What’s the most stressful aspect of Christmas? The presents and the finances, say Brits

Isabelle KirkData Journalist
December 16, 2021, 9:09 AM UTC

How stressed are Brits feeling about Christmas this year?

Christmas can be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, but it can also be a drain on time, money and sanity. Those people with big families may worry about getting presents for an endless stream of relatives or having to visit family members they don’t particularly like. Putting up and taking down the Christmas tree, travelling across the country, braving the Christmas food shop – all of these Christmassy activities can cause undue stress.

As of early December, Brits didn’t appear to be feeling too much of the festive strain. Two-thirds (66%) of all British adults – including those who don’t celebrate Christmas – are currently not feeling stressed about Christmas.

Around a quarter (26%) say they do feel stressed about the festive season, including 5% who say they feel ‘very stressed’.

Men are feeling the strain less than women – a third (33%) of women say they are feeling stressed about Christmas, compared to a fifth (20%) of men.

Almost half of Brits who celebrate Christmas find buying presents stressful

According to Britons who celebrate Christmas, the most anxiety-inducing festive activities are thinking about what Christmas presents to buy (46% say it’s stressful), how much it costs to buy them (45%) and having to shop for them in the first place (44%). This puts present-buying on a par with the financial impact of Christmas in general (42% find stressful).

Around three in 10 Britons (29%) find shopping for Christmas food stressful. Cleaning up after Christmas dinner (18%) appears to be less stressful than cooking it (25%).

When it comes to seeing family, the same number find hosting stressful (24%) as having to see certain family members (24%). Travelling to see friends and family – admittedly rarer in pandemic times – causes anxiety for a fifth (21%) of Brits.

Around the same proportion of Britons who celebrate Christmas find putting up decorations stressful (21%) as taking them down (19%).

But good news for anyone who is worried about how their gift will be received on Christmas Day – dealing with unwanted presents is the least stressful aspect of Christmas, with just 12% saying it is stressful to deal with gifts they don’t want.

Men are less likely to help with the decorations or presents

Among British adults who celebrate Christmas, there is a gender difference among many yuletide activities.

Men are twice as likely to say they don’t put up Christmas decorations (17%) compared to women (9%), with a similar result for taking them down (15% of men say they don’t take down decorations and 9% of women).

Men are also twice as likely (13%) to say they don’t wrap presents as women (6%). Overall, one in 11 Brits who celebrate Christmas (9%) don’t wrap presents.

Likewise, while 9% of men say they don’t think about what Christmas presents to buy, just 4% of women say the same.

See full results here