Are you looking forward to being a Christmas host? Serving delicious food, enjoying the company of family and friends, pulling crackers, wearing funny hats, presents under the Christmas tree and other fun-filled delights? It’s a time of joy and celebration, marking this special annual event.

Yet while many of us can view Christmas in a positive way, for some it can be a time of extreme stress and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are measures we can take to help ourselves enjoy the festive season rather than fearing it. Let’s explore just two of the typical issues that may arise during this time and give some tips to help foster a healthier mindset.

Connection, not perfection
It’s fine to want to create a perfect atmosphere where everyone can gather in a relaxed, comfortable way. But that doesn’t mean getting stressed over whether the house is spotlessly clean, the dining table is set out correctly with all matching cutlery and the decorations are put up with seamless coordination. Striving for perfection is guaranteed to heighten stress levels whatever the occasion. Instead, focus on making a list of ten simple but enjoyable things you want to include over the Christmas period. Games, songs, puzzles, recounting fond memories…there are many fun things to include – and none of them require perfection!

Culinary concerns
There’s usually a good spread of food served up on the Christmas table. And if you’re tasked with making it all, the fear of not meeting culinary expectations can be a significant source of stress. Will they find the food tasty? What about all the different food preferences nowadays? What if they think you’re a really bad cook? Again, instead of striving for perfection, focus on the joy of sharing a meal with loved ones. Christmas is not a Masterchef competition! The spotlight should be on having time together and the food is a pleasant bonus. Avoid anxiety by planning ahead and preparing dishes that allow you to enjoy the festivities without being overwhelmed. Find out in advance if there are any special dietary needs. Consider buying in ready-cooked food instead of burdening yourself with all the kitchen duties. And, of course, you can always go to a restaurant to eat.

If you think coping with stress and anxiety levels will be too much to deal with at Christmas and your own efforts aren’t working for you, it is wise to seek professional help. One of the most successful approaches to reducing stress levels is hypnotherapy. It is highly effective in managing anxiety, improving coping mechanisms, and promoting a positive mindset. A hypnotherapist can work with you to identify and address specific concerns related to the holiday season.

It is very important to ensure that they hypnotherapist you work with has the relevant qualifications to help you. At UKCHO, we are the umbrella body for hypnotherapy in the UK, representing the major hypnotherapy organisations. Their practitioners have all completed an accredited qualification and work to rigorous standards of conduct, ethics and practice.

You can find a list of UKCHO-approved hypnotherapy organisations (all will hold a register of hypnotherapists in your area) by going to

We wish you a happy and stress-free Christmas.

James Hammond
On behalf of the Directors of UKCHO