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Press releases


20th Dec 2012

Britons are craving laughter at the Christmas dinner table as comedians top the list of ‘ideal’ Christmas lunch guests

We are a nation in need of desperate laughter as Britain’s top comedians including Stephen Fry, Paddy McGuiness, Miranda Heart, Paul O Grady and Alan Carr dominate this year’s Travelodge ideal Christmas lunch guest poll.

For the first time ever royalty, celebrity chefs and musicians have been snubbed in favour of our most loved comedians. In a quest for more laughter this year’s poll leads with Stephen Fry, renowned for entertaining his five million Twitter followers with his intellectual wit and humorous tales. The comedian, also known as one half of the duo ‘Fry & Laurie’, moved up from last year’s number two spot to this year’s number one position.

In second place the nation opted to keep their light-on for ‘Take Me Out’ host Paddy McGuinness as their ideal Christmas dinner guest. Famous for his ‘Paddy-isms’ on his dating show, the Bolton born comic beat his sidekick, Peter Kay, who debuted much further up the list at number seven this year.

In third place Britons chose the self acclaimed ‘giant’ of comedy and award winning comedienne Miranda Hart, star of BBC Two’s Sitcom ‘Miranda’ to join them for the most important meal of the year.

Other comedians making the top 10 ranking of ideal Christmas guests were Liverpudlian Paul O’Grady who reached fourth place followed by flamboyant comic and TV presenter Alan Carr. Taking sixth place was stand up comedian Russell Brand.

Stephanie Davies, Behavioural strategist & Author of Laughology: the science of laughter to improve your life commented on the research findings: “It’s no surprise that Britons have chosen some of the UK’s most popular comedians as their ideal Christmas dinner guests. This year has been a tough year and we are all in need of a belly full of laughter.

“Keeping your sense of humour and, most importantly having a good laugh, are important. Laughter is a natural way to release tension and creates happy hormones called endorphins. These help us to feel better, they make bonding with people easier and they help us relax – resulting in the perfect mindset to be in when we sit around the table enjoying Christmas lunch with our families.
“My advice to avoid any tension at the dining table on Christmas Day is to remember to find the humour perspective and step back from a situation, take a deep breath and imagine how the scene might be played out in a sitcom. I always think of The Royle family and their comedy Christmas dinners, the reason why we find those programmes funny is because most of us can relate to them.
“My favourite Christmas joke is there are two snowmen in a field: one looks at the other one and says “can you smell carrots!?”
Outside of the comedians, the only other personalities to enter the chart were TV’s golden girls Lorraine Kelly in eighth place and Holly Willoughby in ninth place. Completing the list and taking tenth place was Geordie princess Cheryl Cole.

The 2012 ideal Christmas lunch guests are listed below:

1. Stephen Fry
2. Paddy McGuinness
3. Miranda Hart
4. Paul O’Grady
5. Russell Brand
6. Alan Carr
7. Peter Kay
8. Lorraine Kelly
9. Holly Willoughby
10. Cheryl Cole

The survey also delved further to investigate Britons views on the most important meal of the year. Key findings revealed we are traditionalists at heart as 87% of Britons still opt for a turkey lunch with all of the trimmings. This year Christmas lunch will be served nearly an hour earlier from last year at 2.23pm in British homes across the country. Three out of ten adults will have to endure up to four Christmas dinners on the 25th December due to family commitments and pressures:

• Eighteen per cent of adults will be eating two Christmas dinners
• Nine per cent of adults will have to endure three Christmas dinners
• Three per cent of adults will have to the mammoth task of devouring four Christmas dinners in one day

The research also revealed the Mother-In-Law is still the most dreaded Christmas guest, followed by Mum as both women know best and will interfere with the day’s planned proceedings. Sixty eight per cent of women said it really annoys them when their Mother-In-Law or Mother tires to take over on Christmas Day. Thirty one per cent of respondents said it makes them feel inadequate and not a good host. A fifth of women said if it gets too much on Christmas day they will use the excuse of having a migraine so that they can have a sneaky catnap.

Father-In-Law takes third position in the dreaded guest list followed by Father and ex-partner in fourth and fifth position.

Listed below are Britons top ten most dreaded guests for Christmas dinner:

1. Mother-In-Law
2. Mother
3. Father-In-Law
4. Father
5. Ex-Partner
6. Brother
7. Sister
8. Cousins
9. Grandparents
10. Stepmother

British households can rely on the men in their family to keep them amused during Christmas dinner as Britons reported when it comes to providing the laughter and entertainment around the dinner table, brothers, dads and grandfathers win.

Six out of ten British adults reported they find it very stressful keeping the conversation flowing around the Christmas dinner table and a quarter of hosts will plan an itinerary of conversation topics prior to the day. Listed below are the top 10 most popular topics of conversations taking place in British households over Christmas dinner.

1. Catching up on family gossip
2. Running through the key events of the year
3. Reminiscing past memories
4. The cost of Christmas
5. The Queen’s speech and the royal family
6. Discussing the story lines of the soaps
7. The weather
8. The football
9. Politics
10. How good or bad the food and presents are this year

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokeswoman, said: “In 2012, we may be short of cash but we are certainly rich in Christmas spirit as 42% of Britons will be travelling around 99 miles to spend Christmas in the bosom of their family this year. However, savvy Britons are forgoing imposing on their families and avoiding the dodgy sofa and bed by booking themselves into a nearby hotel. This actually gives both parties free time to enjoy the holiday season and make the most of their time together, rather than getting under each other’s feet.

“This year we have seen a significant boost in room bookings for the festive season as consumers turn a family trip back home into a short festive break.”


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