Christmas Chaos: the Most Stressful Moments of the Big Day Revealed!

06 December 2022

Stress levels on Christmas Day reach boiling point by 9:37am when the enormity of the day sinks in, according to research.

A poll of 2,000 adults who celebrate the festive season found four in 10 find the big day stressful – with getting the lunch timings spot on causing the biggest fluster.

Worrying someone might say something controversial at the dinner table is a pinch point for one in five and for 19 per cent the annual grilling by relatives about their love lives makes them fret.

But for some, the prime moment of festive anguish comes when the Christmas Eve hangover reaches its peak.

Despite this, the research commissioned by i heart Wines, also found it is at 9:37am when revellers will pop the cork on their first glass of bubbles or pour themselves a glass of wine on the big day – as 62 per cent admit normal food and drink rules fall by the wayside.

And with the average Christmas Day prep starting 14 days in advance – it takes only until 10:02am for many of these best laid plans to have gone out the window.

The wine brand has also created a head scratching puzzle which challenges readers to find their favourite tipples among a scene of Christmas chaos.

Dani Buckley from i heart Wines said:

“Putting on the ‘perfect’ Christmas can be incredibly stressful, so why not just embrace the chaos.

“Some of the best and funniest Christmas memories are made when things start to go awry – from that one member of the family who has too much too soon, to someone mentioning Santa might be somewhat of a fabrication.

“That’s why it is so important everyone remembers this Christmas to not fret over the imperfections and just enjoy their unique – or totally wacky – festive traditions to the fullest.”

The research found for more than three-quarters (76 per cent) there are typically some sort of mishaps in their homes at Christmas.

With the most common being price tags left on pressies and forgetting key Christmas dinner staples.

And many have suffered the anguish of gather around for a movie with their parents and having to endure a painfully awkward sex scene.

What’s more, 57 per cent even believe many people only put the ‘good’ parts of their day on social media so their family life appears more perfect.

While celebrating real and authentic festivities is most important for 44 per cent.

Relief is the most common feeling people experience once the big day is over, followed by happiness – but 26 per cent just feel exhausted when everything is said and done.

Overall, 19 per cent believe they have ‘mastered’ putting on Christmas celebrations, with 29 per cent recognising they are a few steps below that elite level.

Yet, one in three rate themselves as average at getting prepped for the festive season, the research conducted via OnePoll revealed.

Of those who have reached the pinnacle of putting on Christmas – on average they hit their perfect stride upon turning 30.

Getting the timings for Christmas dinner is ranked as the hardest part of the day to master, with many also saying it is difficult not to stress when this does go amiss.

But 17 per cent simply find the hardest part of the day to perfect is by not personally overindulging.

Dani Buckley from i heart Wines added:

“Building up to the big day, we all have visions of sparking decorations on the towering green tree, crisply wrapped presents, and an immaculately laid dinner table.

“But when push comes to shove, many of us have to make some sacrifices to this idyllic idea of Christmas.

“And after the stress of getting everything sorted, it is always important to find plenty of time to put your feet up with your favourite tipple.”


  1. Midway through cooking, and stressing over getting the timings right
  2. Serving Christmas dinner
  3. Cooking a special festive lunch
  4. The moment you have to start preparing Christmas dinner
  5. Realising you’ve overcooked something while cooking
  6. Sneaking into kids’ rooms after midnight to place stockings – and worrying they might wake up
  7. Worrying that someone around the dinner table will say something slightly too controversial
  8. Family members quizzing you about your love or work life
  9. Making sure no presents are lost in the mountain of discarded wrapping paper
  10. Trying to get people to eat a proper breakfast
  11. Making sure everyone doesn’t drink too much
  12. Being negatively compared to a high achieving sibling or cousin
  13. First thing in the morning when everyone is waking up
  14. The Christmas Eve hangover reaching its peak
  15. Spilling wine over your perfectly set table
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