‘There’s no place like home’ this Christmas.  So say 61% of people in Ireland after being surveyed for leading travel and leisure website, lastminute.com. Respondents shunned snow-capped destinations and sunny beaches in favour of the Emerald Isle when asked where they’d like to spend Christmas this year.

Not surprisingly, the infamous New York Christmas shopping trip, a luxury of the Celtic Tiger years, is no longer the big attraction it once was.  Plans to visit the Big Apple have fallen by half. As would be expected, the most popular reason for not indulging in this extravagant splurge this year is that respondents don’t have enough money, with 62% stating this.   And in a thumbs up to buying locally the main reason given by 23% was that they’d prefer to do their shopping here in Ireland.

The home-cooked Christmas meal wins out with only 2% stating they would be spending Christmas day in a hotel here or abroad. 52% will celebrate it in their own house while 36% will spend it with parents. The age-old Irish son-mammy relationship does not seem as strong as it once was.  Females are more family-orientated, with 43% planning on spending Christmas with their parents as opposed to only 26% of males.

The festive feel-good factor is alive and well with only 3% saying they found Christmas stressful and a time for potential family fights.  A large majority- 69%- described their Christmas as ‘family fabulous’ and filled with family, friends and, of course, food.  There were however a few party poopers amongst us with 1 in 5 saying Christmas in their house was nothing special, split evenly between men and women.

Traditional ways came into play again when respondents were asked their preference for online or in store shopping for Christmas gifts. Three quarters of those surveyed say they will visit a shop to do their Christmas shopping, as opposed to buying gifts online. Most likely to shop online are those aged 35-44, with a third stating they will do so.  Men seem to be putting some planning into their present buying this year, and not leaving it until the eleventh hour, with 26% saying they will be more likely to shop online (or maybe that’s just because it’s less hassle!).

On a sadder note 65% of those with a family member living abroad will not get to see them for Christmas. The most common place for respondents to have relatives is in the UK with 34% stating this.  For those aged 18-24 almost a third have a family member living is Australia.

Commenting on the survey, lastminute.com spokesperson, Carey Withey had the following to say:

“This survey shows that people in Ireland are returning to more traditional ways at Christmas and it’s lovely to see. Home appears to be the only place to be at this time of year and family is top priority.  At lastminute.com HQ, these results mirror how we feel as we all look forward to heading back to our respective hometowns for Christmas.  I’ll be making my way back to Mayo and really look forward to spending time with family and friends.”

For information on lastminute.com and to search and book a selection of great travel and lifestyle offers, please see www.lastminute.com.

Note: The lastminute.com survey was conducted by Irish survey company, iReach, and polled 1,000 people nationally during the week of October 25th.