MORE than 3.2 MILLION adults in the UK will be hosting their very first Christmas Day this year, according to new research.
And a quarter of these nervous ‘first timers’ have already spent MONTHS researching, planning and preparing for the big day.
Despite looking forward to having people round, six in 10 people admit to being ‘nervous’ and ‘worried’ about being in charge of the most important day of the year.
The biggest worry for four in 10 is the cost of the whole affair, while burning the food is the second cause for concern.
Other anxieties dampening festive spirits include not owning a big enough table for everyone to sit around, having to cook the entire Christmas dinner and what type of alcohol to buy.
When it comes to affording the big day, two third of ‘first timers’ are shocked by how much Christmas is costing – as they estimate they’ve already spent in the region of £650.
Stacey Stothard, spokeswoman for Skipton Building Society, which conducted the poll of 1,000 people hosting Christmas for the first time this year, said: “Hosting your first Christmas is a big deal, something not helped by all the TV chefs making it look so easy.
“What’s more, it’s likely that your guests will be those people whose hospitality you have enjoyed on previous Christmas days.
So you not only want to return the favour – but to give them the best Christmas you can. As a result the pressure can build – together with the list of things that could go wrong.”
The study shows ‘first time hosts’ are spending over two and a half hours a day worrying about holding Christmas at home.
With an average of six mouths to feed, it is no wonder these people are having sleepless nights about forgetting something essential like cranberry sauce, having enough nibbles and creating the perfect pig in blanket.
In addition, these brave Brits are worrying for hours on end about making the house look decorative enough, not getting all the timings right, and people enjoying themselves.
One in 10 are most concerned about having to tolerate certain family members for a whole day – and surprisingly a third are more worried about impressing their partner than anyone else.
Two thirds have already resigned themselves to a night without sleep on Christmas Eve, and many aim to get up before 7am to ensure they have enough time to prepare.
When it comes to planning for Christmas Day, 45 per cent of Brits have written endless lists, a third have conducted much of their research online and a fifth have even had practice runs on cooking certain aspects of the dinner.
Other preparations made in advance of the 25th include investing time in hand-making decorations, buying in lots of Christmas games and sending emails to guests to get advance orders for food and drinks.
But some of the most important preparations to be made before Christmas are financial – as three quarters of people polled claim they have been getting money together for months.
A third of ‘first timers’ have been putting money aside each month, while 27 per cent have have buying things towards Christmas on a monthly basis to spread the cost.
Twelve per cent of those polled have been forced to take out a credit card to cope with the costs and 14 per cent have cut back on other luxuries for a few months.
Stacey Stothard, for Skipton Building Society, continues: “For those hosting the big day, there are a huge number of responsibilities which can take their toll. Add to that the financial burden Christmas can bring, and the magical occasion can start to seem like a festive flop.
“Finance is always going to be a big consideration at Christmas. Planning ahead, anticipating costs, and not burying your head in the snow is key to staying in control.
“For first time Christmas hosts, it can be quite a daunting experience. But take comfort that for the large majority of people, Christmas is a wonderful and joyous time of the year, and an occasion to relax with family and friends.”
Skipton researchers also questioned 755 adults who hosted Christmas for the first time LAST year, and while a third admitted the overall event cost far more than they were expecting, 89 per cent thoroughly enjoyed the whole affair and 45 per cent are hosting again this year.
Only a few mishaps were reported as affecting the smooth running of the day last year – 15 per cent of respondents said their guests turned up too early, and 16 per cent sadly felt they had no time to enjoy themselves.
A further one in 10 people struggled to fit everyone in, and the same percentage said their crackers were a let down.
Top 20 “worries” for first timers:
1. Being able to afford everything
2. Burning the food
3. Not having a big enough table for everyone to sit around to eat
4. Cooking the Christmas dinner
5. What type of alcohol to buy and how much
6. People enjoying themselves
7. Not being able to fit everything into the oven
8. That you have enough dessert on offer
9. How good the quality of the fit inside the crackers should be
10. Forgetting something essential like cranberry sauce
11. Having enough time to do everything
12. Not having any time to actually enjoy yourself
13. Not getting the timings right, so some food goes cold
14. Not cooking enough for everyone
15. The oven breaking
16. The mess you would be left with after the event
17. Making the house look festive and decorative
18. Creating the perfect in a blanket
19. Tolerating certain family members for a whole day
20. Having enough nibbles
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