It’s time to get excited about the Christmas charts again. No, not those charts. Christmas Custom Charts!
Just like last year (when we finally settled the debate as to whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie), we ran a series of Christmas polls on LinkedIn and the results are in.
But, we’re not about to serve up the stats without all the trimmings. Roast turkey won’t go down without some gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce. And numbers won’t go down without some flare and color and style. ‘Tis not the season to be boring.
Making Christmas dinner involves enhancing basic ingredients into something yummy and fulfilling. Data visualization does the same thing. It’s about taking the numbers and converting them into pretty graphics that are more palatable and engaging. And so, our Head of Customer Education and Custom Charts for Jira head chef Becky Schwartz has pulled out all the stops to serve up a feast for the eyes with some simply Santastic charts and graphs.
Sit back with a slice of Yule log and tuck in.
Worst Christmas songs (and how much we hate them)
All Christmas songs are a love ‘em or hate ’em affair, although there are definitely some out-and-out bad ones that deserve our hatred. For our first 2-part Christmas poll, we asked for votes on four controversial Christmas songs that often end up on ‘worst’ lists, and then we asked how much you hate them. This provided a second dimension to the data that allowed us to visualize it in the stacked bar chart above, which Becky has made with Custom Charts for Jira (you can’t even make bar charts in native Jira, let alone stacked ones).
You can see that the least hated is Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? Only 14% voted for this as the worst Christmas song, 67% of whom voted that they secretly love it.
I’m not massively surprised by this. The original 1984 version is a Christmas staple. Today’s ears balk at the ignorant and patronizing lyrics (apparently nothing grows in the whole of Africa, and there’s no water or rivers… Bob Geldof’s never heard of the Nile, obvs) and it’s basically a bunch of privileged people singing about stuff they know nothing about. But, hey, it has a nice tune.
We were surprised, however, that Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime didn’t get more hate. Only 15% of voters chose this one, and 50% secretly love it. Yet it’s the most simplistic and repetitive Christmas song in living memory. An otherwise reliable songwriter doing an enormous musical brain fart. Again, it’s become something of a Christmas staple, so maybe that’s the reason it didn’t rank higher, but no reviewer has better described the sentiment of many towards Wonderful Christmastime than Jeff Vrabel:
Five seconds of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” will compel me to light mistletoe on fire and rob mall Santas and punch reindeer and smash glass ornaments and speed-eat my son’s Legos and run around the neighborhood finding inflatable blow-up Santas and deflating them with a flaming screwdriver.
In second place is Michael Bublé’s Santa Baby with 18%, and only 20% of voters secretly loving it. Eartha Kitt’s original is rightly regarded as a classic, but it’s a song about a woman offering to fuck Santa if he brings her lots of stuff. So when he covered it, Bublé had to change those lyrics to make sure everybody knows he’s straight. Super-straight. Straight as straight can be.
As a result, Santa Baby becomes Santa Buddy and all the ‘girly’ gifts are swapped for more ‘manly’ ones. Instead of a sable fur, Bublé wants a Rolex. Instead of decorations from Tiffany’s, it’s decorations from… er, Mercedes? Is he hanging car fobs on his Christmas tree? Also, light blue is apparently a girly color, so that had to change to steel blue, because you know, it sounds tougher. And Bublé is a tough, manly, straight man, definitely not gay, okay?
Still, Bublé’s 2011 Christmas album as a whole is pretty beloved despite the awfulness of that particular song. Far more beloved, I suspect, than Justin Bieber’s Christmas album, also released in 2011. Bieber’s song Mistletoe is the clear winner of our poll with 53% of votes, and only 10% secretly loving it. (This is when a 2D stacked bar chart really comes in useful, because you can see clearly that it causes more eye-rolling and ear-bleeding than the other songs.)
Now this could be because a lot of people hate Justin Bieber and just can’t stand his annoying voice and slappable face at Yuletide. But Mistletoe is a bad song too, with trite lyrics about following his heart like the Wise Men followed a star and that he should be making a list but the mistletoe’s distracting him (First World problems, yo). With its cheap R&B and reggae beats, the song thinks it’s way cooler than it is. Most gag-inducing is Bieber calling his girlfriend “shawty” a dozen times. WTF does “shawty” mean? Well, Urban Dictionary says it best:
An idiotic term used by ass-hats to describe an attractive young female.
