Catching a cold, working late and presents not turning up are among biggest festive dampeners, survey reveals

CATCHING a cold, presents not turning up on time and having to work late on Christmas Eve are among the most common things to get in the way of the nation’s festive spirit.

A study of 2,000 UK adults who celebrate Christmas found almost half – the equivalent of 26 million people – have had their festivities impacted by non-Covid related obstacles in the past.

And one in 10 claim they have never had an incident-free Christmas.

This year, however, the nation is adopting an ‘unstoppable’ attitude when it comes to celebrations, with 83 per cent planning to employ creative tactics to ensure their festive spirit isn’t dampened.

These include simply ‘laughing about it’ (33 per cent), going for a walk (31 per cent) and watching Christmas movies (31 per cent).

And some plan to adopt a more energetic approach to overcoming any obstacles this season, with a fifth hoping to dance to Christmas songs, and one in six even intending to do a workout.

The research was commissioned by Tesco to coincide with the release of its Christmas campaign which celebrates that the festive season is officially back after the disappointment of last year – and in keeping with the iconic Queen track its advert is set to, nothing is going to stop the nation from enjoying festivities.

It also found that when it comes to maintaining their festive spirit when things haven’t gone to plan, the equivalent of 3.7 million people in the UK have staged a ‘light switch on’ at home when forced to miss the local one.

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While 4.3 million have hosted a Christmas party at their house to make up for missing the work celebration.

A further 3.7 million have improvised and covered spills on their festive outfits with novelty accessories such as baubles and bows.

And when faced with a broken heel while celebrating, more than 3 million people in the UK have broken off the other one and carried on dancing.

The aspects of Christmas that bring the nation the most joy were named as eating Christmas dinner (51 per cent), decorating the Christmas tree (41 per cent) and everywhere being covered in lights and decorations (41 per cent).

Chocolate oranges (22 per cent), mince pies being in the shops (21 per cent) and cheeseboards (29 per cent), were also among the top things that bring the most joy at Christmas.


1.            Catching a cold in the lead up to the big day        

2.            Presents they ordered online not arriving in time for the big day

3.            Getting stuck working late on Christmas Eve

4.            Not being able to get hold of the festive food items they wanted

5.            Having to untangle the Christmas lights 

6.            Being unable to leave the house due to bad weather e.g. snow or heavy rain        

7.            Running out of wrapping paper and not having time to buy any more      

8.            The 'dream gift' being sold out  

9.            Not getting the present you wanted       

10.          Friends and family not liking the presents you bought for them  

11.          Not enjoying the Christmas meal      

12.          Having to spend Christmas Day in A&E

13.          Bars/restaurants being too full to find a table reservation                 

14.          Having to deal with a work emergency on Christmas Day                       

15.          Having a power cut on Christmas Day     

In light of the research findings, and to reward those who have demonstrated an ‘unstoppable’ festive spirit, Tesco will be giving away cash prizes across its social channels today.

The supermarket will be calling on people to nominate their own ‘unstoppable’ Christmas heroes on its Facebook and Instagram channels ahead of the weekend, for the chance to win £200 to cover the Christmas shop.

Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer at Tesco, said: “We know that Christmas is a hugely important time for many of our customers and it is clear from our research that the nation’s determined spirit will ensure we’ll make the most of it this year, no matter what.

“We want to celebrate this and let the nation know that whatever comes our way this December, Tesco will be here to help everyone have a fun and joyful Christmas period.”


1)            Laugh about it   

2)            Go for a walk     

3)            Watch a Christmas movie            

4)            Eat festive chocolate/a selection box      

5)            Sing along to Christmas songs    

6)            Take deep breaths          

7)            Eat a mince pie 

8)            Watch a Christmas episode of my favourite TV show       

9)            Dance to Christmas songs                    

10)          Do some exercise

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