Festive fallouts for couples across the UK

18th December 2013 

The average couple will have seven squabbles or arguments over Christmas, a new study has revealed. 

Working out who to visit on Christmas Day and deciding what amount to spend on one another are the topics most likely to spark a festive argument.

The study of 2,000 Brits carried out by mutual healthcare provider Benenden Health found the factors most likely to cause friction at the holidays are deciding who cooks the dinner, how much to spend on the kids and where to spend Christmas Day.

The detailed insight into the stresses of a modern Christmas found the most common sparks to cause arguments in the home over the holidays with washing up, partner’s drinking too much and family members working too many hours among the most sensitive factors.

While four in ten Brits confessed they usually have to bite their lip at the Christmas table, as stress overload in the run up to December 25th threatens to boil over when the big day rolls round.

Yesterday, Paul Keenan, Head of Communications at Benenden Health which commissioned the study, said: ‘’Stress can often mount over the Christmas period as many of us struggle to cope with our seemingly never-ending to-do lists. Financial worries can also become a major source of anxiety over the festive period - but it’s crucial that we try not to let issues build up without talking about them.

“All this stress can sometimes have a serious effect on our health and also on relationships with our loved ones – causing arguments and tension, which in turn leads to more stress. It’s a vicious cycle which we need to try to break by seeking help if stressful situations become too much for us to cope with and being open about the things which are worrying us.    

‘’The Christmas period is, for many of us, a time spent with family and friends and it’s important to not let stress get in the way of enjoying it.”

The study of 2,000 people also saw a third of people say the effort, money and stress that goes into Christmas wasn’t worth it.

It seems mounting stress really kicks in mid-way through December, with the 16th found as the average date for the stress to set in.

In fact, beyond the bickering and pressure to put on the perfect day, there lies a more serious warning – 44 per cent of the 2,000 studied said Christmas causes them genuine stress.

While a third said the festive holidays sometimes lead them to feel depressed.

43 per cent went as far as to say sometimes the thought of Christmas fills them with dread when it comes to the impact on finances.

And the same number feel pressured in to spending a certain amount of money on the celebrations, while more than half the parents polled say the pressure to keep up with what other parents are spending on their kids takes toll.

No surprises then that more than half regularly go over their budget.

That’s set to have repercussions - just under a third will put the majority of the Christmas spending on a credit card, while a tenth will risk mounting debt by whacking the whole event on the plastic.

Paul Keenan added: ‘’It’s particularly worrying to see that many people said that the Christmas period causes them to feel depressed and that they feel pressured into spending money. Worry and stress can have a serious impact on our wellbeing and so it’s really important we try to relax and enjoy the festive period as much as possible.”

Top 30 Festive Arguments

  1. Who cooks the Christmas dinner
  2. Where to spend Christmas Day
  3. Which family to visit
  4. How much to spend on other people
  5. Who does the washing up
  6. How much to spend on each other
  7. You or your partner having to work too much over the holiday
  8. Can't agree what movie/TV to watch
  9. Me or my partner picking at food before it's ready
  10. What presents to buy for the kids
  11. My partner drinking too much
  12. Who washes-up
  13. Whether to go out for Christmas dinner or stay at home
  14. The temperature of the house
  15. People arriving late on Christmas Day
  16. Whether or not to put Christmas spending on the credit card
  17. Who carves the turkey
  18. Who has to drive to a party/Christmas drinks
  19. No one helping Mum
  20. Not tidying up after opening presents
  21. Having to sit in traffic while on the way to visit people
  22. Old arguments being brought up
  23. Whether to get a real or fake tree
  24. My partner not helping out enough when we have to host people
  25. You or your partner staying out too late with friends and colleagues
  26. Ownership of the remote control
  27. Who decorates the tree
  28. What time to open presents
  29. Mum stressing over the Christmas dinner
  30. The cost of entertaining relatives

The survey was conducted by OnePoll on 22nd Nov 2013 on 2000 adults in the UK. 


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