The holidays really are the most wonderful time of the year. With all the wonderful smells of cookies baking and ham roasting, families gathering round the Christmas tree, and enjoying evenings with hot chocolate watching our favorite Christmas movies, what’s not to love?
Apparently, a lot.
Over the past few months, I’ve been asking many of you to participate in a longitudinal study about attitudes toward kids and alcohol as part of my role as a #TalkEarly blogger (and THANK YOU to those who did!). And the results* couldn’t have been more timely.
You do find the holidays stressful but you do also have a lot of different ways to cope with that stress.
Americans, especially parents with kids ages 18 and younger, report higher levels of stress during the holiday season
- 51% of parents with kids ages 18 and younger report stress due to holidays
Yep. That’s me. But here’s what’s interesting.
- There is no significant difference in the level of holiday stress among moms (39%) compared to dads (36%). However, moms and dads managed the stress differently.
First of all, I’m thinking what does HE have to be stressed about? I’m the one that does ALL the decorating and ALL the shopping. But regardless of why they feel the stress, moms and dads do have different coping mechanisms.
How do moms vs. dads manage holiday stress differently?
- An overwhelming 50% of moms reported coping with holiday stress by focusing on what’s important.
- Over 1/4 of dads reported managing stress with alcohol.
- One-fifth of dads reported managing stress by delegating to a spouse/significant other.
Yes, yes, and yes, for the most part.
But it is a wonderful time of year. The houses are decorated in lights, the gifts are being lovingly exchanged, and it’s a time to stop and reflect on the year. So why so stressed?
What causes stress?
- 58% reported not having enough time
- 56% reported finances/money
- 48% reported family
- 25% reported holiday activities/parties
- 10% indicated everything about the holidays is stressful
- Two-thirds of moms cited financial worries vs. 51% of dads but overall parents are more stressed about finances and money than those without kids.
- One-third of moms reported being more stressed by family, especially cooking and planning meals vs. 13% of dads.
And this is where I can start to relate to some of the stress. Just this weekend, I hosted a holiday book club at my house, a small dinner party, and attended a cookie exchange. I felt pretty exhausted even though it’s all “fun” holiday activity. I definitely fit the bill in some of these stress categories.
But what I see even more (and I’m definitely inferring here) is that people want to provide their families a good Christmas. They want the time and the money to do it right. And if you can’t change either of those things, how can you make it less stressful?
How are we coping with holiday stress?
- 41% reported focusing on what’s important – YES!
- 32% listening to music – Even I like some Christmas music now and then
- 30% take time for themselves – Absolutely! I even wrote about it!
- 22% drink alcohol – Um, yes
- 21% exercise – Um, no. But I think about it.
- 21% eat – Duh
While I try not to overindulge, I think it’s fine to enjoy food and drink and even alcohol, if that’s your thing. So how do you make sure that you de-stress and stay responsible? Read some of these sobering facts.
Holiday celebrations & alcohol responsibility
- 60% of Americans report that alcohol is a part of their family traditions around the holidays.
- Almost three-quarters of parents with kids 18 and younger reported alcohol is a part of celebrations while 51% of parents with kids over 18 reported alcohol is a part of the celebration.
- 47% of Americans plan ahead for transportation when hosting/attending parties.
- 32% of Americans, say they rarely or never plan ahead for transportation when hosting/attending parties.
- Two thirds of parents with children ages 18 and younger make transportation arrangements ahead of time while only one-third of parents with kids over 18 report making transportation arrangements ahead of time when attending/hosting holiday parties.
- 16% of adults report they have driven after drinking too much.
- 26% of parents with kids 18 or younger reported driving a vehicle on at least 1 occasion in the past 12 months after drinking too much.
- 63% of respondents who said they did drink and drive with their kids in the vehicle reported driving after drinking too much in the past 12 months.
If you plan to make alcohol part of your holidays, take a few of my pieces of advice.
- Enjoy parties with your neighbors. It’s a great time to get to know them, spread holiday cheer, and know that everyone will typically be within walking distance (no issues with driving).
- Have some rules set up with your spouse about attending parties. Our general rule is this: if it’s your party (work, friends, etc.), you don’t have to worry about driving. If it’s my party, the opposite is true.
- Remember that your kids are always watching. Provide festive drinks for the kids and show them how fun and responsibility can work together around the holidays.
I’d love to hear how you feel about the holidays. Happy? Stressed? All of the above?
Also, it’s not too late to join this important and ongoing discussion about alcohol responsibility by sharing your thoughts and opinions about how to have or start conversations with your children around alcohol responsibility! You can participate in the third wave of this survey through this link: http://go-faar.org/1ylAAwy Participants will be entered into a drawing for more than $5K in prizes!
*SOURCE: Toluna for Responsibility.org, September 2014
As a member of the #TalkEarly parent blogger team, this post is part of a campaign sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own.