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Press releases

GUESS WHO WE WISH WAS COMING TO DINNER THIS CHRISTMAS

31st Dec 2011


Cheeky Geordies Ant and Dec are the most popular dinner guests Britons would like sat around their dining table this Christmas according to new research released today by Travelodge.

The hotel chain surveyed 6,000 adults to find out the nation’s ideal Christmas dinner guest list. In second place Britons choose actor, writer, comedian, Stephen Fry as their favourite yuletide guest. The third position was claimed by Geordie pop princess and style icon Cheryl Cole.

The glamorous TV presenter Holly Willoughby took fourth position in the poll and the newest member of the Royal Family, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge took fifth place.

Listed below is the nation’s ideal Christmas dinner guest list:

1. Ant & Dec – for comedy
2. Stephen Fry – for good conversation and his wit
3. Cheryl Cole – for keeping it real and beauty tips
4. Holly Willoughby – gossip from her celebrity interviews
5. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – for style, etiquette and royal
gossip
6. Jamie Oliver – for food and wine conversation
7. Keith Lemon – Just for the pure entertainment he will bring to the table
8. David Beckham – for football trivia
9. Bruce Forsyth – for show business gossip and stories
10. Gary Barlow – for X factor gossip and for his funny stories about
the music industry

Travelodge’s ideal Christmas dinner guest list, highlights Britons want comedy, celebrity gossip and light entertainment conversations over the most important meal of the year. The most requested guests are predominantly from the world of entertainment, with the world of daytime and Saturday night television well represented. Bruce Forsyth (Strictly Come Dancing), Gary Barlow (X Factor), Ant & Dec (I’m a Celebrity) and Holly Willoughby (This Morning) all feature in the top ten while politicians and academics were left out in the cold.

However, when it comes to the reality of who’s coming to Christmas dinner, there are certain people that we all dread turning up on the doorstep. Jokes about the Mother-In-Law may be nothing new, but she is still the least popular Christmas guest. Mothers are second on the Travelodge list, closely followed by the Father-In-Law. It would seem that Granddad is the most popular family member as less than one per cent dread having him at the table.

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokeswoman said: “We have seen a year on year rise in Christmas bookings. This year we have experienced a significant increase in bookings for the festive season and many of our 496 hotels are full over Christmas. Britons may still feel obliged to invite family to dinner, but there is an increasing trend of not having them to stay over and instead finding room at the inn to give them a break.

“Perhaps people would be more willing to find a spare bed at home if David Beckham was coming to dinner.”

Ant and Dec were the nation’s favourite guests due to the comedy that they would bring to the table. Their mocking and sarcastic style of presenting on I’m a Celebrity as well as their numerous other TV projects caused people to choose them over dedicated comedians such as Ricky Gervais and James Corden.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge proved popular amongst people looking to add a little Royal class to their Christmas proceedings. While her etiquette and style might be intimidating to some hosts, the fact that she is the newest member of the Royal Family and comes across so well puts her at the top of many people’s lists. People also think that they might be able to get some juicy gossip from the Palace out of her.

While none of Britain’s political leaders made it to the top 10 of the Travelodge survey, David Cameron was the most popular of the big three, with more than double the amount of people adding him to their guest list as Ed Milliband. Nick Clegg was one of the least popular guests on the list.

The research also investigated how the modern British family spends its Christmas Day. Findings revealed the average family will fall out by mid-morning on the festive day. Even before the turkey, the Queen’s speech and a heated game of charades the typical British family worryingly have their first argument at 10.13am. The main bone of contention for fall outs is rowing over extended family staying over and not having enough space. The other to inflame are:

• Kids not impressed with their presents
• Dad having too many pre-dinner tipples
• Mum stressing over the turkey being under or over cooked
• An old family argument that resurfaces
• Ownership of the TV remote control

The next festive family tiff will happen at 12.42pm when children moaning about receiving the wrong presents will feel the wrath of stressed out parents.

