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It’s that time of the year for people to start thinking about their Christmas preparation; whether that is buying presents and decorations, organising family reunions or planning the iconic Christmas dinner timings. The run up to the holidays can be emotionally and financially demanding, often having implications in people’s health and wellbeing. Leading comparison site Bingo Sites conducted an independent survey of over 1,000 UK residents to find out what the true cost of Christmas actually is when it comes to staying healthy over the festive period.


The survey looked at individual’s attitudes, priorities and behavioural changes regarding the Christmas period, with some interesting results. In order to cope with the financial burden of Christmas, over 50% of respondents have to make adjustments to their lifestyle, with 30.6% cutting back on luxury items and, shockingly, 12.1% having to cut back on essentials in order to make ends meet. Unsurprisingly, 38.9% admitted to their psychological health being negatively affected by the holidays, with difficulty sleeping (47.2%), feeling sick or anxious (30.9%) and change in appetite (26.3%) the most common effects on health and wellbeing.

Respondents quoted buying presents their family would love (35.7%) and the financial implications of Christmas (35%) as the biggest cause of stress in the lead up to the annual holiday. It therefore comes as no shock that that value for money is the biggest concern when it comes to buying Christmas presents, with a staggering 69.3% stating this as their priority.  

Although many experience stress over Christmas, 58.4% said that their primary emotion when it comes to Christmas is excitement, with only 20% putting stress first. This shows that despite the cost, most people do enjoy and look forward to the holidays. Most people surveyed have developed effective coping methods for dealing with Christmas related stress; 73.7% rely on their family and friends support network during this period, while 46% use the TV or reading to unwind during the run up to the 25th.

According to the survey, most people will have started their Christmas shopping within the last two months. However, an astonishing 23.9% will be leaving present buying until December. Perhaps not so shockingly, it is more likely to be men who leave this until last minute.


Top Tips for Avoiding Stress During the Christmas Period:

–          Have realistic expectations of how much you can fit in over the coming weeks. It is okay to turn down plans, especially on weeks when you are already busy.

–          Plan ahead; from the timings of Christmas dinner, to the people you need to buy presents for, create a list which can be ticked off as and when you complete tasks. This makes your jobs seem much more manageable and prevents last minute panic when you’ve forgotten something.

–          Avoid caffeine. Not only does this produce cortisol, the fight or flight hormone, it can disrupt your sleeping pattern, particularly if you are already stressed!

–          If you have a large family, suggest doing Secret Santa among the adults or agree on a budget for presents to keep costs to a minimum.

–          Take up exercise or meditation to help manage stress. Taking up walking or downloading a free meditation or hypnosis app can help to manage stress without adding to the cost of Christmas.

–          Shop online to avoid Christmas queues. Use cashback sites or search for online voucher codes to reduce the cost you pay for presents.

Avery Parker