From Iceland — Artificial Christmas Trees More Popular Than Actual Pine

Artificial Christmas Trees More Popular Than Actual Pine

Published December 21, 2014

Hangikjöt stays strong—Top-earners and Leftists eat most rock ptarmigan, says new Christmas poll

Hangikjöt stays strong—Top-earners and Leftists eat most rock ptarmigan, says new Christmas poll

If you spend your holidays at an Icelandic household, you will most likely see the living room decorated, or perhaps occupied, by green plastic in the shape of a pine tree. The artificial Christmas tree seems to be taking over. It is likely that you will be served smoked pork —hamborgarhryggur— on Christmas Eve, and you will almost unavoidably be offered smoked lamb or mutton —hangikjöt— on Christmas day. This is according to a recent poll, conducted by MMR. Most likely to deviate in any of the above are supporters of the Pirate Party, and the poll’s highest wage group.

Even better than the real thing

According to the poll, significantly fewer people install live fir trees in their homes during advent than two years ago. The figure is down from 39 to 32 percent. In rural areas, the figure is even lower, around a quarter of correspondents.

Correspondingly, a growing majority of households, now 56 percent, prefer an artificial tree for the festivities. That number reaches 66 percent in rural areas, while merely 50 percent in the Capital Area. A similar difference appears along gender lines: 60 percent of female correspondents said they would install an artificial Christmas tree, but only 52 percent of males.

Twelve percent of correspondents said that would not decorate their homes with a Christmas tree at all, compared with nine percent in 2012.

Supporters of the Progressive party turned out most likely to install any sort of Christmas tree, leaving only around four percent without one. Pirate supporters were actually least likely to have Christmas trees at all: 29 percent of them will not.

Supporters of the social-democrat Coalition turned out to be most likely to install an actual fir tree.

High-income leftist have rock ptarmigan for Christmas

As for culinary traditions, around half of the population has hamborgarhryggur —a smoked rack of pork, served in slices —for Christmas Eve, December 24. Another five percent will serve other kinds of pork. 11 percent say they will serve lamb, nine percent will serve rock ptarmigan, another nine percent turkey and 17 percent will have something unspecified else.

At 15 percent, the rock ptarmigan has the strongest following among supporter of the Left-Green Party and among the highest earners, whereas lamb, at 28%, is more popular on Christmas Eve among Progressives than any other demographic group.

Lamb’s popularity also stands in an opposite relation to income: the higher a correspondent’s earnings, the less likely he/she is to have lamb on Christmas Eve.

Hangikjöt, served according to tradition

Smoked, not stirred

There is far less variation between demographic groups when asked about their main course on Christmas day, December 25: 71 percent of all correspondents declared their intention to eat hangikjöt on Christmas day: smoked mutton, traditionally served sliced, with béchamel sauce, green peas and potatoes.

Again, however, Progressive Party supporters turn out to adhere to tradition more strongly than other groups: 85 percent of them intend to eat hangikjöt, compared with 69 to 77 percent of any other party’s supporters —those 69 percent are the Independence Party’s, whose followers are thereby more likely than those of any other party to serve something else than hangikjöt. The Pirates come in a close second, at 70 percent hangikjöt.

Of all the the poll’s defined demographic groups, the youngest age group, 18–29, turned out least likely to have hangikjöt on Christmas day, at 65 percent, followed close by the highest earners: 66 percent of those with monthly wages over a million ISK said they will have hangikjöt. Along with the youngest age group, 18–29, the highest earners were also most likely to eat hamborgarhryggur: a smoked rack of pork. Top earners were more likely to serve turkey than any other group, at still a relatively meager eight percent.

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