’Tis the season to tell porkies

December 15, 2012

Pretending to love presents, passing off shop-bought mince pies as home made and covering up antics at the office Christmas party are just some of the “festive fibs” that Brits will tell this Christmas.

A study of 2,000 people by The Co-operative Food shows that, on average, people will tell at least three little porkies over the festive period.

A staggering 58 per cent of people confessed to pretending to like a present they actually hated, and four in 10 (38 per cent) claimed to adore a gift, only to take it back to the shop, sell it, put it on eBay, or re-gift it as soon as possible after the big day. Interestingly, women are far more likely to return or sell an unwanted present, with 47 per cent admitting to doing this compared to 28 per cent of men.

A quarter of people (24 per cent) said they have forgotten a Christmas present for a family member or friend, and then fibbed to them about it to avoid any embarrassment.

Food is at the heart of many people’s festive fibbing, with 14 per cent of respondents saying they’d served up pre-prepared Christmas dinner items, such as pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon) and goose-fat roast potatoes, and then claimed they were made from scratch.

On a similar note, 12 per cent of those surveyed admitted to purchasing shop-bought mince pies or Christmas cake and then pretending to have made them. 

In a bid not to offend anyone on Christmas Day, some 16 per cent of people said they’d been forced to eat two Christmas dinners in one day to avoid upsetting friends or family.

The office Christmas party also seems to bring out those little white lies, with 12 per cent of workers admitting to fibbing to cover up their “merry” antics.  At the opposite end of the scale, one in 10 people said they’d embellished the truth about what happened at the work’s do to make it sound more exciting. However, 40% of those surveyed said they’d feigned illness to get out of the work’s Christmas party - the miseries!

Kate Jones, Head of Product Development at The Co-operative Food, commented: “Many of the porkies people tell over Christmas are told with the very best of intentions, and often to help ensure the smooth and happy running of this joyous, but stressful, festive season. 

“With a store in every UK postal area, we’re on hand to help our customers out of a few yuletide pickles, including last-minute presents for ‘forgotten’ guests, and, if they want to pass off our pre-prepared roast potatoes as their own, then their secret’s safe with us!”

Additionally, 11 per cent of people questioned have had their presents professionally gift wrapped and then pretended to family and friends that the beautifully-adorned gifts were wrapped by themselves.

In terms of age groups, the 25 - 34-year group are the most likely to tell fibs over Christmas, the nationwide survey discovered.

For details of The Co-operative’s festive range and local stores, shoppers can visit www.co-operativefood.co.uk or contact The Co-operative Customer Careline on (freephone) 0800 0686 727.

Additional Information:


  • Pretended to love a present which was awful
  • Pretended you didn’t want anything for Christmas
  • Lied about feeling ill to get out of a Christmas party
  • Claimed to love a present, and then re-sold, re-gifted, taken it back to the shop
  • Lied about enjoying Christmas 
  • Forgotten a family member or friend’s present and lied to cover up
  • Lied about your social calendar to get out of the work Christmas do
  • Pretended to be super organised in the lead up to Christmas
  • Eaten two Christmas dinner in one day to avoid upsetting anyone
  • Passed off pre-prepared Christmas dinner items as home-made
  • Lied about the number of Christmas party invites, to look more popular
  • Lied to cover up Christmas party antics
  • Passed off shop-bought mine pies and Christmas pudding as home-made
  • Pretended to be a vegan or a vegetarian at a Christmas dinner party to get out of eating what was served up
  • Had all presents wrapped in-store and then claimed the credit for the wonderful wrapping
  • Embellished the truth about what happened at the work Christmas party to make it sound more exciting
  • Bought an outfit for a Christmas party, worn it, and then taken it back to the shop
  • Pretended to the children that it wasn’t Christmas Eve, to get a good night’s sleep
  • Pretended to go to Midnight Mass
  • Pulled a sickie at work to attend a child’s Nativity play    

The study of 2,000 British adults was carried out via www.OnePoll.com between 29 November and 9 December 2012.