Although Christmas Phobia may not be an officially recognised medical condition I, for one, know that the anxiety and panic induced by the arrival of Saint Nick are very real. Graham Price, a Chartered Psychologist and Stress Management Consultant, writes that a phobia is an “irrational fear that generates anxiety whenever we’re exposed to the thing we fear.” Christmas can be one of these fears except that it has not been named as such.
Common phobias include arachnophobia (a fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (a fear of confined spaces). There are numerous phobias which are less well known; did you know that politicophobia is a fear of politicians? Or that logizaomechanophobia is a fear of computers? While I can go to my therapist and tell them I am suffering from logizomechanophobia, can I really ask them for treatments for Christmasphobia?
Graham suggests that Christmasphobics may have developed their fear from a traumatic childhood event which coincided with Christmas; or a mild, yet recurring, disturbance such as family arguments endured annually during Yuletide.
All I want for Christmas this year – is an escape from Christmasphobia, something which Graham says is easily achieved. “Any phobia can be cured.”
If the phobia was triggered through a childhood trauma, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be the answer. Likewise, CBT can cure a phobia which has been perpetuated for many years through exposure therapy, a method of repeatedly exposing the patient to the feared trigger. In my case, I have been recommended to fully get into the swing of things this year – stop acting like Scrooge, eat my mince pies, send my Christmas cards, sing some carols and wait patiently for the jingle of sleigh bells in the snow.