Christmas stresses: managing the build-up to the big day

December 15th, 2023

Xmas stress

Christmas is a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. It’s full of happiness, seamless roast dinners, the exchange of perfect gifts, and families making memories.

At least that’s how it looks in films, in the latest John Lewis advert, and in the endless amount of festive marketing that seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year.

However the reality of Christmas can often be very different for many people, and in this series of blogs, we’ll be talking about the side to the festive season that often doesn’t get discussed.

The pressure to create the perfect day

The pressure to orchestrate a flawless celebration, complete with elaborately wrapped presents, a picture-perfect tree, and a meticulously planned feast, can be overwhelming, and this leads to many people feeling anxious, stressed, and sometimes even inadequate.

Because how will you ever live up to the expectations of those around you, and of society as a whole?

The truth is, a quest for perfection is always going to end in disappointment and you’re better off taking the pressure off yourself by focusing on just doing your best whilst also ensuring you prioritise self-care. Those that matter will not want you to burn-out under the pressure of trying to create the perfect day.

Dealing with family

Some families get on and that’s great.

But if you’re one of the many people dreading seeing certain relatives during this festive period, you’re not alone.

In fact, Christmas Day is one of the busiest days for police forces across the country due to the amount of calls they get to attend and mediate domestic disputes.

Setting clear boundaries, staying calm, and focusing on positive interactions can help navigate difficult family situations, but don’t feel bad for putting your wellbeing first by choosing to spend a limited amount of time with relatives who challenge your ability to feel content.

Because let’s be honest, life is too short to have to put up with Aunt Sally telling you for the 20th time how much weight you’ve put on since she last saw you, or dealing with that one family member who always drinks too much and gets violent.

Never feel bad for prioritising your happiness.

Money money money

Financial strain is a common source of stress during the festive period.

The pressure to buy gifts, decorate your home, and partake in festive activities can lead to overspending and the creation of financial burdens that can extend well into the new year.

The fear of disappointing loved-ones by not meeting their expectations or reciprocating their gestures adds an extra layer of anxiety.

All of this, coupled with the rising cost of living can make the build-up to Christmas a time of immense financial pressure.

To alleviate some of this worry, try and create a budget for gifts and festivities and communicate this early to family and friends. Not having to worry about impending bills can ease a lot of stress.

Remember you’re not alone

If the build-up to Christmas is causing you worry and anxiety, understand that you’re not alone.

Here at The Therapy Room, we get a lot of contact from people during the months of November and December as the feelings of stress and festive pressure begin to overwhelm them.

It can help to know that the dread and anxiety you feel as the big day approaches is shared by many others.

Speak to trusted family members and friends about your worries and you will probably find that some of them feel exactly the same.

Getting a bit of extra help to avoid xmas stress

Therapy can be a valuable resource for those struggling with Christmas-related anxiety as it offers people a confidential space to explore the root causes of the challenges they are facing and works to develop strategies which address and manage them.

Here at The Therapy Room, we can help you explore the negative thought patterns and beliefs that are contributing towards your festive stress and support you on your journey towards reframing your perspectives and developing coping mechanisms.

It’s essential to remember that getting a bit of extra help in the form of therapy is not a sign of weakness, and that seeking support is a courageous step towards better mental health.

Never forget that you deserve to feel happy.

Our therapeutic approach is based on the understanding that people are complex and lead complicated lives.

Tailored to your personal needs, we make a commitment to structuring and working for you as an individual.


Founder Jay L Pink Ad.Prof.Dip MBACP PC MNCS (ACC) established The Therapy Room to offer high quality, expert counselling and therapy services to people of all ages, as well as to couples for relationship and partner counselling and groups for corporate and family therapy. Jay’s commitment to anyone visiting The Therapy Room is to unconditionally respect values, lifestyle, background and beliefs, offering a discreet and professional service tailored to their needs.

Therapy is held either in-person at The Therapy Room in Northampton or online.

To organise a booking, please visit our bookings and payment page.