According to the popular song, this is the best time of year. However, millions of working mothers — juggling demanding careers, children, and organising everything from gifts to Nativity costumes — may beg to differ.

Even though many people are exhausted from being overworked, it is no wonder that December can be exhausting for women. Hayley Hanigan says she found the solution for the annual holiday onslaught.

Although your Christmas angel is only ornamental and can be placed on your tree, it’s hers that makes the difference. For Hayley has hired her very own helper — nanny Amy Ashton, 29 — specifically to relieve her burden in the run-up to Christmas.

It’s clear she is not the only one. Growing numbers of moms are finding that it is impossible to ‘have everything’ during Christmas, despite having high-powered careers, children at home, and active social lives.

Hayley, 36 years old, is an IT manager at an investment bank and says that December can be exhausting for her as a working mother. My husband is a businessman and works long hours. Our children attend Christmas activities at school and nursery, which require preparation.

“And that’s even before I thought about wrapping presents or organising our New Year’s Eve party at home for 14 people!”

It was last year that Hayley — who has four children, Orlaith, seven, Neave, five, Henry, two, and Max one, with her husband Tom, 34, who owns a print and design company — decided she was finished with Christmas pressure.

“Last year, I was too busy to make Christmas specials with my kids. It was stressful and I found it difficult to enjoy. It was too much work that we could not manage our family during these festivities so we hired an additional pair of hands.

This year, she has determined, will be different, now that she has hired Amy, who is taking care of every detail — including present-buying and tracking down a glitzy New Year’s Eve outfit for Hayley.

‘Using a list that I provide, Amy sources Christmas presents for the family — everything from theatre tickets to baby toys and personalised festive pyjama sets,’ says Hayley, who lives in Petts Wood, Kent.

Domestic bliss: Nanny Amy (right) with Hayley and her children

 Domestic bliss: Nanny Amy (right) with Hayley and her children

“She bathes my children during the times I have work parties and events to attend, while I am getting ready. Without her, I would not be able to get anywhere by 9pm, particularly at Central London gatherings.

“Amy is so amazing that she even tried to find me a sparkly black jumpsuit that would be perfect for New Years Eve, but it was sold online.

She says that December is a magical time of year for her children, and also one of the most stressful times for working moms. I have to be there for my family, friends and keep up with all the school activities. This is before you consider gift shopping, cooking, decorating your home, entertaining, and writing greeting cards.

This might sound like an indulgence. You can only truly enjoy Christmas when you are fully involved in every preparation.

But other mums will read this, applaud Hayley — and wonder why they’ve never thought of doing the same thing to save their own sanity as the year draws to an end.

All this helps comes at a cost, of course — around £13 to £15 an hour — but Hayley is certain she’s done the right thing, and argues Amy’s help has only made the season more magical, not less.

“These Christmases, while my children still have their eyes open to the wonder of it all, are precious,” she said. Amy helps me relieve some of the stress and allows me to fully immerse myself with the celebrations, as opposed to trying to do it all by myself.

Amy will be working two days per week with the family throughout December. Hayley says that it is already changing lives.

Without Amy’s assistance, December would be impossible to handle. She’s arranged for the tree to be delivered this week, she makes lunch on the days I’m working from home, pops to the Post Office to return and collect parcels for me, and has sourced all the food platters for our New Year’s Eve party — jobs that would leave me absolutely frazzled if I had to do them on top of everything else.

“She has even organized for the oven and carpets cleaning in order to host me with 17 relatives on Christmas Day.”

‘It’s too much for one person, especially as my children need — and deserve — my attention, not a mummy who’s too distracted and overwhelmed with the Christmas planning to give it to them.’

Jolly holiday: Ali helps the youngsters decorate the tree while Christina gets on with her work

 Jolly holiday: Ali helps the youngsters decorate the tree while Christina gets on with her work

Christina Gattase (mother-of-two), 38, attributes her calmness to Ali Oakey (25) who is her festive fairy godmother).

‘The admin that comes with Christmas is a full-time job in itself — and I’ve already got one of those!’ Christina is a senior executive secretary at an investment bank.

