Poll: Are You Feeling the Holiday Stress Yet?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Ah, the holidays.

A time for friends and family to come together and celebrate.
A time for peace, love and joy.
A time to really think about what's important in life.

A time for traffic jams, long lines and endless errands.
A time for temper tantrums, breakdowns and stress overload!
A time to really lose your mind!

Which of these scenarios is more familiar to you?

I'm staying pretty calm this year. My shopping is mostly done. I don't have to race around too much. I'm sticking with my exercise and healthy eating regime, which I think has helped keep me cool and collected.

Last year was a different story. I was working as a business reporter, covering retail. I had to be at the stores before they opened on both the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. (One store opened at 4 a.m., so I was there at 3!) Needless to say, those aren't my happiest holiday memories!

Are you stressing out this holiday season? Why?

If you're not stressing, how do you manage to keep your cool?

What do you do to relieve stress this time of year?

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  • 171
    After the holidays I buy things as I go thru the year since 6 of 9 birthdays & anniversaries are between Jan & June - then I start buying for the Christmas gifts & remaining birthdays.

    Ship by end of November. No bills. No malls and parking hassles.

    I also don't have to worry about where I saw that thing my Dad would get a kick out of, or my sister has drooled over, etc. - 12/7/2011   9:45:23 PM
  • 170
    I've made it through the kids visiting my ex, and we visited my father and step-mother and it went very well (which honestly was the part we were stressing most). Same night, Saturday, as all of that my FIL and MIL started arguing with my husband and SIL so now the get together that was planned for In-laws home was moved to mine! Oh, and it's Tuesday, yeah, tomorrow! What stress? - 12/22/2008   8:24:00 AM
  • 169
    I'll do fine as long as my mother in law and sister in law dont show - 12/22/2008   7:10:08 AM
  • 168
    YES!!! I feel the stress!!! I work at a department store & people can be so rude!! I'm loss pervention so I'm seeing lots of stealing which really hurts the store let alone the economy. So I cant wait till this week is over with so to say.. OH, almost forgot the people who are returning things, THATS also endless.I beat the stress with my workouts Thanks to that!! - 12/22/2008   5:47:14 AM
  • 167
    Not stressed at all. I think with the economy the way it is, I have been thinking more about the true meaning of Christmas and less about presents and how much to spend. - 12/21/2008   5:47:13 PM
    I really don't feel the stress....although I see it in others. First of all I don't go shopping much - malls are normally out of the question for me. And for years I have not pressured myself about buying things for people I can ill afford. Nor do they want....my kids now that they are adults get some form of money - I pay my daughters December insurance payment....works for both of us.

    Also I choose to not drive anywhere for Christmas day...my only family is miles away other than my daughter. I do phone them all though and that includes dear friends who live on the other side of the country...My daughter and I will share the day doing something low key and totally indulgent....I don't even cook a turkey unless she has specifically asked and even then sometimes I do a roast chicken instead.

    Low key, less fuss and much more enjoyment = little or no stress...

    I try to simply enjoy the day - in whatever way makes the most sense...

    The day after Xmas is my birthday............and my daughter takes me out for dinner to a restaurant of my choosing.

    Its ALL good...... - 12/21/2008   7:45:38 AM
  • 165
    I guess I internalize my stress too much because I hardly ever feel stressed out. But when I am feeling stressed I take a drive, Sip some hot Tea of a flavored International Coffee. I like to escape into a book or get creative and draw or paint or some kind of needle work.It just really takes a lot for me to blow my stack. - 12/20/2008   4:25:14 PM
  • 164
    I have found that establishing (and sticking to!) my Christmas shopping budget has made shopping this season such a pleasant experience! I've enjoyed scouting out gifts that the recipient would appreciate and enjoy without breaking the bank! it's not any fun to shop when you feel guilty about each purchase or know that the bills will come in January. But I've had a great time!

    Also, I just try to keep focused on what the Christmas season is truly about. :) - 12/19/2008   3:09:02 PM
    This year, I decided to give myself a stress-free holiday season. I am not worrying about gift giving nor cooking. Dinner will be simple because it will be just me and my DH. My husband bought me an exercise step and I used it today and I got a few practical gifts for him.

