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Tis’ the season to be frazzled: 1 in 6 want to go on holiday to escape the festive frenzy – and almost a third of Brits are exhausted by Boxing Day

December 11, 2017




  • New research from Klarna shows Christmas preparation takes its toll, with 1 in 10 wanting to cancel Christmas altogether
  • Shopping is a major source of stress – the average Brit spends 7.2 hours Christmas shopping, visiting 7 online retailers and 11 high street shops
  • Brits are using a range of hacks to make Christmas shopping easier, such as buying presents in January, doing a bulk online shop of presents, using alternative more convenient payment methods and doing a family secret Santa



Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives, according to new research from Klarna. The Swedish payment company is on a mission to make it smoother for people to shop online, by enabling people to order and receive products before paying, and to pay with just one click without entering any card details at retailers such as Topshop and ASOS.

The research into the views of more than 2,000 Brits found that a fifth of those surveyed feel stressed in the run up to Christmas throughout December. Respondents over the age of 44 admitted that for them, the happiest point of the festive season is when it’s all over.

With almost a third of us left feeling exhausted on Boxing Day, it’s unsurprising that in previous years 1 in 12 have decided to pack up and go on holiday over Christmas to get away from it all – and a significant 1 in 6 have wished they could follow suit and hop on a plane to escape.

Have a smoother Christmas

Psychologist and behavioural expert Honey Langcaster-James explains why it isn’t uncommon for people to feel stressed over the Christmas period: “We used to confine festivities to a more traditional and modest ‘twelve days of Christmas’ but now the season begins immediately after Halloween and extends over a long period full of preparation, organisation and celebration. This increases the sense of responsibility to make Christmas a big event and takes its toll on our emotional wellbeing. There’s a huge amount of pressure to make sure the run up to Christmas and the day itself are absolutely perfect.

“When it comes to all the preparation involved, having to battle the crowds, stand in long queues and increased spending can all impact upon people’s moods and stress levels, so finding a way to reduce stress and combat the pressure is key to making it through the festive season without becoming too emotionally frazzled. To help achieve a smooth Christmas, there are some simple things people can do, and the good news is that some Brits are already taking action to prevent festive stress.”

To combat the stress of Christmas shopping, Klarna is releasing its top tips to having a smoother festive season:

  • Create a plan; getting ahead by shopping early eliminates the last minute pressure. A fifth of respondents to the research already buy presents in January to eliminate pressure come December.
  • Avoid the crowds; online shopping is a great way to find exactly what you want without battling the crowds on the high street. Yet, only 12% of Brits do a bulk buy of presents to lessen the burden.
  • Let others help; enlist help from family and friends to make Christmas prep easier. It’s no surprise that it’s those over 44 years old that find Christmas most stressful as this is often where the burden falls!
  • Manage your budget; don’t allow Christmas spending to spiral, or worse, panic buy presents – use services to plan ahead and spread the cost. More than 1 in 10 Brits are already using alternative payment methods to help them make it through the Christmas period.
Shopping stress

Klarna’s research shows that despite visiting an average of 7 online retailers, 11 high street shops and spending an exhausting 7.2 hours Christmas shopping, it seems we’re not always getting it right; over half (57%) of people surveyed have been stuck with unwanted gifts they couldn’t return. The research reveals socks, kitchen utensils and ill-chosen underwear are among the most popular offenders, and in the most extreme cases – slug pellets, a coffin and even a live goat were all given as gifts.

Interestingly, it seems despite the gifts sometimes not hitting the mark, the research suggests that Christmas shopping is largely to blame for our heightened stress levels during the festive season. A quarter of respondents to our research said in store crowds were the biggest source of stress, whilst finding perfect gifts was the biggest stress for a fifth of respondents. As a result of this pressure, more than a third of us have previously walked out of a shop in frustration when it all gets too much. 16-25 year olds are the most likely to avoid the task and leave it to the last minute – with 23% admitting they have stayed up all night Christmas shopping online.

Managing stress, and budgets

The cost factor is also a major cause of stress, so finding ways to reduce this worry is crucial. In fact, 20% of people said help spreading the cost would make shopping smoother, and this rises to 31% of people aged 25 – 34 who would most appreciate help spreading festive spending.

Luke Griffiths, UK General Manager, Klarna which commissioned the research, commented: “Gift shopping for family and friends should be a pleasure, not a chore. But for many, the pressure we feel this time of year is getting the better of us, and Christmas cheer is being replaced by Christmas fear.

“At Klarna we’re on mission to ensure shoppers have a smooth festive season by making it smoother to shop online. This could mean paying later in January 2018 or simply buying with just one click. With the ability to pay later, people can reduce the strain and concentrate on enjoying the holidays.

“With careful planning, buying online and making the most of flexible payment options, Christmas shopping can become one less stress for busy Brits this year.”




Notes to editors


Klarna’s Smoooth Season runs from 5 December and means anyone purchasing with Klarna and using 30 days Pay later at participating stores can pay in 2018, with no interest or fees.  For more information visit www.klarna.com and to find retailers that offer Klarna’s Pay later visit klarna.com/shops-uk


Klarna’s research was a Survey of 2,000 consumers across the UK conducted by Censuswide in October 2017.


About Klarna

It’s all about smoooth (yes, with 3 ooo’s). Klarna is Europe’s leading payments provider and a newly-licensed bank, which wants to revolutionise the payment experience for shoppers and merchants alike. Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2005, the fintech unicorn gives online consumers the option to pay now, pay later or over time – offering a trusted, frictionless and smoooth checkout experience.

Klarna now works with 70,000 merchants, including Topshop, Arcadia and JD Sports in the UK, to offer payment solutions to more than 60 million users in Europe and North America. Klarna has 1,500 employees and is active in 18 countries.



For more information please contact: klarnateam@firstlightpr.com

Laura Eagar/Anna Lewis, 020 3657 7845