'Swimming with sharks' more popular than spending time with in-laws... And other Christmas freak-outs

Surprisingly, what turns Christmas into a nightmare for many of us is not the idea of eating sprouts. We reveal the nation's top 10 festive freak-outs

Christmas tree in a living space with woodburning stove
(Image credit: Getty)

We know it’s the most wonderful time of the year and blah blah blah, but let’s be honest, Christmas can be really stressful. You're pretty much broke by mid-November, you have to cook an insanely large roast dinner, decorate your house so it looks like a blooming Christmas grotto and on top of all that have to spend a least 12 hours with your in-laws. 

It’s not therefore surprising that nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of Brits find Christmas at home a bit of a nightmare. A survey conducted by Google has in fact revealed exactly what it is about Christmas that stresses us out so much…

1. Finances 

Surprise, surprise. Money worries are top of the list when it comes to Christmas woes. Almost 25 per cent of those surveyed said that finances were the biggest problem ruining their festive fun. 

2. Not having time for yourself

We totally feel the 22 per cent of you who say you don’t think you have a enough me time over the holidays. All we can advise is plan ahead with our Christmas Countdown so you can factor in plenty of solo Baileys drinking time. 

3. Cooking the Christmas dinner

We know the feeling. Rather than enjoying a couple of bucks fizz on Christmas Eve morn, you’re peeling sprouts, chopping carrots, basting birds and wondering if you will have time to get the bread sauce out of your hair before your entire extended family turns up. It’s no wonder 22 per cent of Brits said the Christmas dinner causes them the most stress. 

4. Wrapping weirdly shaped presents

Because not all gifts are conveniently rectangular… 

5. Putting on weight

For the 20 per cent of you that fear piling on the pounds at this time of year, all we can say is it’s Christmas – you eat that mince pie for breakfast, you have that extra portion of stuffing and when someone asks you if you want another glass of mulled wine, you say 'yes please'. Overindulging is part of the joy of Christmas, you have the whole of 2019 to get back in shape.

6. Spending time with the in-laws

Perhaps a tad dramatically, 10 per cent of people surveyed said that they would ‘rather swim naked with sharks than spend Christmas with the in-laws’, unless your in-laws are the Trumps we can’t say we quite see how this could possibly be a better option.

7. Pretending to like presents 

Around 14 per cent of us are apparently very daunted by the thought of having to put on a cheery smile and say ‘oooh thanks so much auntie Lynne’, as you open yet another year's worth of lavender talc. 

8. Buying presents for people you rarely see

Want a hint? Just don’t do it. Or opt for a secondhand bottle of spirits that they probably gave you last year anyways. 

9. Decorating the house

We totally blame Instagram for this one, it seems like there has never been so much pressure to transform your house into Kate Winslet's country cottage of Christmas dreams (unfortunately minus Jude Law). 

10. Untangling the Christmas lights

It seems that when putting the lights away last January you never thought about poor future December you who will have to spend four hours in a losing battle with some never-ending bits of green wire. 

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.