12 Studies of Christmas: The Perfect Christmas Tree

At Prolific we've been getting in the Christmas spirit by running our very own festive research studies. We've asked all the big questions - Do you believe in Santa? Is Die Hard a Christmas film? What is the earliest acceptable date to hear a Christmas song? Some of our results were pretty surprising, so we decided to share them. In the run-up to Christmas, we will be gifting 12 studies that we ran on our platform - think of it like an advent calendar, except instead of chocolate behind each door, there are 100 of our brilliant research participants and their Christmas opinions!

For our first study, we wanted to work out the perfect Christmas tree. So we asked 100 people to build their typical yearly Tennenbaum and collated the results.

First things first - when should we put up our tree? Nearly half of our respondents agreed that December 1st was the earliest appropriate date, although we also had some radical outliers, including September 1st, Christmas Day itself, and the 25th of June - a full 6 months before Christmas!

Before we get the baubles out, we need to work out whether our perfect Christmas tree is made of plastic or, well, tree. We asked our participants whether they go natural or artificial and, in a blow to fans of Christmas tree smell, 62% chose plastic! Clearly we have collectively had enough of spending Boxing Day picking shedded bits of old tree out of the carpet. Traditionalists will be pleased that 84% of the artificial choosers did at least have green colored trees, with 5 voting for white, 3 for red, and 2 for multi-colored.

Next up, and the subject of much heated debate, tinsel - yea or nay? The divisive, shiny, scratchy PVC ropes (which used to be made of lead!) are either a much-loved item of festive paraphernalia or a hideous eyesore, depending on who you ask. That debate will roll on for another year as, remarkably, our participants were split exactly 50/50! Half have tinsel on their tree, half don't, and no one is happy about it. Silver was the most popular tinsel color, garnering 30 votes, with red (22) and gold (20) following.

Another big tree decoration debate is light color - should you go with classic (boring) white or fun (garish) multi-colored? It was close, but among our participants white came out on top with 54 votes. 12 selected candles as their tree light of choice - we salute their willingness to risk setting their tree, and presents, on fire for a more traditional aesthetic. Although for a shocking 19% of people there would be no such risk of singed wrapping paper as they don't keep presents under their tree! Where else are they meant to go?!

After the tinsel is draped, the lights are on and the baubles (by far the most popular ornament with 60% of the vote) are hung, the final question is - do we have a star or an angel at the top of our perfect Christmas tree? First, some honorable mentions - Santa (1 vote); teddy bear (1 vote); homemade weeping angel from Doctor Who (1 vote). So what will be the cherry/ star/ angel on top? In truth, it wasn't even close. With 79%, star was the clear winner and takes its rightful place at the top of our perfect Christmas tree.

Next year the Prolific Christmas tree will be going up on the 1st of December. It will be green, artificial, and have exactly one half covered with silver tinsel. It will be decorated with baubles and white lights, have presents underneath and no candles anywhere near it. Finally, at the very top, there will be a shining star. Perfect!

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