Main Causes of Christmas Stress

With around half of our participants claiming to have become run down during the holiday period, we were curious to know the reasons why. What are the factors – both large and small – that contribute towards Christmas stress? In our survey, we asked the British public a series of questions to uncover which elements of the Christmas season left them feeling decidedly un-festive. The findings follow:

Results (respondents were able to choose more than one answer)

  • Shopping for presents – 50%
  • Costs of Christmas – 48%
  • Fatigue from busyness – 22%
  • Pressure from hosting – 12%
  • Dealing with high expectations – 22%
  • Pressure to find the perfect gift – 28%
  • Gaining weight – 16%
  • Loneliness – 6%
  • Getting rundown – 28%

Shopping is the Number One Cause of Christmas Stress

Unsurprisingly, it’s shopping that stands out as the number one cause of Christmas stress, with one in two participants listing it as a key factor. This really makes sense – most people go into winter unprepared – you know Christmas is around the corner but it still seems pretty distant – and then somehow, suddenly, it’s December – there are ten separate family members to buy for, your partner, and even the office Secret Santa needs sorting. You’ve been caught out. If you do manage to get into town, the experience of trying to do your Christmas shop with everyone else in the city can be traumatic, especially if you’ve left everything for a mad-post work rush, or worse, a weekend. Notice how 22% of those surveyed listed fatigue from busyness as a key cause of stress too. Fitting everything in at Christmas – work, parties, shopping – can be pretty tiring. Fatigue from business is a big concern amongst 29% of 55–64 year olds.

In 2nd place, with 48% of the votes, came the costs of Christmas. This goes hand in hand with shopping – costs tend to catch people off-guard, meaning November’s pay packet has to stretch seemingly five times more than usual, which would put strain on any budget, let alone the Christmas one. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to save for Christmas earlier in the year – but you get the sense that with more early planning, there would certainly be less Christmas stress. The stress of Christmas costs is highest with those in the 25–34 age bracket at 55% – possibly because people this age are more likely to be homeowners starting families, meaning that Christmas funds won’t go as far.

Also, the pressure to find the perfect gift causes stress for 28% of people. Shopping isn’t so bad when you know what you’re planning to buy. Finding the perfect present can cause undue pressure, which can then of course, cause stress – especially if your partner is known for producing the most thoughtful gifts.

Avoid Getting Run Down

You might not be able to avoid the pressures of shopping, but you can avoid getting run down – 28% of respondents said that the idea of getting run down caused them stress at Christmas. No one wants to get sick at Christmas time – there’s just too much to do – so make you’re getting plenty of much-needed rest in the festive period!

Long Queues in Stores Drive us Crazy

As well as looking into the broader factors behind Christmas stress, we also wanted to know about the smaller annoyances. What are the little, fiddly things that get to us during the Christmas period? We gave our respondents a list of irritating Christmas factors and asked them to choose the ones that wound them up:

Results (respondents were able to choose more than one answer)

  • Long queues in stores – 50%
  • Wrapping presents – 26%
  • Cooking Christmas dinner – 21%
  • Putting up the tree and the lights – 16%
  • Excessive Christmas songs – 20%
  • Sending cards – 18%
  • Hangovers – 10%
  • Christmas number one talk – 10%

Long queues in stores take half of our respondents’ vote – this goes hand in hand with Christmas shopping being a key cause of stress. There’s nothing worse than trying to hurry through town to get your shopping out the way, only to find yourself faced with an impossible queue to escape with your goods. Other small annoyances include wrapping presents, with 26% of the vote, and sending cards with 18% – the things you maybe have to do at Christmas, without ever really wanting too.

And it turns out, some people just can’t get on board with Christmas music. One in five of our respondents get driven up the wall by excessive Christmas songs, which are, to be fair, inescapable during December. But it’s only one month, so try not to let it get you too down!