Festive spirit turns chillier

Money worries, freezing weather and snow have led to more than a quarter (26 per cent) of British people giving friends the cold shoulder this Christmas.

And according to a survey published today the Scots are the least sociable with almost a third (32 per cent ) saying it was not important for them to meet up with friends over Christmas, the study found.

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Professor Craig Jackson, head of psychology at Birmingham City University, said: "There is much to be said for the benefits of people getting together over the festive period. The opportunity to celebrate with friends and family can be therapeutic - despite the potential for rows.

"Taking the time out to plan and arrange a get-together can be a relaxing exercise in itself.

"The trick is to not let it become stressful and a source of worry - keeping it all in perspective is crucial, in order to keep it from becoming stressful for the organiser."