Are we really able to enjoy Christmas?

What brings most people joy during the holiday season? Can we enjoy the little things or are we stressing about the cracked bejgli (roll cake) and the crooked Christmas tree? Costa Coffee is encouraging us to embrace the possibility of failure and imperfection, rather than the perfectionism that dominates so many aspects of life – that is why the brand conducted a joint survey with GKID to find out whether we can really enjoy Christmas. The results show that 70% of Hungarians cannot get through the Holidays without stress or frustration, but spending time with family or drinking a good cup of coffee can compensate negative emotions.

Being with the family

Some things do not seem to change; for the majority of the participants in the joint research of Costa Coffee and GKID Christmas is about spending quality time with family - 69% of female respondents and 60% of male participants consider it the most important. The excitement of preparation is the second greatest joy associated with Christmas. Women (47%) agreed with this in greater proportion than men (26%), and it is more important to rest (36%) for the latter, while women think relaxing is not a top priority during this period (32%).

Every fifth respondent concentrates on recharging during the holidays, while others also make plans for the upcoming year (14%) and review the past twelve months (10%). Of course, gifts are also a typical source of pleasure, with nearly a quarter of respondents feeling better if they can give or receive a present. Gifts are more important for younger people, and a much higher proportion of women (27%) look forward to Christmas because of the presents than the male participants (17%).

For many, opening presents (35%) and decorating trees (32%) is a great way to feel the holiday spirit, while wrapping gifts is a favored activity for only one in five respondents. For a quarter of the participants, just being at home and do nothing brings the best moments of this period. Overall, everything – even preparing the Christmas menu – brings more happiness to women than to men, for whom moments of celebration seem to be less significant.

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Drinking a good cup of coffee...

Consuming quality coffee after a delicious lunch or dinner can be the high point of the festive days. Costa Coffee and GKID's joint Christmas survey revealed that sitting down to drink an energizing cup of java is a great way to unwind from a busy day (35%), and for one in three respondents it is essential to start the day well. For 18% of the survey respondents, moments of sipping coffee represent me-time, when they do not have to meet external expectations. This proportion is higher among female respondents (23%), but the role of coffee in participants’ lives is also differentiated by age. It is interesting to note that younger people also think that consuming coffee means taking a break from a hectic day, while for the older generation drinking coffee is an essential part of the morning and is mainly consumed for its energizing effect. Coffee is an important source of joy for many people, even in challenging times.

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Notice the good things!

That is exactly what Costa Coffee wants, to make drinking coffee a happy moment, whether you are alone or with company – that is why the brand is encouraging us to embrace the possibility of failure and imperfection, rather than the perfectionism that dominates so many aspects of life. The aim is to notice the positive aspects of the negative things, not to get upset if the gingerbread is a little burnt or the tree is crooked, the bejgli is cracked. It is not a tragedy if the coffee spills on the table or the gift is not the right one – because these are the moments that will make the holiday truly memorable. 

„There is a huge burden on Christmas and the people who are preparing for Christmas. As if everything would be determined in those few days. The whole year. Our whole life. The fish soup, the sweater, the bejgli, the atmosphere must be perfect. But as there is no perfect parent, there is no perfect holidays either. And we can still have a pretty good Christmas” – says Dávid Szél, psychologist, author of the Apapara blog.  „You can add salt to the fish soup, you can change the sweater, you can leave out the bejgli, you can overcome the mood. It is not always easy, but unrealistic expectations have never made any Christmas realistic.”  This is why, according to the psychologist, it is worth setting good enough as a goal well in advance, because, unlike perfection, it is achievable. „It is worth asking the following questions: will everyone – including the cook – really be happier if the dinner includes eight courses? Will everyone – including the giver – really be more satisfied if the gifts are expensive? It may not depend on that. But if we feel that way, let's stop for a moment and think through the questions above.”

How do we beat stress?

Costa Coffee and GKID also wanted to know if people are stressing about the Christmas preparations at all. For those who cannot let go of the tension, the biggest source of stress is the crowd (21%), but others are also worried about spending money (15%), lack of gift ideas (14%) and prices (11%). Women are more concerned about spending money, crowds, gift ideas and prices, while men are less stressed about the holidays. Overall, 30% of the respondents do not stress about anything, as they enjoy every moment of the holiday or have learned to let go of the difficulties.

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If, despite our best efforts, our days do end up stressful, participants mentioned a variety of ways to reduce the tension: fifth of them read a good book, 16% drink a cup of coffee – 20% of the female respondents consider coffee drinking as a stress reliever. 15% do chores, the same proportion go hiking and 14% play with their pets to calm down.

At Christmas Costa Coffee encourages everyone to find their own personal way to relax, enjoy being together, try to take a break from the everyday life and not stress at least during the holidays - after all, it has been a very hard year for all of us, and we deserve to relax.

The survey was conducted by GKID Research & Consulting on behalf of Coca-Cola HBC Hungary in November 2022, interviewing 5,196 individuals.