Brits' Worst Christmas Icks

The UK’s biggest Christmas icks revealed

Ick is a term that has become increasingly popular in recent years with many people finding certain actions of their partner or someone they’re dating particularly cringy. But surely this doesn’t happen during the most wonderful time of year… right?

Well, we’ve decided to poll the nation to find out what things people do over the festive season that manage to give Brits the Christmas ick. Just keep on reading to find out more, and if there’s anything you might want to avoid doing yourself!

The top Christmas icks according to Brits

Coming out as the number one Christmas ick for 38% of respondents are the type of people who get drunk at the family gathering. Now, here at thortful, we’re all about celebrating big and understand that sometimes things can get a bit wild. However, surely, we can all agree that a family gathering is not the time and place for embarrassing drunken antics!

Next up on our list of Christmas icks is someone that doesn’t get on with your family, something which 34% of respondents voted for. Not necessarily limited to the festive season, it’s probably a year-round ick if someone doesn’t hit it off with those closest to you.

According to 18% of people, putting up the Christmas tree too early is bad enough to give them the ick. Obviously, this is one is a bit more subjective, and we are curious about what those people would class as being too early – the 1st of December or straight after Halloween?

Another thing that bothers 12% of Brits is someone who talks politics at the table whilst everyone’s trying to enjoy their Christmas dinner. Given that there’s so much else to talk about such as how delicious the food is and what presents you got, we’re not surprised to see this come up.

Rounding out the top five Christmas icks is being hungover on Christmas Day, something which is simply too much for 11% of respondents. So, if there is a certain someone that you’re trying to impress this Christmas, maybe don’t have too much Bucks fizz!

The UK's top 10 Christmas icks

Christmas dinner habits that give Brits the ick

Okay, so we can probably all agree that one of the most important parts of the day itself is Christmas dinner! With that in mind, it’s probably not surprising to discover that some people can get the ick about certain things that do or don’t manage to make it onto a festive feast plate.

Interestingly, one in 10 Brits would say that not having gravy with your Christmas dinner is an ick. Given that the alternative might be eating a dry turkey, it isn’t too shocking that people have such strong feelings about their gravy.

Next up, it turns out that a Christmas dinner with no vegetables is a big no-no for 8% of those we surveyed. This is followed closely by the fact that one in 20 can’t deal with someone who has tomato sauce with their Christmas dinner. The real question here is, apart from perhaps children, why would you ever opt for tomato sauce when you can have either cranberry sauce, bread sauce, or, of course, some beloved gravy?

On a more positive note, any Yorkshire pudding fans will be pleased to hear that having Yorkshire puddings on a Christmas dinner is only an ick for less than 1% of Brits – thank goodness!

Tips on how to impress the potential in-laws from an etiquette experience

Meeting your partner’s parents can be nerve-wrecking at any time, but this is only heightened during important family celebrations like Christmas. Not only that but our research only proves that there is a potential to give someone the ick through both actions and your Christmas dinner preferences.

That’s why we’ve spoken to relationship consultant, Mairead Molloy, for her top tips on how to approach (and ultimately impress) the potential in-laws at Christmas.

Why might we be nervous to meet a partner’s family at a gathering, especially at Christmas?

“Meeting parents at any time of the year is always a little stressful, however at Christmas the nerves may be heightened due to the significance of the time of holiday. You might also feel like you’re being evaluated while you’re there.

“The pressure to convey warmth and compatibility during a festive season, centred around family and being together, can intensify the usual concerns about making a positive impression. The fear of not meeting the expectations or fitting into family traditions can contribute also.

What can you do to make meetings a partner’s family at Christmas less nerve-wracking?

“Consider talking to your partner about their family dynamic before the event. Your partner might try to hide whatever stress they may be feeling about having you around their family, especially for the first time.

“Prepare yourself for small talk, offer to help in the kitchen, dress properly, and bring a gift as a small gesture.  Respect their way of doing things even though you may not agree with it – sometimes it’s best to say nothing! Also, put your phone away and relax. It can also help to chat to as many people as you can to find someone you click with, as this can help build relationships.

“Female expectations about events are sometimes a little different than male ones. Not vocalising your expectations in advance is a poor idea – talk to your partner about what you would like, expect, or need from them at the gathering. Make sure you are both on the same page before you arrive.”

“The key here is to maintain self-control and don’t have too much to drink. Make sure you go in with that mindset. There is nothing worse than having too much to drink and making a fool of yourself – no matter how nice everyone is.”

And there you have it, now you know more about what to be conscious of when trying to not give someone the ick over Christmas. If you’re interested in other common habits that Brits aren’t big fans of, we’ve actually already done a deep dive the UK’s biggest dating icks.

Perhaps this blog left you feeling all Christmassy? Ahead of the 25th, make sure you’re ready to send season’s greetings to everyone in your life by exploring our range of Christmas cards. Just have a peek at a few examples of what our creators have come up with below:

For more jolly articles like this including inspiration on what to write in a Christmas card and research into the most festive Christmas songs, head over to the thortful blog.


Survey of 1,500 Brits, conducted in November 2023 with TLF