The Bull's Eye

Stressful festivities of Christmas season

Christmas is often referred to as  the most wonderful time of the year, but for many, it has evolved into the most stressful time of the year. Having to buy gifts on a budget, making sure that your gift matches the price of the gift you receive, Christmas music on repeat and the societal expectations surrounding this holiday create more stress than fun.

Gift giving has become  a major stressor during the holidays, as stores start pushing holiday gifts early in November. Suddenly, every relative goes into the holidays expecting expensive gifts, the price becoming  a reflection of your relationship with the other person. No one wants to be remembered as the one who gives cheap gifts.  

Another problem with holiday gift giving is the stress of trying to figure out if someone is going to give you a gift, and if you are expected to give them in one in return. The worst feeling is when an acquaintance gives you a present and you do not have a gift to give back. When it is someone’s birthday, you know that you can give them a gift just to be safe, but during the Christmas season it’s hard to be safe. How do people begin to classify an acquaintance from a friend? How to you prepare for this awkward and stressful encounter?  This is just an added pressure that you have to worry about during this gift giving season.

In addition, people worry over  how their gift will be received.  The pressure to find perfect gifts for everyone on your  gift list adds to  holiday stress.

The cost of decorating your home is yet another reason to stress. From $100 Christmas trees to a new set of Christmas lights—every year there’s a new design out on the market—most of your holiday shopping money is spent on these Christmas necessities.

According to a study by the American Psychiatric Association, 61 percent of Americans experience stress during the holiday times. The false picture that you see around the holiday season, with families sitting around the fireplace looking jolly, is the opposite of what most people experience during the holiday season.

This expectation is reinforced by Christmas music, which offers a cliche picture of the holiday.  According to Linda Blair, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, repetition of music can be damaging.

“Music goes right to our emotions immediately and it bypasses rationality,” she told Sky News. Blair  also mentioned that hearing Christmas music in stores can begin to cause mental irritation as the same songs are repeated dozens of times.

The goal of having a merry Christmas is what we should strive for, so we shouldn’t let gift giving and nonstop music  get in the way. Let’s not forget that the true meaning of the holiday season is to spend time with family and friends or celebrating religious beliefs.

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