back to article Boffins: Stress of family Xmas can cause fatal diseases

New research by biologists indicates that the stress of festive seasons spent with the family can lead to serious health problems. In essence, according to the latest study, stress response in the nervous system is actually designed for very serious situations such as battling Neanderthals or fleeing sabre-toothed tigers. For …


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  1. Hugh G. Rection

    Festive nightmare

    In my younger days it was a mandatory requirement that Christmas be spent at Mother's - with around 15 other people all crammed into her two-bedroomed flat. It was a total nightmare. I can vouch for the levels of stress associated with such cruel and inhumane treatment.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    You *can* run and hide

    > the various horrors about to befall us aren't ones that can be dealt with by running away and hiding

    Errr, 'scuse me - but that's exactly how I intend to spend christmas: hiding in the pub until I'm thrown out. Then wander home for a long snooze. Repeat as necessary until the telly returns to it's normal "quality" and the boss starts phoning to inquire why I'm not back at work.

    All I need then is a doctor's note explaining to the credit card companies why I should not pay off their balances, as the extra stress would adversely affect my health.

  3. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    No sh*t Sherlock!

    Xmas causes stress and stress causes health problems. Well blow me down!

  4. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!


    "...the various horrors about to befall us aren't ones that can be dealt with by ... bludgeoning them repeatedly with a surplus thighbone etc in primitive-human style."

    Why the hell not???

  5. CD001


    > For now, though, the great thing is to remember over the coming festive season that in fact the various horrors about to befall us aren't ones that can be dealt with by running away and hiding nor bludgeoning them repeatedly with a surplus thighbone etc in primitive-human style.


    Oh but they can, they so very, very can - though it may be easier to find a tyre-iron than a surplus thighbone these days.

  6. Stjohn Roe

    Pass the sloe gin

    Mother and mother in law in the same room, unconsciousness is the only answer.

  7. Bassey

    Wrong conclusion

    Whilst the study seems reasonable (indeed, self evident really) the conclusion seems entirely arse-about-faced. Surely what the study tells us is that by acting like modern "sophisticated" humans we are, in fact, just suppressing our natural instincts and causing ourselves immense harm. We really aren't as sophisticated as we like to think we are, the old physiological systems have not evolved out of us and we need to be more in tune with our deep seated inclinations.

    So, the next time a family member makes a snide, narky remark, smack them over the head with a club and save yourself from arthritis in later life. I feel more relaxed already.

  8. mrlumpy

    I hate the word boffin

    With a passion!

    I also hate it when lazy journalists start an article with "Scientists have discovered..." I also can't stand "Computer whiz-kids" either.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I hate the word boffin

      Personally I think "boffin" is a splendid word. For one thing it's miles nicer than "hate". In my head boffins never help NastyCorp Inc. suck the life out of the planet. They are friendly, have mad hair, wear brown cords, give you a lollipop when you don't understand something, then when you have finished your lollipop they take the stick back and use it in some wonderfully boffinous way to help you understand.

      "Computer whiz kid" on the other hand I haven't heard since the majority of common or garden "computer whizzes" (i.e. not the high wizard compsci boffin types) were in fact kids, and being one implied more than just an ability to download ringtones to your mum's Nokia.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    pah. they should have gone on Dragons Den, missed opportunity, drug to prevent stress based ills at Christmas, it'd be a best seller!

    ... alternatively, drug to prevent stress should be legalised before christmas, for our wellbeing nanny! ;)

    mines the lab coat with a pocket full of baggies of happiness

  10. Mark Monaghan

    Ratty mice?

    Christmas was the only time I used to pull rank in the department.

    "Look I'm the senior man here, so I'm staying and manning the help desk. The rest of you can go home to your loved ones, wives and children."

  11. Graham Marsden
    Dead Vulture

    In other news...

    ... oh you know the rest: bears, woods, Popes etc...

  12. Captain DaFt

    So what they're saying...

    Is that a family holiday get together that ends in a full scale donnybrook is healthier to you personally than one where everyone grits their teeth and puts on a polite facade until they can get the hell outta there?

    Damn, I'm going to live to be a thousand!

  13. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Where's the camera?

    Clearly, these "boffins" have been spying on my family Christmas! Well, I've got them beat this year--I'm staying home with a carton of egg nog and a bottle of whiskey, and I'm not leaving.

  14. LaeMi Qian


    I vaguely remember some old pagan Sun-worship festival recycled as a Christian festival then ransacked into a festival of commercialism. Thank goodness I am civilised enough to not get involved in such things anymore.

  15. Davey Bee

    I have always been shyish and unattractive..

    But.... no, no, no, no, no. to the guys that hate Xmas and other things. There are all sorts of social get-togethers that it's easier to miss. For example, I used to dread parties when I was a teenager (ever had the feeling that at these things you won't quite be dressed right, and that everyone except yourself is going to score? ) - and in one sense I suppose we'd all have less stress if Xmas Day was spent sitting with ElReg and reading the other news.

    Fine. Maybe pipe and slippers every night is the least stressful life - until one day you wake up and realise you've got no-one.

    Family and friends (ex friends if you keep turning down invitations) are important. Get along to the Xmas thing; relax; ignore the uncle you don't like; don't think you've got to be faux-jolly; and be quite sure in yourself that *everyone* else is feeling awkward too. Stop worrying. Take a drink,. and enjoy the drink and avoid the crap buffet. And if you really feel that you've got to leave early, then do it. So what? What's the problem?

    Life's never so scary as it seems. It's only a party, ffs, you don't need to be Ant-and-Dec cheery, and *someone* at that party is going to make a bigger tit of themselves than you could ever do. It's only a few hours out of your life (ffs again). Really, things aren't that important. Honestly.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Denervation by intoxication rules!

    Proof, at last.

    As I've always maintained, getting stone drunk on Xmas is the cheapest and most socially acceptable way to disconnect one's nervous system and defend against the ill effects of Uncle Harold's' boorish impositions. Gotta run and email this to the rest of the family.

    Happy Whatever to Whoever...

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