Although the holiday season is a time that we should be celebrating and enjoying, many people find it to be the most stressful time of the year. Remember when the holidays were about being with family and loved ones? Remember when it was a time to be thankful for the things that we have? Remember when the cost of the gift was not what mattered? I can honestly say that I do not. The holidays have now become the time of year that many dread because it brings much stress but you will find that we can take steps to reduce the stress and return to enjoying this great season!
The holiday season brings on many tasks that can cause stress for individuals and families; finances, preparation and family conflicts are a few examples. Financial issues during the holiday season are the leading cause of stress (Robinson 62). A poll that was conducted by the American Psychological Association determined that 61% of Americans found that finances were the biggest cause of stress during this time of the year (Robinson 62.2). The stress of buying gifts for everyone on your list can become overwhelming when finances are limited or when the credit card bills arrive after the season is over. Another task that adds stress to the season is the preparation which can be stressful. Making sure that your house is in order for company along with preparing a holiday meal for loved ones is a large task and may cause stress (Marano 36). During the holidays we tend to strive for perfection more so then any other time, rather then letting it be a relaxing and joyful time with loved ones. Along with financial stress and the stress of preparation many families have to cope with family conflict when everyone gathers together. It seems that when the road is rocky between family members the holidays are the time when the rocks start to be thrown.
The stress of the holidays can affect everyone in the family, adults and children in many different ways. For a mother and/or wife stress can come from the responsibility of the preparations for the holidays such as decorations, purchasing gifts, and meal preparation which can become overwhelming (Marano 36). The father and/or husband may have to handle the brunt of the spouses stress, possible causing arguments and conflict within the household and for them as a couple. Children can have a particularly stressful time during the holidays depending on their situation; children of a divorced family can have a difficult time coping with being away from one parent or having to split their time between both parents. Those children that have not been involved in a divorce still may have stress to cope with, they can be affected by the parents stress and how the adults manage that stress.
By taking a few steps during the holiday season the stress can be reduced and people can enjoy this wonderful time of the year. One way to reduce financial stress is to set a realistic budget and stick to it when shopping for gifts, by doing this we can reduce the amount of financial stress that that the bills can bring (Robinson 48). Another way of reducing the stress of preparing for that family gathering can be as simple as asking each family member to bring a dish (Marano 36) or by starting the preparation a few days earlier, doing a more manageable amount each day until the task is completed. The holiday season is stressful for the entire family but by allowing each family member to take time out for him or her to relax and do something that they enjoy can help take the pressure off and reduce stress. One suggestion of a stress free activity is a family night which does not include gift shopping, decorating, or cooking could be just the thing to remind everyone the importance of family during this time of year.
Although the holiday season is busy and overwhelming, this can be reduced by trying some or all of the tips that have been mentioned. The holidays are a time for celebration, family and friends and to be thankful for all that we have. Being with your loved ones is what the holiday season is all about, taking the time to remember that this is the true spirit of the season is something I believe we all should focus on. In today’s society it is easy to forget what is really important during this joyous time, by reducing are stress we will be able to truly enjoy a wonderful season.
Hara Estroff Marano. “Surviving holiday hell.”
Palmer, Kimberly. “The Holiday Gift of Less Stress.”
Robinson, Tracey. “Money issues and holiday stress