'Tis the season to be jolly, but for many Americans this time of year isn't all eggnog and mistletoe. In fact, for some, the holidays can bring out the hidden Grinch.
In our latest Holiday Poll, a nationally representative survey of more than 1,100 adults, holiday shoppers shared what they dread most about the Yuletide season.
Topping the list by a wide margin were crowds and long lines, cited by 58 percent of respondents, followed by weight gain (41 percent), and aggressive drivers thoughtlessly tooling around parking lots (40 percent). Other angst inducers included getting into debt, gift shopping, seasonal music, lousy presents, and face-to-face get-togethers with certain relatives. The entire list appears below.
Women, in particular, said they dreaded holiday weight gain (47 percent vs. 34 percent of men). Desserts, pastries, and cookies singled out by all respondents as the treats all they overindulge in at this time of year.
Another holiday staple that many people said they'd rather not deal with are gift cards. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they'd prefer to receive cash instead.
For all the dreads, most Americans remain bitten by the holiday spirit. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they are enjoying or really enjoying the season, and many expressed a desire to slow down and take pleasure in the holidays even more by traveling less, simply being with family and friends, setting aside a bit more "me time" to relax, and attending fewer parties. (Twice as many men as women were bummed out about the holiday parties or events they had to attend.)
What do you dread most about the holiday season?*
- Crowds, long lines: 58%
- Weight gain: 41%
- Aggressive, thoughtless driving in parking lots: 40%
- Getting into debt: 30%
- Gift shopping: 20%
- Seasonal music: 14%
- Disappointing gifts: 13%
- Seeing certain relatives: 12%
- Traveling: 10%
- Having to attend holiday parties, gatherings or events: 9%
- Having to be nice: 4%
- Holiday tipping: 3%
*Total exceeds 100% since multiple responses were allowed.