Palatinate’s 2023 Christmas Survey: the results

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As Christmas approaches Palatinate has taken it upon itself to ask the hard questions and look into how Durham Students feel about the holiday period.

119 students responded to our survey, answering questions from what was their favourite Christmas movie, to what was their favourite Christmas baked good, to the most serious question of all – what were their thoughts on Christmas jumpers?

Of the 119 respondents, only six did not celebrate Christmas. When asked if they took part in any other traditions instead one answered that they celebrate Diwali instead of Christmas. Another said that their Christmas tradition was to eat garlic shrimp!

Of the 119 respondents, only six did not celebrate Christmas

But what do Durham students say: Merry or Happy Christmas? The answer: well, students went with the Americanised Merry Christmas over the more traditionally British Happy Christmas with 87% voting for the American saying.

And when is it okay to say Merry Christmas? When asked when the holiday period started most people believed that Christmas started on the 1st December. This was not the unanimous decision though, with some saying the Christmas period started as early as the end of Halloween, though the more popular answer being the middle of November. Some Scrooges among the student population believed that Christmas did not start until after term ended, with some going as far as claiming that even two weeks before was not the right time for the Christmas period to start.

Another popular element of Christmas for all primary school-aged children is the Christmas Nativity. We asked students to relive their primary school drama days and remember which role they played in their school’s nativity. The most popular role? That of an angel. This was followedby the role of the Wise Man, then the Narrator, then Mary, Mother of Jesus. Rounding off the top five was the coveted role of the Donkey. Special mention must be made to the people who played the nontraditional roles of a chicken, a spaceman and a frog. We are sureyour family took great delight in watching you in that starring role in your very conventional costumes.

Talking about the Christmas wardrobe, Palatinate also asked for student’s thoughts on the divisive Christmas jumper. 71% of respondents liked Christmas jumpers, with 15% of respondents saying that they did not like them. 14% of students sat on the fence.

Finally, Palatinate asked students what was their favourite day of the holiday period. While the actual day itself ruled supreme with 49% of the votes, 37% of respondents preferred Christmas Eve over Christmas.

What the results of the survey show is that we all celebrate Christmas in our different unique ways, full of our own family tradition and history. But from all of us at Palatinate, to those who celebrate, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


A note from our Welfare Team: Christmas Loneliness

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I love Christmas, the festive feels and obviously, the food. However, something I find challenging is the idea that Christmas must be a joyous time where we spend time with loved ones and feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. Because in reality, Christmas is a lonely time for many of us.

Christmas is said to be a time for connecting with friends, family and having fun. You can endlessly scroll on social media and see everyone else, seemingly having the time of their lives.

Christmas is a time of year when many of us feel lonely. For some of us, home is too far away, so we have to stay at university over the holidays, for others, family relationships are challenging and therefore going home to a setting full of tensions. For others, you may feel lonely in a room full of people. You are not alone.

This Christmas, if you are struggling, please do not feel alone – reach out to people, open up, don’t compare yourselves to others, look after yourself. If you need to seek advice over the Christmas holidays this year, here are two organisations that can give you some help and advice:

The Red Cross Support Line – 0808 196 3651

The Samaritans – 116 123

To those who love Christmas and find so much happiness and joy through the holidays, reach out to your friends and check in on them.

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