Millions of ‘emergency chairs’ to be used on Christmas Day

Many people will find themselves perched on an 'emergency chair' this Christmas.

Research has shown that British families are set to use over four million so-called ‘emergency chairs’ this Christmas day, prompting furniture retailers to report a rise in sales the run-up to the festive period.

A massive total of 4.3 million people are expected to tuck into their Christmas turkey perched on an emergency chair, the name given to additional seating not usually found at the dining table that’s drafted in to cope with extra guests.

The research by online retailer The Furniture Market, found that nearly a quarter of families will use at least two emergency chairs, while some will use as many as six substitute seats.
This has led to a mini-boom in sales of seating of all kinds in December as Christmas hostesses seek ways to accommodate their festive guests.

This extra seating comes in all shapes, sizes and forms, with thousands of households turning to armchairs, stools and even garden furniture to accommodate the uncle no one even really likes and the neighbour who decides to pop round uninvited at the last minute.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without sitting down for the turkey at various heights around the dining table, with Aunty Sheila balanced on a barstool at one end and a second cousin having to reach up to his plate from the depths of an armchair at the other. This will be the scene for more than one in ten families this December.

Over 25 per cent households go one step further than this in their commitment to hosting more guests than their table is designed for and bring in garden furniture for the occasion.
Robert Walters, dead of e-commerce at The Furniture Market, comments, ‘Christmas is the main time of year for the phenomenon that is the emergency chair. It’s a time when families come together and suddenly you have to host far more people than you do at any other time of the year.

‘The emergency chair is quintessentially British, everyone can relate to it and everyone at some point will have got the short straw and been made to sit on the bar stool, looming over everyone else at the table.’

The study of 1,000 people also finds that Northerners use more additional seating than their Southern counterparts. Despite this, it is a south coast city in the form of Portsmouth that can lay claim to being the emergency chair capital of the UK.

Children are the most likely to be allocated an emergency chair at the dining table, according to The Furniture Market, with siblings next in the pecking order. However, grandparents needn’t worry as they’re the last choice when it comes to giving out substitute seating places.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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