It seems there is an increasing – and most unfestive – new holiday tradition of pre-Christmas breakups.
In the U.S. the phenomenon has been nicknamed the “turkey drop”, to describe a break-up that happens between Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November) and December 25.
In the last two years alone, numerous celebrity couples saw their relationships come to an end in the lead up to Christmas.
The past few weeks have seen Rihanna’s very public split from Chris Brown and Ashton Kutcher file for divorce from Demi Moore (who also split from her 26-year-old boy toy, Vito Schnabel this month).
Zooey Deschanel also finalized her divorce from Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Rob Kardashian broke up with his long term girlfriend, pop sensation Rita Ora.
In 2010, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds ended their two-year marriage just before Christmas.
The year also saw, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall and his wife Jennifer Carpenter and Nip/Tuck star Dylan Walsh and his wife Joanna Going all announce the end in the run up to Christmas.
Data researchers David McCandless and Lee Byron charted the most frequent times of year that relationships end and found two peaks, one in March and one in the run up to Christmas.
While it is not clear exactly what causes this trend, it is suggested that the stress of the holiday season may be to blame, with people feeling unable to cope with pleasing their partner as well as preparing for the celebrations.
Many become nostalgic and reflective around Christmas and may begin to question their lives and decisions, which can call into question the compatibility and longevity of a relationship.
It is also a time of year traditionally spent with family, which, as any couple knows, can be a source of tension. Parental disapproval of a partner and the strain of family fights may prompt some of us to pull the plug on an ailing relationship.
Of course, there will undoubtedly be a few Scrooges who end rotten relationships before the 25th simple to avoid buying another present.
Whatever the reason at least those shown the door will have plenty of comfort food and family surrounding them to ease the pain – and a fair few drinks too.