    So far all is well. - 12/19/2008   1:39:33 PM
    none here. already got my gifts and i'm cooking spaghetti for dinner. it's just the 3 of us - 12/19/2008   11:32:17 AM
  • 160
    I seem to have less holiday stress this year. It probably involves many factors: lowered expectations by everyone based on the uncertainty of the economy, my son is now 26 and Santa Claus is not an issue, I'm older and more firmly rooted in my own values rather than feeling influenced by the hype around me. I stopped waiting for Christmas to become magical for me. We all apply our own meaning to this holiday and every other one--how appropriate and how freeing. - 12/19/2008   5:42:42 AM
    Family, peace on earth, love and joy is what it's all about....no stress there. Have a blessed Christmas and blessed new year. - 12/19/2008   4:53:06 AM
  • 158
    My stress level is down this year because I'm deployed and I don't have to worry about who I have to buy for, what I have to buy, and when I have to be where? Being deployed through the holidays is stressful but I'm away from my family who stresses me out. - 12/19/2008   3:20:22 AM
    We quit buying for the adults some yrs back. But what about the adult child that never marries and doesn't leave home? I have a 28y/o niece that still lives with my sister Is she a child or an adult? She has traveled across seas this past 2-3 yrs, so I know she is adult, but she is also so innocent and is childlike. How do you handle that??? - 12/19/2008   1:57:29 AM
  • 156
    I thought this was going to be a very low stress holiday this year ... then life happened while I was making other plans. Getting laid off from work didn't enter into my plans ... now I'm making the best of my situation by baking and decorating ... doing the things that I've stressed over for years while I was working. It really is wonderful being able to work at a more relaxed pace ... Merry Christmas everyone! - 12/19/2008   12:59:28 AM
  • 155
    I am feeling all of it. I am still learning how to juggle work and raising a child and now with the economy the way it is and my check the way it is I feel I am more stressed out than ever before. - 12/18/2008   11:49:04 PM
  • 154
    I am sitting in a hotel room after driving all day to get a bit over half way to the city where the grandkids live. The past two days have been spent wrapping 64 gifts with my husband. But, I am really not too stressed, considering. We listened to Christmas music and enjoyed talking while wrapping, and we listened to books on tape and read the paper and discussed current events on the drive, stopped for healthy meals along the way. And, of course, the grandkids are the light at the end of this journey. - 12/18/2008   10:35:32 PM
    Holiday Stress?? Money stress you betchas! - 12/18/2008   10:27:18 PM
    I'm trying hard to focus on the reason behind Christmas-the birth of Jesus Christ. I don't believe in going all out with gift buying, and what shopping is done, my loving husband does since he likes to shop and I hate it! The most stressful part of Christmas is the fact that I come from a dysfunctional family and we don't have friends to spend time with over the holidays other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with close family. - 12/18/2008   10:20:54 PM
  • 151
    Well, I am trying not to stress. And for the most part am doing fine. We have had snow and so to avoid driving I have been finishing cards and baking. I still need to wrap presents but my husband likes to help with that. Thanks hunny! Anyhow, I realize more and more how I can stress myself out with expectations. Most of us are harder on ourselves then others are. Yes, CHRISTmas is about celebrating Christ's birth and gathering together. Due to the snow we may be not gathering quite as much. Enjoy the season! - 12/18/2008   8:54:38 PM
  • 150
    I am staying stress free because our family decided a couple of years ago to stop giving gifts for Christmas and just celebrate the reason for the day. That means no shopping at crowded stores, and we buy all the necessary stuff a couple of weeks ahead for dinner. Sometimes less IS better! - 12/18/2008   8:07:43 PM
  • 149
    I am not saying I'm stress free, but the lower level of stress that I am experiencing is due to my continued, if maybe even slightly elevated, exercise regime. It is my drug of choice for calming down the crazies in my head/body, LOL. - 12/18/2008   7:00:47 PM
  • 148
    I have so much stress it would not bother me if they cancelled Christmas!I have a neurological desease and stress just happens anytime,anywhere. I could be having a real great day and then BANG...I have no muscle strength to walk!I have to manage all my time for those good days.Even though shopping is done,cards written and mailed,fudge made I know one son will be arriving Christmas AM with girlfriend and I am trying to do a breakfast casserole and I am stressing already!Since I use a wheelchair outside of the home all I am doing also is worrying about the weather for visiting my other son Christmas eve and my Mom Christmas afternoon.
    Happy Holidays! - 12/18/2008   6:04:57 PM
  • 147
    Calm and serene. I like to honor the meaning behind the season and not let my culture steal it from me. So, I don't let Christmas become stressful. We don't spend a lot of money and we don't book too many activities. It's a wonderful, joyous season when I do this, just the way I like it. - 12/18/2008   5:36:05 PM
  • 146
    Well, I'm feeling the stress some but trying to deal with it by prioritizing what's the MOST important things to get done. We moved recently, and there are still boxes scattered around our apartment. That has left not much room for a Christmas tree. So, now I'm considering just not having one, or just putting up this mini (2') one that we have. I haven't gotten Christmas cards out yet, so I figure I'll handcarry a lot of them when we travel to the midwest to visit my family and friends, and the others will just be late. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to compose a Christmas letter. A lot happened in 2008 to write about, but it won't be the end of the world if I don't get to it.