When present-opening happens
It’s clear that at Christmas, most of us have the patience of a toddler and can’t wait to get stuck into our presents the moment we’re awake. As you can see in the line chart above, an overwhelming majority (67%) of those polled said they open presents first thing Christmas morning.
The next biggest percentage (18%) are clearly more patient and will happily wait until after Christmas dinner before embarking on the big unwrap. I’m among this lot and, while patient is not a word anyone would use to describe me, ever, I have always waited, and will always wait, for my Christmas presents till later in the day.
Why? Because then the excitement of opening them carries through the day! If everything’s unwrapped by 9am, what’s left to look forward to? (I know, I know, I sound so materialistic, like the prezzies are all that matters. Yeah, sure, I love the rest too, but come on folks. Let’s not pretend that eating turkey and watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the upteenth time is more exciting than presents.)
We then have 12% opening presents on Christmas Eve, either because it’s their family, cultural, or religious tradition, or because they’re even more impatient than the Christmas morning-ers. And lastly, 3% open their presents on a different day entirely. This could be, for example, St Nicholas Day on 5th, 6th, or 19th December, or January 6th, aka the 12th day of Christmas.
Sprouts or eggnog?
I don’t think Brussels sprouts are many people’s favorite Christmas dinner item; they sorta end up on our plates because we expect them there, not because they offer a taste sensation. Sure, their roundness and greenness is pleasing, and you can tart them up with glazes, bacon, and chestnuts. But at the end of the day, they’re miniature cabbages. Never has someone looked at sprouts and thought, wow, that’s sex on a plate.
That said, I’m not surprised sprouts won over eggnog in this poll. Know what’s in eggnog? Milk, cream, sugar, spices, some sort of liquor (rum or bourbon being common), and… raw eggs. Yep. Raw eggs. In a beverage. Looking at the pie chart above, you can see why 64% of those polled would choose sprouts for a day over a potential bout of salmonella poisoning.
Although, the 36% who’d prefer to drink omelet ingredients by the gallon isn’t a small number, showing that this rather icky-sounding drink has its supporters. Hey, you do you.
Best place to spend Christmas
There’s no place like home and, as it turns out, there’s no place like home at Christmas. So said a whopping 53% of voters in our penultimate poll, which Becky has illustrated with a Christmas tree-shaped funnel chart. Either we’re all very traditional about our Christmases, or we just can’t be arsed to go anywhere (after all, everywhere’s shut apart from the pub!).
Coming in second was a log cabin somewhere snowy with 29% (clearly many of us still dream of a white Christmas) with only 11% choosing Barbados or somewhere hot (I guess most of us don’t mind the cold at Christmas! But, sure, in January and February, it can fuck off.)
7% chose somewhere it isn’t celebrated and gave us the ‘star’ on our funnel chart Christmas tree. This could be a cultural or religious choice, but equally could be that they’re fed up to the back teeth of elves on shelves and Mariah Carey. Talking of Mariah…
All I want for Christmas is…
… not mugs, apparently. Only 13% of voters would like Santa to add to their mug cupboard, according to our final poll. And most people’s sock drawers are pretty stuffed, too, with only 18% putting them at the top of their Christmas list. That said, socks ranked higher than mugs, probably because we all want to keep our feet warm this winter, since we can’t put any bloody heating on. #EnergyCrisis 🥶
Coming in second with 25% was a free license of the very app used to make the beautiful tile chart above: Custom Charts for Jira. With this app, you can do what Becky’s done and make all kinds of charts, rearrange segments and bars, customize colors, and add labels, descriptions, and festive emojis.
However, the clear winner, with 44%, was alcohol. This could say something about Old Street’s audience since, you know, we’re not exactly known for our sobriety. Or it could indicate global sentiment. 2022 has been something of a shitshow and I’m sure some of us would like to climb into a bottle of our favorite tipple to forget it.
Having said that, what has been great about 2022 is that with the world opening back up, Old Street has been able to attend and host lots of in-person events. As a fully and globally distributed team, we don’t get to see our colleagues, partners, and customers in the flesh often, so it’s magic when we do. And wonderful that we can again. *No, it’s not a tear, there’s a flake of fake snow on my eyelash*
Like last year, here’s a fabulously festive dashboard of all the charts we made out of our poll results.
Thank you all those who voted and please, everyone, have a merry Christmas hopefully spared of the Bieb singing to his shawty.
Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.