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Dealing With Christmas Stress

by Greg Baker  
11/27/2010 / Holidays

Although statistics disprove the urban legend that suicide rates increase around Christmas, stress is most definitely on the rise during the Christmas season. Christmas is supposed to be a time when family, friends, and loved ones gather to spread cheer, goodwill, and peace on earth. Yet the effort in spreading all this good will and cheer about is stressful for many people.

To deal with stress, we must first understand the sources of the stress. Knowing where our stress comes from will empower us to implement the needed changes to make Christmas less stressful and more cheerful.


Schedule Change

Schedule changes often result in a greater amount of stress. When your normal routine is interrupted either by time off of work, the kids getting out of school, changes in sleep and eating patterns, these changes all contribute to increase levels of stress.

Our minds and bodies do not react well to a change in schedule. And Christmas is rarely a relaxing vacation for most people. Forcing ourselves to readjust to a new pattern takes time and can most certainly contribute to our stress levels.

Feeling Like You Are In Competition

Originally, Christmas was introduced as a replacement for the pagan festivities on the winter solstice. It was meant to turn the minds of the people to the wonderful gift of GodHis Son, Jesus Christgiven to men. It was meant as a time of reflection, introspection, and praise to God the Father.

Now, it has turned into a materialistic means by which we try to demonstrate our love for others in as many wrapped boxes as we can. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with presents under a Christmas tree, but the pressure to provide a 'good' Christmas for your children, family, and friends can be overwhelming. If our children don't get as good of gifts as other family members, neighbors, and friends we feel as if we have cheated our children and those we love. This Christmas competition has led to an increase in stress.

The Financial Impact

The average household will go into debt in order to compete with others on Christmas Day. 1 in 4 of those will still be in debt from the previous Christmas. There is no doubt that the stress of trying to pay for Christmas can be a struggle for many people.

In addition, if you buy most things with a credit card, the cost of Christmas practically doubles or triples by the time you are able to pay those cards off. Knowing this will be the case is often stressful.

Forgetting The True Meaning of Christmas

As mentioned already, Christmas is supposed to be a time where the main emphasis is the birth of Jesus Christ. When the emphasis shifts to a materialistic perspective, the purpose and meaning of the holiday has been stripped from it.

This lack of purpose and meaning ultimately brings more stress with it. Without a real handle on why you are celebrating, the Christmas season becomes an indulgence of greed and selfishness. This, in turn, reduces goodwill and cheer. It increases stress and anxiety.


Making Christmas more about the time you spend with your family than the gifts you give them is going to help you reduce you stress tremendously. Injecting real purpose and meaning into Christmas is also going to help shift the emphasis from a greed and selfish perspective to that of cheer, family, and Jesus Christ.

With these thoughts you can have a wonderful Christmas season!

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