Holidays can bring pressure, especially if you try to ‘make up’ for things missed

National News

The most wonderful time of the year can also lead to a lot of stress.

A new survey finds unrealistic holiday expectations are weighing on parents and children.

It turns out you may get more by doing less.

Stephanie Mortimore knows the holiday season can be hectic. She’s squeezing in some shopping with her son Eli and their friends.

“We have to decorate the house. we have to get all the gifts. We have to make sure the kids have a memorable holiday,” Mortimore said.

In December, it can feel like the to-do list is longer than Santa’s list.

Holidays can mean pressure.

“For sure,” Mortimore said. “And then you’re not sure if everybody always notices.”

A new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital national poll finds parents are worried their holiday stress may be taking away from holiday joy.

“A lot of them feel like that has a negative impact on their child’s enjoyment of the holidays,” according to Sarah Clark, co-director of the poll. “And that’s just so unfortunate.”

The poll shows nearly a third of parents are stressed during the holidays by extra shopping, balancing finances and especially keeping their family healthy. Moms are twice as likely as dads to experience high stress. And one in five parents believes their stress negatively affects their kids during the holiday season.

“I think in some families we’re trying to make up for some things missed over the last year or a year and a half. And I don’t really think that’s the approach that is going to be most helpful,” Clark said.

Experts say to make the season brighter, sit down as a family and ask what everyone really wants from Christmas. Keep your favorite traditions alive, but think about activities that you can cut or minimize.

Eli had his own priorities.

“The presents and the holiday spirit and the meals, I guess,” he said.

So check the to-do list twice, but try to trim some of the stress for more joy this season.

About 70% of parents say the best way to reduce holiday stress is to get some alone time.

More than half said listening to music helps.

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