The Most Stressful Time of the Year is Often Caused by Family


Sydney Olsen

Michael Olsen, alleviates his stress this holiday season with the new puppy, Harper.

The holiday season is seen as the most fun time of the year–a time to be surrounded by close friends and family and to celebrate the joyous time. Instead, studies show that it is actually the most stressful time of the year.

A study by OnePoll found that 88% of Americans feel stressed out about the holiday season. The study shows that how much people need to spend on gifts for their children and family and where to buy them is a big worry.

With family coming to visit for the season, these studies show that around 15% of people admit that having to participate in conversations with their family around this time of the year, stresses them out. Others say that some topics are completely off limits to talk about.

Cooking the holiday dinner also creates stress because it’s difficult having to make something everyone likes, in addition to the feeling of overeating and even feeling uncomfortable after a meal.  

Even though there is a lot for people to stress out about, a huge percentage of Americans still say they have holiday spirit and love to see their family.

A Popular Science study shows that many people actually dread the holiday season, leading to becoming very stressed and anxious weeks away from a big family get together. The studies show that people feel some sort of degree of stress around their families this season. According to Pam Regan, psychology professor and California State University in Los Angeles,  “…though some people stress about it more than others because of their personalities or family history, the stress itself is a “very normal” feeling.”

By definition, stress is a mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Studies show that the actual events themselves are not stressful, it is the perception of the events that stresses people out.

Lots of people stress out about seeing their families during the holiday season because they want to have a “perfect holiday season,” but it is very unrealistic for people to have a “perfect holiday” due to the stress. People want to show their families that their expectations have been met for the season. People usually do everything they can to please others during the season and stress themselves out in the process.

A way people can avoid the stress this season would be to stay realistic. No one will have that perfect Hollywood dinner where everyone is calm and together. This is real life, and any way the holiday ends, it will, hopefully, be a happy and fun time for all.

Another way to avoid stress is to plan things ahead of time. Get shopping done early, plan out what meals need to be made, ask others to make and bring something to the party.

Agreeing to set aside differences is a huge way to alleviate stress over the holiday season. Families go through rough patches and no matter what everyone is worried about, families can agree to set aside differences so it does not come up in conversation. This can help get rid of stress because something that people will know not to bring things up and that the conversations will be pleasant.

Believe it or not; decorating is stressful. As a child my family never did it and it brings back memories of not so great Christmases.

— Renee Olsen

Stress this time of the year can be very overwhelming. Everyone should remember that this is meant to be a happy time of the year and it is meant to be shared with friends and family. Take deep breaths and be excited for what is to come for this holiday season.