    I've had these same stresses (except for the moving part) the last few years, but this year is different because my fiance is helping me out with some shopping and preparations. He moved in with us when we moved in late October. It's so nice having him around to help out with housework and things, and he has been quite willing to help! I think it's going to be a great holiday season no matter what I decide to do! - 12/18/2008   4:50:35 PM
  • 145
    ALL my gifts are wrapped, which is really good for me. No Christmas Eve scramble. I just would wrap a few each evening after the kids went to bed and before I knew it, they were all done!

    All my kids will be home for Christmas this year for the first time in 6 years. My son was in the Navy and has been overseas. I cannot tell you how excited I am.

    My home and car is filled with Christmas music every minute of the day. I made sure to leave the music on in my house when I went to pick the kids up from school yesterday. When they got home, they didn't turn the TV on all evening. That was amazing.

    My heart is soaring with joy. I love this time of year! - 12/18/2008   4:26:27 PM
  • 144
    No Stress!! I just don't let it get to me... It's about being with friends and family right??? I know I'd rather be w/ my loved ones when they are stress free.... - 12/18/2008   4:09:31 PM
  • 143
    I am not stressed. I have a very flexible job so I have had plenty of time to get things done. - 12/18/2008   3:30:49 PM
  • 142
    The only stress I'm feeling over the holidays comes from flying to Los Angeles. I hate flying, but am looking forward to BEING there with my parents, my brother and his family ... it's just the GETTING there I'm dreading. - 12/18/2008   2:59:02 PM
    No stress as far as gifts, parties or going out of town. We are celebrating the birth of Christ as a family, doing some baking, making our food (tamales, bunuelos), attending church services and enjoying each others company. A few gifts will be given to the youngest but not everybody else. I do miss buying gifts for my family but I would be stressed out because I would be over spending. No money, no problem, no stress. My only other stresser is having enough to pay the bills and buy food. Merry Christmas to all!! Enjoy your families. - 12/18/2008   2:10:00 PM
  • 140
    I just don't let Christmas stuff rule my life! I have extra church services and activities, of course, but those feed my soul, so to speak, and help relieve stress.

    I don't feel a compulsion to shop for Christmas. I live in a small rural town, so if I can't "Find it at Freddy's" or order online, I don't need it! We only do a few social gatherings with close friends and family, and if the weather doesn't cooperate, we don't stress about it. We can always meet later.

    I think people just make Christmas more important than it needs to be, for the wrong reasons.

