The biggest Christmas questions of 2018 - answered
As a company concerned with technology and how people use it, we’re always interested in data. The questions people ask today are often a good indicator of what innovations happen tomorrow.
But the data can also be fun and interesting too.
This year, we decided to look into the big questions UK residents were asking about Christmas.
You can find out a lot just be analysing Google’s own data, in this case we used the search engine’s autocomplete feature over the period from November 1st to December 15th. We used a variety of browsers and machines to get as fair an idea as possible of what people wanted to know.
You might think we know all we need to about the festive season, but as our researchers found out, we have a LOT of questions about Christmas.
For example, one of the top searches about Christmas decorations was whether they were tax deductible. And when it comes to Christmas trees, rabbit owners had some big questions.
As well as collating the most-asked Christmas questions this year, we’ve also done the research to find the answers.
The most asked Christmas questions of 2018
|Does Christmas have a capital C?||Yes|
|Does Christmas start in November?||No|
|Does Christmas start too early?||Research suggests most of us feel it does.|
|Does Christmas have a smell?||Yes! Roasting chestnuts, mulled wine, satsumas, all the good stuff.|
|Is Christmas a proper noun?||Yes|
|Is Christmas pagan?||Certain traditions associated with Christmas, such as carols and certain winter festival customs, have Pagan origins that pre-date the biblical story that informs Christmas.|
|Is Christmas a festival?||Yes.|
|Is Christmas eve time and a half?||Employees have no statutory right to increased pay, even on bank holidays such as Christmas day and boxing day.|
|Does Christmas eve mass count for Christmas||Guidance varies and confusion arises when Christmas eve falls on a Sunday. 'Vigil' masses are typically observed before a feast day. The Liturgy Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales told the Catholic Herald "The primary purpose of a holyday of obligation is to call the faithful to celebrate particular dimensions of the mysteries of Christ and His Church. Since obligation is attached to specific mysteries being celebrated, it is not possible to fulfil two obligations in one celebration."|
|Does Christmas eve mass count for Christmas||See above|
|Does Christmas eve vigil mass count?||See above|
|Does Christmas eve mass fulfill obligation?||See above|
|Does Christmas eve vigil mass count?||See above|
|Is Christmas eve a bank holiday?||No.|
|Are Christmas presents pagan?||The tradition of giving gifts during winter actually has Roman roots, beginning with the Roman festival of Saturnalia, a celebration of the Roman god of agriculture.|
|Are Christmas presents tax deductible?||It depends broadly on whether the gift is for a client, customer or employee. The nature of the gift also matters. If it's a branded umbrella or mouse mat, it is likely to be tax deductible. If it's a bottle of win, it's unlikely to qualify for any tax exemptions.|
|are Christmas trees poisonous to rabbits?||Real Christmas trees are generally not poisonous to rabbits, although they may be hazardous in other ways. Fake trees, especially those treated with fire-retardant, can be poisonous to pets.|
|are Christmas trees pagan?||Yes, Pagan’s used trees to mark the Winter Solstice by cutting them down and bringing them inside.|
|are Christmas trees pine?||Yes, they can be. Also spruce, fir or plastic.|
|are Christmas trees religious?||Although they have Pagan and Roman origins, Christmas trees have taken on significance in the Christian tradition too.|
|are Christmas trees ethical?||It depends. Buying a new plastic tree every year isn’t great for the environment. But replanting a living Christmas tree can be good for the environment and save you money too.|
|Is Christmas dinner tax deductible?||If you are buying Christmas dinner for staff, you are potentially entitled to some tax relief. You are not entitled to put the shopping bill for your family Christmas dinner through your company accounts.|
|Is Christmas dinner religious?||Feasts are a common way of marking a religious holiday, but there isn’t anything specifically ‘Christian’ about roast turkey.|
|Is Christmas dinner healthy?||That depends. Turkey is a relatively healthy source of lean protein. Brussel sprouts are a great source of iron. Christmas pudding, chocolate log and mince pies not so much.|
|Is Santa Claus Turkish?||Saint Nicholas of Myra, who is believed to have inspired the ‘Father Christmas’ figure has origins in ancient Greece, parts of which are in modern day Turkey, so he does have Turkish roots.|
|Is Santa Claus American?||The modern version of Santa Claus, with his red cape and big white beard, owes part of his popularity to American media portrayals.|
|Is Santa Claus married?||Yes. He’s married to Mrs. Claus.|
|Does Santa Claus live in Lapland?||Yes. He spends part of the year at his home in Lapland.|
|Does Santa Claus have a son?||No, but he does have a daughter who appeared in American Christmas folklore in the late 19th Century.|
|Does Santa Claus have a wife?||Yes.|
|Does Santa Claus live in the North Pole?||Yes.|
|Does Santa Claus have a pilot license?||He doesn’t need one as his sleigh is exempt.|
|is Christmas pudding vegetarian?||Traditional recipes typically contain suet, which is not suitable for vegetarians. But there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes too.|
|is Christmas pudding vegan?||See above.|
|is Christmas pudding British?||Yes, it has origins in Medieval England. Some early recipes contained beef.|
|is Christmas pudding fattening?||It can be if you eat too much. A standard adult serving contains around 300 calories (not including custard!).|
|is Christmas pudding dairy free?||It can be. The traditional Christmas pud contains butter, but there are plenty of delicious dairy and gluten-free alternatives.|
|is Christmas pudding the same as Christmas cake?||No. Christmas cake is a fruitcake with icing. Christmas pudding is a fruit pudding.|
|are Christmas decorations VATable?||Unless you work from home, yes. You can put Christmas decorations through as office running costs and claim back the VAT.|
|are Christmas decorations pagan?||The tradition of decorating for festivals has both Christian and Pagan roots. Some Christmas decorations, such as the cross on top of the tree, have Christian origins. But the use of an evergreen tree and mistletoe has Pagan origins.|
|are Christmas decorations tax deductible?||Unless you work from home, yes. You can put Christmas decorations through as an office running cost.|
|Is tinsel flammable?||It can be, so be careful. Although it’s easy to find non-flammable tinsel.|
|Is tinsel recyclable?||Not usually. Traditional tinsel, which is made from metal, isn’t easy to recycle. But you can easily find biodegradable alternatives.|
|Is tinsel tacky?||Absolutely. But that’s no reason to not enjoy it. Just remember to dispose of it in your normal rubbish bin or do your best to use it again.|
|is boxing day religious||Yes and no. Boxing Day is a secular bank holiday in the UK. But the 26th of December is also St. Stephen’s Day, which is a religious holiday.|
|is boxing day a bank holiday||Yes. Throughout the whole of the UK. If it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the day after becomes a bank holiday in its place.|