From fear of mistletoe to being petrified of sprouts, women reveal their strange festive phobias

THESE four readers suffer from festive phobias – ranging from a terror of mistletoe to being petrified of sprouts.

Here they share their Christmas cringes.

David Cummings – The Sun

These four ladies find Christmas a stressful time of year because of their unique festive related phobias[/caption]

‘A snowman walked passed and I was nearly sick’

David Cummings – The Sun

Christmas characters give Jessica anxiety[/caption]

ANXIOUS Jessica Parmiter, 24, from Portsmouth, finds the mere sight of fancy dress utterly terrifying.  The healthcare assistant says: “Most people love Christmas parades with Santa, Rudolph and cute snowmen on display.

“But all those festive characters fill me with horror. It’s not just any fancy dress – it has to be mascot suits with a padded head. It is called masklophobia and I’ve suffered since I was a kid.

“My mum says I freaked out as a baby at the Easter Bunny in a supermarket. And then again on a trip to Disneyland with my granny.

“That time, a Jungle Book orangutan jumped off a float and poked his head inside my buggy.

David Cummings – The Sun

Nik and Eva Speakman have helped Jessica control her fear[/caption]

“I completely lost it and my mum and gran spent ages comforting me. Four years ago, I spent hours working on calming breath exercises with the therapists Nik and Eva Speakman, and I’m much better now.

“But I can still get freaked out if I’m startled. A massive snowman walked past me in a garden centre and I was nearly sick. I wanted to run away but my body froze to the spot and I stood there trembling.

“If I can’t see the person’s face, I get totally creeped out. I was at a charity hospice event recently and they had a giant Santa with a padded suit and head.

“He was 10ft away but I lost the plot. I tried to close my eyes, breathe calmly and let it pass. I also made sure that he came no- where near me for the rest of the day.

David Cummings – The Sun

Not being able to see a person’s face freaks Jessica out[/caption]

‘I can even look at sprouts without freaking out’

David Cummings – The Sun

Megan’s fear of sprouts makes Christmas a difficult time of year[/caption]

MEGAN SWAFFER, 30, from Dartford, Kent, is a part-time art teacher at a primary school. With her fear of sprouts, Christmas dinner is a testing time for her. Megan says:

“I tried my first sprout at the age of six – and projectile-vomited across my grandma’s kitchen. Ever since then, I can’t eat them, touch them or even look at them without freaking out.

“Even pictures of sprouts in magazines make me gag and feel queasy. I don’t get too much sympathy though.

“My family think it’s hilarious and wind me up about it all the time. I live with my dad and he likes to pretend every Christmas that he wants sprouts with our dinner.

David Cummings – The Sun

Her family will make jokes about sprouts, but the fear is no laughing matter for Megan[/caption]

“We shop for the big Christmas Day meal together so he puts a big bag of them in the trolley just to see me lose it. I can just about lift them out by the very corner of the bag but it still makes me shiver. I tell him that if he does want sprouts this year, he’ll just have to buy them and cook them himself.

“My mates think it’s funny too. They’ll make a sprout dish if I go round for dinner and it gets passed around the table while I gag for Britain.

“I hate everything about sprouts but it’s the smell that gets to me most – they absolutely stink when they’re cooked.

“I know it’s stupid to be so phobic about them but I just can’t help myself. I can’t imagine a day when they don’t make me feel sick to my stomach.

David Cummings – The Sun

Megan gags when the sprouts get handed around the table[/caption]

‘If I see mistletoe, I lock myself in the loo’

David Cummings – The Sun

Claire really doesn’t want to meet anyone under the mistletoe[/caption]

CLAIRE FOSTER, 27, an accountancy student and sales assistant, from Truro in Cornwall, suffers from cyssanophobia – a fear of being kissed under mistletoe. She says:

“A peck on the cheek or lips under the mistletoe is a bit of fun for most.

“But it fills me with terror. My first memory of the world’s worst Christmas tradition is from when I was ten.

“A relative I didn’t like was holding up a sprig of mistletoe and walking towards me, ready to kiss me on the cheek and give me a hug.

David Cummings – The Sun

Claire went to a Christmas party but couldn’t get past the front door because her friend had mistletoe hanging everywhere[/caption]

“I remember running off terrified and after that you couldn’t get me near the stuff. Since then, even seeing mistletoe growing wild makes me break out in hot sweats, shake and sometimes cry.

“There have been times I have locked myself in the bathroom at parties until the mistletoe is taken away.

“I got invited to a mate’s Christmas dinner party two years ago but couldn’t get past the front door as she had mistletoe hanging all about the house. If I am at the supermarket and they have mistletoe for sale I will flee.

“My landlord spent £400 having it removed from the back garden of a flat I once rented. I hate feeling like such a party pooper but I can’t help it. I plan to use 2019 to conquer my phobia.

David Cummings – The Sun

Claire is hoping to conquer her fear in the New Year[/caption]

‘I’ve never eaten a veggie or a piece if fruit’

David Cummings – The Sun

Jade’s diet is starting to affect her health and well-being[/caption]

JADE Burnside, 25, has never eaten a hot meal – and won’t be starting this Christmas Day.

The stay-at-home mum to sons Ruben, five, and Junior, one, will instead be tucking into toast because she has cibophobia – a fear of any food that isn’t utterly plain. Jade, of Bolton, says:

“I’ve never had a Christmas dinner because I can’t eat anything on the plate. The thought of meat, sauces and vegetables terrifies me.

“I basically exist on plain pasta, toast, crisps and chocolate. The problems began when I got sick as a baby and went off my food.

David Cummings – The Sun

Jade knows she needs to combat her eating problems for the sake of her children[/caption]

The health visitor told my mum to give me what I fancied until I got better. I’ve never eaten a hot meal since and I’ve never eaten a single vegetable or piece of fruit.

When people pressure me to eat, I get hot, sweaty and panicky. It’s the different textures together that creeps me out. This Christmas, I’ll go over to my mum’s and whip up two pieces of toast with Philadelphia.

My diet is weird but it’s the norm to me. It’s destroying my health though. I’m only six stone – I look like a little girl.

My hair is falling out and I’m so weak I have to take several naps a day. Doctors can’t get to the bottom of it. I need to beat this for the sake of my boys.


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