December 18, 2013 11:01 ET

Half of British Men Say Women Exaggerate the Stress of Christmas While A Third Think They Can Do A Much Better Job

Half of British women do not trust their other half to execute essential Christmas tasks

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Dec. 18, 2013) - Christmas is considered to be one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year. There are presents to be brought, the house needs a festive clean and decoration, a traditional Christmas dinner needs purchasing, cooking and serving to the whole family, and on top of all of this, there are the nagging financial worries on how to pay for the perfect Christmas. Despite the tiredness, family tension and financial pressure that this brings, nearly half (48%) of British men think women exaggerate the stressfulness of Christmas according to a new study by Travelodge.

Interestingly, despite the 270 hours women spend preparing for Christmas, over a third (39%) of men say that they would do a better job of hosting Christmas Day than their partner, and wouldn't get as stressed as they do.

These findings have been revealed in a new study out today by Travelodge who surveyed 2,500 adults across the UK to obtain their views on preparing for Christmas. Key findings from the study revealed that 87% of women claim men are clueless to how much hard work, patience and determination it takes in trying to create a perfect Christmas for loved ones.

Six out of ten (61%) British women say that the pressure of creating the perfect Christmas and spreading goodwill amongst family and friends makes this the most stressful time of the year. On average women spend 270 hours, which equates to over 11 days, preparing for Christmas.

Nearly half (48%) of women do not trust their partner to execute essential Christmas tasks and say that in the long run it's much easier if they just do it themselves - as they know it will be done correctly first time.

Detailed below is a breakdown on the total woman hours it takes to prepare for the perfect Christmas:

Task Hours
Researching and shopping 226
Wrapping presents 12
Cleaning the house 11
Decorating the house 4
Cooking Christmas dinner 5
Entertaining guests 8
Tidying up after Christmas 4
Total 270 hours

The study also revealed over the next seven days, 49% of women across the country will be suffering from high levels of 'Hostess Stressmas' as they worry that they will not be perceived to be a domestic goddess by their family and friends, and furthermore will be criticised for their bad hosting skills.

Listed below are a woman's big seven Stressmass concerns:

  1. Keeping guests entertained over the festive season
  2. Guests thinking the house is dirty
  3. Menu planning and cooking additional meals whilst guests stay over
  4. Keeping the conversation going
  5. Partner and children embarrassing them
  6. The state of the spare room
  7. Guest hearing partner snoring

So keen are women to impress their guests over the festive season that they will burn the candle at both ends, and survive on just five hours of sleep in order to create the perfect Christmas.

As a result of lack of sleep and the additional stress of Christmas, a third (35%) of women will experience a festive scary nightmare this week. The most common nightmare is being chased by a gigantic turkey around the house. The second most popular is being naked at the family Christmas meal and passionately kissing Santa is the third most common festive nightmare.

Listed below are the top ten most popular festive nightmares women will experience this week:

  1. Being chased by a gigantic turkey around the house
  2. Being naked at the family Christmas meal
  3. Passionately kissing Santa
  4. Eating too much food and putting on a huge amount of weight
  5. Having a showdown with the mother-in law
  6. Being attacked by a Christmas tree
  7. Burning the Christmas meal
  8. Being surrounded by elves
  9. Presents getting lost in the post
  10. Cooker breaking on Christmas morning

The research also revealed that on Christmas Eve a fifth of women, like Santa, will work into the small hours assembling new toys, making up stockings and conducting last minute preparations for the perfect Christmas for their family.

The poll also shows that the mother in law is the most dreaded Christmas guest, followed by mum, as both women 'know best' and will interfere with the day's planned proceedings. Sixty eight per cent of women said it really annoys them when their mother in law or mother tries to take over on Christmas day. Thirty one per cent of respondents said it makes them feel inadequate and a poor host.

A fifth (21%) of women said if it gets too much on Christmas day they will use the excuse of having a headache so that they can have a sneaky catnap.

Corinne Sweet, Relationship Psychologist said: "It's not only the turkey that gets overheated at Christmas, family flare-ups are inevitable, especially as people who seldom see each other are suddenly thrown together 24/7. Stressmass can be avoided, prepare yourself psychologically by lowering your expectations, Christmas can't be perfect.

"Take time-out every time you feel riled. Having a nap can work wonders, as people are especially niggly on not much sleep. Make space for yourself this Christmas (even a walk round the block can help), set boundaries with relatives and kids, and create some quiet 'me-time' to reflect on what the spirit of Christmas is really all about."

Further research findings revealed that a fifth (18%) of women have suggested their guests book into a nearby hotel instead of staying with them as planned, so that both parties can obtain some much needed space.

A quarter (27%) of women stated they enjoy Christmas more when guests stay for the day and do not sleep over. Another quarter (25%) of women said they don't like having guests stay over because they can't watch their favourite TV programmes.

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokeswoman said: "We have seen a growing trend for Britons to book themselves into a nearby Travelodge hotel when visiting family and friends over the festive season. Interestingly more hosts are now gifting a room stay as part of their Christmas present to guests. This helps alleviate the pressure for both parties and everyone can really enjoy the festive season without getting under the hosts feet. More importantly everyone gets to enjoy a good night's sleep which is essential after too much eating and partying."

Listed below are Corrine Sweet top tips to avoid Stressmas over the festive season:

  • Plan ahead, think of what might happen on the day and predict what problems may arise and develop solutions to avoid them happening.
  • Give your guests a choice, don't make people do things they don't want to.
  • Look for triggers that usually cause arguments and avoid them at all costs.
  • Share responsibility, allow others to help on the day and make them feel involved - especially children.
  • If an argument does break out, make the people involved aware of how it affects the rest of the family.
  • The most important thing is to relax and have fun, make your expectations realistic, appreciate the time spent together with your family.

Notes to editors:

The research was conducted in December 2013 with a sample of 2,500 British adults

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