You want the children in matching pajamas for Christmas cards. You want the perfect plate of Christmas cookies for Santa. You want a beautifully decorated home for the holidays. You want polite, grateful kids who are thankful for visits with Grand-ma and Grand-pa. You want the prefect Instagram-worthy smile as the kiddos sit on Santa's lap. You want good moods and high energy but well-behaved children as you scoot around town to parties, gatherings and events. You want the MOST delicious Christmas meal anyone has ever tasted. You want a lovely display of presents neatly wrapped under the tree. You want engaged children at church. You want everyone healthy and happy and to do it all within budget.

You want it all! Guess what? You're ruining Christmas.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
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A new study from the University of Michigan states that 20% of parents are ruining the holidays for their kids due to holiday stresses.

One in five parents admitted their stress likely negatively impacts their children's enjoyment of the holidays, according to a C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at University of Michigan Health.

Sarah Clark, a research scientist in the department of pediatrics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and co-director of the C.S. Mott poll says parents can set unrealistic expectations of how the holiday season should be. Clark stated,
"Something parents should keep in mind is that adhering to traditions is not always what is most important to the kids and definitely adds to that holiday stress."
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Who is the most stressed about Christmas?

Twice as many mothers than fathers report high levels of holiday stress. 1 in 3 parents are relieved when their child goes back to school after the holiday break.

Parents point to several aspects of this holiday season that are very likely to cause them stress, including extra shopping/holiday tasks (31%), keeping family members healthy (30%), household finances (29%), planning for family gatherings (23%), making special holiday meals (22%), and criticism from family members about holiday plans (14%).

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How Can You Alleviate Holiday Stress?

Parents should ask open-ended questions such as "What did you like best?" or "What do you remember from other holiday seasons?"

Parents in this Mott Poll offered a variety of ways to relieve stress, from listening to music to exercising. Also, verbalizing your stress amount will help you recognize it,  therefore change it. Ask for help or eliminate tasks altogether.

John Duffy, clinical psychologist in Chicago says to get into the Christmas spirit sooner, therefore, you'll give yourself more time to get it all done which equals a slower pace and patience.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
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The holiday season is often described as joyful, happy, peaceful, merry...If you want all of the smiles, giggles and memories...chill out. Do less. It doesn't have to be perfect.

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