Between 1.00pm to 3.00pm Mum and Dad will be at loggerheads due to Dad being ‘merry’ before dinner and Mum stressing over dinner preparations – in an overcrowded kitchen.

The traditional Christmas lunch - a touching scene of familial togetherness - will be ruined around 3.24pm by an outbreak of hostilities between relatives. They will be squabbling about illnesses, ‘who is the better person’, family gossip and revisiting old family arguments that had not been settled during the year.

After dinner, family members’ blood sugar levels will be all over the place, due to excessive eating and drinking. This gluttony will lead to a session of evening bickering - especially around 6.05pm, when the fight will begin for ownership of the remote control. This will be followed by an outburst at 7.25pm by senior family members cheating at charades.

At 10.15pm after the liqueurs have been drunk and the last mince pie has been eaten, tempers will flare up just before bedtime between relatives due to the aftermath of Christmas. When the pressures of the day and cost involved will hit home and lead to frustrations being taken out on loved ones.

Corinne Sweet, Relationship Psychologist said: “It’s not only the turkey that gets overheated at Christmas, family flare-ups are inevitable, especially as people who seldom see each other are suddenly thrown together 24/7. Prepare yourself psychologically by lowering your expectations, Christmas can’t be perfect”.

“Take time-out every time you feel riled. Having a nap can work wonders, as people are especially niggly on not much sleep. Make space for yourself this Christmas (even a walk round the block can help), set boundaries with relatives and kids, and create some quiet ‘me-time’ to reflect on what the spirit of Christmas is really all about.”

The Travelodge study also revealed that Christmas traditions are still firmly anchored in today’s modern world with a conventional 87% of us still opting for a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. However Christmas dinner is eaten later than ever, with the average Briton now sitting down for their turkey dinner at 3.24pm, despite traditionally being served at 1pm. Eating later doesn’t stop the booze flowing as the average person will have their first drink at midday.

The poll also revealed 25% of Britons insist on sitting down with their families at 3pm to watch or listen to the Queen’s speech.

Listed below is a schedule on how a typical British family spends its Christmas Day:

08:00 Wake-up
09:00 Have breakfast (Cereal & toast is the most popular choice)
10:00 Start attacking the Selection Boxes and chocolate tins
10:13 First family argument
12:00 Raid the drinks cabinet
12:42 Kids get told off for being ungrateful
13:50 Mum tells Dad off for drinking too much
14:30 Dad moans at Mum for not having dinner ready
15:24 Family eat Christmas dinner
18:05 First battle for ownership of remote control
19:25 Play games (Charades, board games)
21.00 Bed time


Listed below are Corrine Sweet top tips on how to avoid family arguments at Christmas:

1. Plan ahead, think of what might happen on the day and predict what problems may arise and develop solutions to avoid it happening.
2. Give your guests a choice, don’t make people do things they don’t want to
3. Look for triggers that usually cause arguments and avoid them at all costs.
4. Share responsibility, allow others to help on the day and make them feel involved - especially children
5. If an argument does break out, make the people involved aware of how it affects the rest of the family
6. The most important thing is to relax and have fun, make your expectations realistic, appreciate the time spent together with your family


-End-

For further information, please contact:
Matt Flanders
Corporate PR Manager
T +44 (0)1844 358 633
M +44 (0)7909 954 689
Matt.flanders@travelodge.co.uk

About Travelodge:
The first budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985, Travelodge now operates over 490 hotels and over 33,500 rooms across the UK, Ireland (11) and Spain (4). Travelodge plans to grow its estate to 1,100 hotels and 100,000 rooms by 2025. Over 13 million people stayed with Travelodge last year and 90% of reservations are currently made online at www.travelodge.co.uk, where room rates start at £19 per night. The chain employs over 6,000 staff.

Notes to editors:
The research was conducted in December 2011 with a sample of 6,000 Britons

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