like White Christmas but also the party songs, Rocking around the Christmas tree, etc.
- So This is Christmas
- Driving home for Christmas
- Chestnuts Roasting in an Open Fire (The Christmas Song)
- Adeste Fidelis
- Merry Xmas (War is Over)
- I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas,
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
- N/a; I listen to talk radio
- Mary, Did You Know
- Snoopy’s Christmas
- Last Christmas
- Do They Know It’s Christmas
- Santa Baby
- Pentatonix songs
- Straight No Chaser songs
- Oh Holy Night
- Silver Bells
- Winter Wonderland
17. What are some must-see movies or tv shows for you at this time of year? Note: More than a couple of these received repeat mentions – and the first five on the list below were most frequently mentioned.
- Miracle on 34th Street
- Love, Actually
- White Christmas
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- The Grinch (original cartoon version) / The Grinch (with my children)
- The Polar Express
- Home Alone
- The Sound of Music (a must watch every Christmas time)
- All Christmas related movies
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Wizard of Oz (every year!)
- The Santa Clause; The Santa Clause 2
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Nativity Story
- The fairy tale movies and the umpteenth rerun of a trilogy of Austrian empress Elisabeth aka Sissi
- The BBC has the best Christmas programmes
- Hallmark Christmas movies
- The Family Man (Nicholas Cage)
18. Name a couple of books you’d like to curl up with over the holidays, and/or books you recommend that others may enjoy.
- Becoming / I’m diving into Michelle Obama’s book
- Conversations With Friends
- First man In – Ant Middleton
- How to Change Your Mind
- Lagom (Not Too Little, Not Too Munch
- Lethal White
- Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World
- Normal People
- Outlander series
- The Bible
- The Clifton Chronicles from Jeffrey Archer
- The Great Believers
- The Nest
- The Nightingale (about two sisters during World War II)
- There are so many unread ones, but probably one by German author Hans Fallada
- Too many to mention here!
- If I do have time to read, I will be reading inspirational and organizing books to get ready for the New Year!
19. Will you be hosting a holiday dinner this year?
- No; I’ll be a guest: 60% of respondents
- Yes, I’ll be hosting: 28% of respondents
- Yes, I’ll be hosting and will also be a guest at another holiday dinner: 12% of respondents
20. What kind of gatherings do you prefer over the holidays?
- Small, low key: 50% of respondents
- Parties with a good crowd: 4% of respondents
- I like a mix of both: 46% of respondents
21. You have the gift of four hours to spend however you’d like on December 26th. How would you most like to spend that time?
- quietly relaxing with family/friends
- exercising outdoors – whether for a walk, run or some other physical activity
- soaking in a nice hot bath or hot tub
- the arts – ballet or theatre
No respondents selected any of the other options, shown below.