Many Americans Dread Seeing Relatives, Being Nice During Christmas

Some 35 million Americans dread having to be nice during the holidays. Other things people hate about this seemingly lovable time of the year are crowds, long lines and even seeing friends and relatives, according to a recent poll by Consumer Reports National Research Center.

When asked what they dread about the holiday season, 15 percent of the surveyed said it is indeed the necessity to be nice, putting it within the top 10 of apparently least fun elements of the Christmas season. Given that the survey was conducted on a “nationally representative sample of Americans,” the researchers calculated that some 35 million citizens feel this way.

Twenty-four percent said they dreaded seeing relatives and 16 percent that they did not look forward to attending holiday parties and events.

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But the top of the list is occupied by the common holiday nuisance – crowds and long lines. Sixty-eight percent of surveyed Americans said they dread that.

Other pet peeves that made the top 10 were: gaining weight and getting in debt, both at 37 percent; traveling at 25 percent and seasonal music at 23 percent. Nineteen percent of those surveyed dread receiving disappointing gifts.

Holiday shopping also made the list, and at fourth place at that, with 28 percent of participants dreading hitting the stores in order to buy gifts.

"For all the chatter about nostalgia, family fun and gift giving this time of year, many people don't like too much of a good thing," Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. "For many folks, the holidays are a lot like the Super Bowl. Even if you're not a football fan you watch the game because it's a big event. With the holidays, you may not like the game, but it's part and parcel of the season. It's just what we all do."

According to another recent poll from Consumer Reports, shoppers will spend 19 hours hunting for the right gifts this holiday season. That is four hours more than last year. However, a third of consumers will be spending less than they did last year, while just 15 percent will be spending more.

A minor fact that was not included in the study but might cause some pain as well is the fact that the bought gifts need to be wrapped. In case some shoppers thought they could skip that time-consuming step, there are scientifically-proven reasons to not do that. A recent study coming from Australia says that how we wrap presents tells a lot about us and there is a big chance we are being judged based on how we package gifts.

In her study, “Unwrapping the relevance of gift wrapping,” author Elizabeth Porublev from Victoria University in Melbourne identified three types of gift-wrappers: passionate wrappers, conventional wrappers and detached wrappers.

“Poor awareness of gift-wrapping norms meant detached wrappers were often judged for falling outside acceptable standards by the other groups - but not as much as non-wrappers, who were socially unacceptable by choice, ” Porublev wrote.

To add to the malaise for Christians who happen to not love Christmas, the holiday falls on a Sunday this year, which caused some to ask how many people would decide to skip the church service on that day, in order to enjoy the secular part of the holiday.

A report done by LifeWay Research last year showed that nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “many of the things I enjoy during the Christmas season have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ,” as CP reported.

Another possible annoyance among Americans this Christmas may be going to church. Since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, it appears that in the pews may be the last place some Americans will want to be. However, most pastors are planning for Christmas Day services anyway.

LifeWay's study of 1,000 Protestant pastors shows that 91 percent of those church leaders plan to have services on Christmas Day while 69 percent said they plan to host Christmas Eve services.

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