How festive are you feeling?
In December, our lives are dominated by Christmas. That, at least, is what TV, internet and high street window displays would have us believe. In the interests of glimpsing the truth behind the tinsel glitz and Christmas muzak, OPP carried out a survey a few years ago to see how people approached the various elements of the festive season.
Our research panel shared with us their MBTI type, as well as their 16PF profile, enabling us to make some interesting insights. We also asked them to hazard a guess at that most tantalising of Christmas conundrums: Santa’s MBTI type! The ‘Research Panel’ was small – just 56 – but the results would seem to offer a fair snapshot of the love it/leave it festive dichotomy.
When do you decide what you’re doing at Christmas?
- Those with a Sensing and/or Judging preference tend to decide what they’re doing earlier.
- Those who said they leave it until later typically have Intuitive and Perceiving preferences.
- The 16PF questionnaire backs up this tendency – those who are high on Factor M (Abstractedness) tend to decide later, while those who are high on Q3 (Perfectionism), Global Tough Mindedness and Global Self Control tend to decide earlier.
What do you like to do on Christmas Day?
There were some relationships between personality and these activities:
- Intriguingly, those with a partner who has a Sensing preference were more likely to ‘get a little tipsy or worse for wear’ than those with an Intuitive partner, which may be related to respondents’ views on the stress and hassle associated with Christmas. A Sensing partner may give you lots of detailed instructions, when all you want to do is to relax!
- People with a Judging preference are more likely to have family or friends visit, perhaps because this generally requires more planning ahead.
- Introverts are more likely to kiss under the mistletoe than Extraverts.
Those with a preference for Extraversion and for Judging are more likely to listen to the Queen’s Speech. This may be because decisive extraverts (EJs) are seen by others as natural leaders and so may appreciate leadership as embodied by the Queen.
- Those who, on the 16PF questionnaire, scored highly on Impression Management were less likely to argue (or, at least, to admit it).
- Those who were higher on Tension (Factor Q4) were less likely to go to bed early, possibly being too ‘wired’ by the excitement of the day!
What does Christmas mean to you?
- The results showed no relationships between the respondents’ personality and their views on the meaning of Christmas.
- However, those whose partner had a Sensing preference were more likely to mention the negative aspects (stress, etc), while those whose partner had an Intuitive preference were more likely to mention holidays.
- Women were more likely than men to put emphasis on the religious meanings.
So how much do we actually enjoy Christmas?
Respondents were asked to state, on a scale from 1 to 10, how much they were expecting to enjoy Christmas. The average score was 7.42, with 82% of respondents choosing 6 out of 10 or better. In other words, most of us do seem to enjoy the festivities. Those who believe they will enjoy Christmas:
- Are less likely to mention stress, hassle, etc, as part of the meaning of Christmas and more likely to mention family, togetherness and friends
- Are likely to be involved with cooking the Christmas dinner
- Have already finished the Christmas shopping
- Are more likely to have bought cards linked to a charity
- Are more likely to have a display of Christmas cards and some ‘natural’ decorations
- On Christmas day, are more likely to have too much too eat, get a little tipsy and go for a walk – and less likely to go to bed early
Our survey suggests that although there is no one personality type, or combination of personality traits, that enjoys Christmas more, a number of factors play their part in the love it/leave it dilemma.
As for that million-dollar-question about Santa’s MBTI type… almost half the respondents suggested he is an ESFJ. The type table at the top of this blog shows how people cast their votes. People of type ESFJ tend to have an outgoing nature and an understanding what others need, and work best in an environment that fosters a family-like atmosphere: essential attributes for the man with several million kids on his Christmas list!