    Now I really do need to get those cards mailed... - 12/18/2008   1:50:23 PM
  • 139
    I'm stressing some. But one of the items that I've let go is getting everything mailed out that needs to be mailed. My nieces that live out of state are too young to realize their presents were late. And, when they are old enough to know, my gifts will be a nice surprise in January! - 12/18/2008   1:43:38 PM
  • 138
    i tottally sstressed...snowed in for the 2nd day, and cant get my gifts to p.o. on time. i know there'll be a long line when i finally get there. family member is in the hospital, plus we have 3 b-days in a row to plan for... trying to stay positive. - 12/18/2008   12:59:19 PM
  • 137
    I'm not stressed over the holidays. I shop throughout the year so that it's not so stressful and then the ones that are left, I buy GC's for them so they can get what they want or GC's to things they like to do. So it's pretty easy for me. - 12/18/2008   12:39:30 PM
    No stress here! It is birthday party for Jesus! Thank You God, for Your gift to us. - 12/18/2008   12:26:41 PM
  • 135
    Good comments, I enjoyed reading. I work at not letting my stress level rise and if it does I regroup. The season is all about love and being together. Melting down because something isn't perfect does'nt make those around you feel grateful. We host Christmas Eve dinner for 20 + people. We almost have it down to perfection with the aid of a list with TO Do items with names beside. Years ago I realized the only perfect gift is wonderful memories. - 12/18/2008   12:24:36 PM
  • 134
    I learned a long time ago that in order to truly enjoy the season, stress needed to be kept to a minimum. I shop throughout the year when I see something that is appropriate for someone on my list I buy it. i keep a running list and consult it whenever I am traveling or going shopping. This way know who I bought for and who is still on the list. My Christmas cards always get mailed out the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Because my shopping is done early it gives me time to decorate help friends, bake, attend parties etc. and when the season is over I can truly say I have enjoyed every minute. - 12/18/2008   12:17:44 PM
  • 133
    You would think that being currently unemployed at the holidays would add sooooooo much more stress, but it has taught me a lesson. I hate that I cannot buy gifts for everyone this season, but it has definitely made my stress levels plummet. There is no money to spend, so I'm not stressing over how much I am spending, which in the past was way too much to begin with. When my finances are back in order, I think I will learn from this year and spend more quality time rather than trying to buy quality gifts for everyone. - 12/18/2008   12:10:25 PM
  • 132
    I don't usually stress out during the holidays. I don't do malls or places where there are big crowds any time of year, let alone during the holidays.
    Since I suffer from severe depression all the time (meds do help) the holidays are not my best time of year. I have learned to do what I can just to survive. If I feel I am unable to get something done, such as sending cards this year, well so be it. An email card will do or a phone call to relatives. I do not make promises to myself or to others that I can do more then what I feel comfortable in doing.
    Happy Holidays to all. - 12/18/2008   12:07:12 PM
  • 131
    Stress? What stress? I have 4 children who all have birthdays within 3 weeks of Christmas and then Christmas to buy for....but hey as a single mom of 4, why would I feel any pressure?!?!?! Right? Right? Right? *giggles and bursts into tears* - 12/18/2008   12:03:55 PM
  • 130
    I am 25 years old and experienced total Christmas shopping stress at age 19 or 20. I tried so hard to get everyone the perfect gift and really bent over backwards and put so much thought into each gift that it really took the fun out of the experience. By the time everything was done, I didn't even care what people thought of the gifts and it made me feel kind of sad because I always felt gifts should be fun, INSPIRED, and from the heart. From then on I just stopped holiday shopping. I like celebrating birthdays. I like to shop for one person at a time so that it really means something. To me Christmas time is about celebrating togetherness, so I like to cook or bake. I mainly just buy food and wine or little things to make the parties and days a little special. - 12/18/2008   11:46:51 AM
  • 129
    I am not stressed. My husband is home, and he was in Iraq last year. Last year I spent the whole day hiding in corners to cry so my kids wouldn't see me. Though I lost my mother this past April, she was sick for 10 years. I am sad, but I know she is in a better place now and not suffering anymore. I am sure I will shed tears as I do every day, but having the other half of my heart home calms me. - 12/18/2008   11:37:11 AM
  • 128
    The only reason I am stressed is because I have to pack the rest of the house today, clean our new house tomorrow, and move in on Saturday...and it's snowing right now. I totally didn't want to move 5 days before Christmas, but at least I've got all my shopping done and they are wrapped and ready to go. K, now I've gotta get to work! - 12/18/2008   11:33:12 AM
  • 127
    Ever since the kids left, I have toned down in the seasons. This is, for me and my SO, a holy season, so we pray a lot and talk about what we are thankful for. I send my unconditional love to all my family and friends, and no money can buy that. I really enjoy the holiday now! - 12/18/2008   11:23:34 AM
  • 126
    No stress here. I realized a long time ago, Christmas comes and goes whether we are "ready" or not. Smile. Relax and enjoy the spirit of the Holliday Season, and don't sweat the small stuff. There is no such thing as perfection. Happy Hollidays, everyone. - 12/18/2008   11:21:04 AM
  • 125
    Holiday stress is for "amateurs." Not worth it at all.
    Fortunately our holiday shopping was done ahead of time because this week our doors were frozen SHUT with the winter weather - - - imagine the stress we would have experienced if we needed to do last minute shopping . . . . or any shopping at all.
    - 12/18/2008   11:19:02 AM
  • LIDUP2009
    It's not bad for me this year my wife and I were finished with our Christmas shopping in October and November and we have tried to slow it down this year and that I think has made all the difference. - 12/18/2008   11:05:27 AM
  • 123
    The Holidays are not bothering me yet. I have my shopping done and mostly wrapped. Two dinners I am in charge of are not worrying me. But I still have a week to go. We will see. - 12/18/2008   11:02:41 AM
  • 122
    I refuse to be stressed. Exercise definitely helps! - 12/18/2008   10:57:35 AM

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