The most stressful things about Christmas?

Wrapping presents, the big December food shop, and losing gift receipts have been named among the most stressful…

“Christmas is a magical time, but a lot of festive admin is required to bring it to life. We absolutely understand the pressures and find we get a lot of last-minute bookings for our festive and January breaks because people are so keen to unwind – before and after.” – Simon Thompson, managing director of Warner Leisure Hotels, which commissioned the research

A poll of a selection of UK people revealed almost half of Christmas-celebrating adults ‘dread’ the festive period, with buying meaningful gifts the trickiest thing about the season. Pleasing everyone and cooking dinner for the family is considered stressful for one in five adults, while putting up decorations, keeping presents hidden and a lack of exercise also feature on the list.

And tensions are at their highest in the third week of December. However, two thirds (66 per cent) said that the festive stress was worth it in the end – and 44 per cent even said Christmas day itself was the happiest day of the year.

The study also found one in 10 respondents felt organising Christmas was more stressful than moving house – while 21 per cent thought sorting out finances was easier. For 34 per cent, the amount of money they will spend over Christmas was the biggest worry.

And nearly a quarter (23 per cent) cited putting on weight with endless boxes of chocolate and festive meals as one of their biggest stressors. Despite all the hassle, just under a fifth admitted they will secretly enjoy all the chaos of the Christmas build-up.

“We hope people remember to take some time for themselves at some point during the festivities.” – Simon Thompson

To beat the festive rush, nearly half of respondents said they start planning December 25th ‘way in advance’, with one in 10 even beginning their preparations in the summer. But the majority will start planning the big day in the first week of November, according to the OnePoll research.

Despite the careful planning, Brits will forget an average of two key elements – with some forgetting as many as 10. More than one in 10 (13 per cent) will forget to bring in extra chairs so everyone can sit own, while one in five won’t remember wrapping paper.

Another 28 per cent will forget to post out Christmas cards until it’s too late, leading to a scramble to hand-deliver them.

“It’s all worthwhile in the end. We suspect many people wouldn’t have it any other way – and being able to relax at the end of the day with a glass of sherry, knowing all the work is done, is a wonderful feeling.” – Simon Thompson, managing director of Warner Leisure Hotels, which commissioned the research


1.           Buying presents

2.           The amount of money that is spent overall

3.           Pleasing everyone

4.           Doing the big food shop

5.           Having enough money to last you through December

6.           Wrapping presents

7.           Putting on weight

8.           Running out of time to do everything

9.           Cooking the dinner in general

10.         Saving enough money throughout the year to afford it all

11.         Getting timings of the Christmas dinner right

12.         Visiting family

13.         Hosting Christmas Day

14.         Juggling Christmas preparations with work

15.         Shops running out of food and drink

16.         Untangling the Christmas lights

17.         Putting up decorations

18.         Where to have Christmas dinner

19.         Keeping presents hidden from loved ones

20.         Making sure there is enough food for everyone

21.         Having to attend lots of social events

22.         Spending time with the in-laws

23.         The lack of exercise you do

24.         Remembering to send cards to loved ones

25.         Finding a place to hide presents

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