CHRISTMAS is coming. Are you feeling anxious? No? Well you should be.

How can anyone stay calm and collected when we are constantly being told how stressed we should be?

‘Christmas is coming…and we Brits are getting stressed,’ says one email that greeted me this morning. It went on to disclose the results of a survey commissioned by a health and fitness group: more than 37 per cent of us report feelings of anxiety in the run up to Christmas and 69 per cent feel they need more time to themselves to help them cope with the demands of the season.

The chain is going so far as to stage a nationwide meditation to bring down stress levels and ‘help people stay calm and focused.’ The initiative is raising money for a mental health charity, which is commendable, but does it really have to shout about how Christmas will leave us quivering wrecks?

‘It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by stress’, says another piece of advice from a different source, which recommends measured breathing and blue lace agate crystals (which, of course, everyone has at their fingertips) among other alternative ways to lessen the impact.

One of the worst things about Christmas is the endless preaching about how to get through it. I’m sick of seeing Christmas survival guides in magazines. Tips such as ‘start buying gifts early in the year’ really aren’t much use if you’re reading it in December.

I really can’t believe that there are so many people who need advice on how to hang baubles, wrap presents and make mince pies. You would think no-one had experienced Christmas before, but we have - many times.

All this talk of the perfect Christmas and how to achieve it - it’s enough to create angst in even the most chilled individuals. How can anyone be relaxed about Christmas, when they are bombarded with all this guff?

I switched on the radio this morning to hear how I’d have to get my skates on to order online, that I had better have my cards posted before a certain date and even check the tree lights for defects.

‘Twenty things you can do now for a stress-free Christmas…even if you have left it to the last minute’, says one piece of advice in a national tabloid, before recounting tips from freezing roast potatoes to putting batteries in toys before the big day and making a must-do list.

From the tone of these articles, they could be addressing children… ‘remember to take your pack-up to school’, ‘put on your coat to keep warm’…

We are adults - there are some things we don’t need to be told: even the most disorganised among us make lists at Christmas, it’s the sensible thing.

Tips for a stress-free festive season are at best laughable and at worst patronising. There are those dreadful TV shows fronted by people like Kirstie Allsopp or Nigella, showing you how to cut spending by making your own decorations from old cushion covers, cotton wool and short-crust pastry. It’s enough to make you scream.

My advice is to ignore it all. Just go your own way and hope for the best. If your gifts are shoddily wrapped because you ran out of Sellotape and had to using masking tape, if you forgot the crackers, and - woe betide - you overcooked the sprouts, don’t worry, it will all be over in two days.

But brace yourself, the lecturing won’t stop there - you’ll soon be hearing how to make sandwiches from turkey leftovers, how to iron gift wrap to re-use it next year and how to make jolly tags from old cards.