CHRISTMAS can be a hugely stressful time, but topping a list of the biggest festive fright is not getting snowed in or burning the dinner, but the meddling mother-in-law.

The raised eyebrow, disapproving glance and tut from ‘she who must be obeyed’ is the one thing that sends a shiver down the spine of most people this yuletide, according to a new survey.

Commissioned by domestic cleaners Merry Maids, more than a quarter of those who took part said their efforts wouldn’t be up to the standards of their partner’s picky parents.

More than a thousand people were asked what worried them most about entertaining at home and the high standards of the mother-in-law came out on top.

Burning the Christmas dinner was also a concern for hosts, with 19 per cent picking it as their biggest fear. Others said arguing about what to watch on TV, drunken relatives and the turkey not fitting in the oven. Some were worried about elderly relatives having accidents and getting snowed in.

As well as those scared of making a bad impression, one in ten were put off cleaning up after Christmas visitors, despite more than half regularly entertaining over the festive period.

  • 1. Not meeting a mother-in-law’s standards
  • 2. Burning Christmas dinner
  • 3. Arguing over what to watch on TV
  • 4. Who to invite for dinner
  • 5. Cleaning up afterwards
  • 6. Being made to play party games
  • 7. Drunken relatives
  • 8. The turkey not fitting in the oven
  • 9. Elderly relatives having accidents
  • 10. Getting snowed in