Christmas cheer or festive fears!
A short Christmas jingle!
The following should be read whilst thinking of the tune ‘Christmas Time’:
"Christmas time, mistletoe and wine, fears and phobias all of the time!
A fear of crackers, a fear of myths,
a fear of eating, of presents and gifts!
A fear of the turkey, and of flashing lights,
crackers going bang! And Santa at night.
A very big fear of the whole christmas thing,
mistletoe, myths, ceremonies and hymns."
Ok, so maybe my rhyming isn’t quite up to scratch. My point is, at a time when many of us are celebrating all that is ‘Christmas’, how many of us actually stop to think about those people who have a phobia of something to do with Christmas (or even realised that such phobias exist)?
Working in the field of psychology led me to look at all the different phobias that exist and I was surprised to discover that there are at least 11 phobias which could be problematic at christmas time.
The first of these is called mythophobia which is described as ‘an exaggerated or irrational fear of making false or incorrect statements.' How many statements do we make at Christmas which are, technically speaking, incorrect? Santa? Reindeers? Coal in sacks? Of course I'll enjoy spending Christmas day with my family, but imagine how difficult it might be if you felt compelled to only tell the truth!
Then there is selaphobia, an irrational fear or dislike of flashes of light. Imagine trying to avoid all those fairy lights! And don’t even mention Christmas crackers to the individual with ligyrophobia (also known as phonophobia or sonophobia). These individuals are fine with the gift and the hat, but terrified of loud noises.
The teleophobic fears making definite plans or attending religious ceremonies, whilst the meleagrisophobic will avoid turkey at all costs (the feathered kind!). If you know someone with siderophobia avoid a star on top of your tree at all costs! That’s of course assuming they don’t have hylophobia, in which case it’s best to avoid the Christmas tree idea all together.
The philematophobic won’t be too impressed to find mistletoe hovering above their head, although as long as you don’t kiss them they’ll be ok. Then there is the syngenesophobic (and I think we may all have experienced this at some point) who dreads having to meet relatives. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to avoid anything to do with Santa at Christmas? Those suffering from pogonophobia (a fear of beards) will go to great lengths to do so! But the worst one must surely be festivalisophobia which, apparently is a fear of the whole festive season.
How to avoid the phobias?
So this Christmas whilst you happily gaze up at the star on top of your tree, having just enjoyed a kiss underneath the mistletoe and your nose is still tickling from Santa’s beard, spare a thought for all of those people who suffer at Christmas. Alternatively, you could recommend they try Hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy will work with their phobias, helping the person to recognise the issue and learn how to cope during this time of year.
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About Sue Learoyd-Smith
Sue works as a Clinical Hypnotherapist at SFS Therapy. She specialises in working with anxiety and has also successfully helped clients (both young and old) with issues including weight loss, depression, panic attacks, fears/phobias, addiction, motivation and many other issues.