“Having someone to help me during Christmas is a relief. They are reliable, consistent and trustworthy. Ali saves me from having to go to school on Christmas day and work the nursery days. My children don’t like to go to work, and they prefer to stay at home with Santa’s toys.

Christina, who is mother to Byron, five, and Austin, two, and lives in Kent with her fiancé, who works for a wealth management company, adds that Ali, a third-year university undergraduate who’s studying to be a teacher, has bags of energy to run around after her sons, and endless ideas for how to keep them busy.

“I hired Ali to assist me for a few days each week during December. My first child was only my second. I had one calendar. I managed to get him there with the Christmas jumper, Nativity, class party, Nativity and baking. . . The list could go on and on.

“All the same things are happening at Austin’s nursery. It’s long gone the time when I would get in the holiday spirit by going to the shops and buying gifts, then stopping for hot chocolate.

‘December is becoming more busy as the boys grow older, and Ali is here for them to entertain me so I can be focused on getting us all ready for Christmas.

She also does the laundry and helps with other chores. I’m able to spend my time wrapping gifts and buying presents instead of worrying about work. Ali allows me to be with my kids when my computer is off.

“We all experienced Covid last Christmas, and it taught us that children do not want to or need to flashy this time of the year. They just want to have fun and be with their parents.

“We will be staying home this Christmas Day with just four of us wearing our pajamas. I can switch off and fully enjoy the Christmas Day. Ali’s support has allowed me to accomplish everything I need to do at school, home and work.

Hampstead Nannies owner Hannah Goodson said that women who have busy lives are looking for help with Christmas stress.

One British family, who lives in Paris, is expecting their third child very soon, asked me to provide a babysitter for them.

“Although most of my Nannies work with families on a regular basis, I see a need for seasonal help because many women realise they don’t have to carry the weight of trying to balance children, Christmas, and jobs on their own.

Dahlia Dajani, a freelance marketer says that Christmas is stressful and she has hired a nanny to help her through the holidays. Dahlia, her husband being a trader, travels extensively so she has to work around her children (aged 13, 10, and 7).

Freelance marketeer Dahlia Dajani says the pressure ramps up so much over Christmas that she's hired a nanny for weekends through December (stock image)

Dahlia, freelance marketeer Dahlia Djani claims that the Christmas pressure is so intense she hired a babysitter to help her through the holidays (stock image).

“Last Christmas was very difficult because my husband started traveling again under restrictions. I felt so overwhelmed by the pressure of family, work and Christmas,” she says. I am the kind of person who takes on more than what I ought to and don’t enjoy asking for help. This year, I realized that I could not handle everything, from the Christmas party I hosted at my house for my children on the last day in term to organising the New Year’s Eve party, with my friends, the Nativity and pantomime, as well as shopping, all the way through the New Year.

“The entire lot is on my plate, which makes me so overwhelmed that I don’t get to enjoy the joy of Christmas. In order to make Christmas more joyful and to keep up with all of the celebrations, Jenny was hired to help me on the weekends.

And Dahlia’s verdict so far? Jenny works some serious magic, much like Mary Poppins.

“When my children are at school in the week, I work, while they’re home weekends, I rush around to take them to various activities. This leaves me no time to prepare for Christmas.

And Dahlia's verdict so far? Rather like Mary Poppins, Jenny is working some serious magic (stock image)

And Dahlia’s verdict so far? Jenny works some serious magic, much like Mary Poppins (stock image).

“Having Jenny visit me every weekend has made a huge difference in my life and given me the opportunity to focus on everything that December requires.

‘For example, while Jenny takes the kids to the park, for walks or does crafting with them — they decorated a gingerbread house together last weekend — I use those hours on Saturday or Sunday to get sorted for Christmas.

« Organising presents for everybody left me feeling very stressed. But it’s significantly easier now that Jenny is there to take care of the kids while I tackle my to-do list.

“I used the time to hire a chef instead of cooking for my New Year’s Eve party. This has alleviated a lot of stress.

Jenny also provided hours of babysitting services for me in the evenings earlier this month, so I could go to work and enjoy Christmas dinners with my friends.

“For the first-time in many years, I believe I might make it to Christmas break feeling like this could be the season for joy after all.