The magical holiday time with family gatherings and presents, as you remember it from your childhood, does not give the same feeling anymore for most of us.

It gets buried under long work hours – it is the end of the year and deadlines are piling up as fast as ever. After that, we rush to crowded shopping malls for those Christmas presents and attend all the Christmas dinners we have been invited to. We also decorate homes and prepare meals. Before we even notice, these little Holiday joys, that should feel cozy and relaxing, only add to the daily stress with which we have been dealing the whole year around.

It is a certain kind of phenomena and a number of researchers have looked for answers and solutions. Let us have a look at some of the most interesting ones.

It is no fun being a woman during holidays: According to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, women are more likely to fall victims to stress during the holiday season. The key reasons relate to increased amount of duties that females tend to take on – decorating home, preparing meals, shopping, gathering the family around and accommodating everyone. In addition, it is extra tough on lower middle income individuals, as they deal with extra work and finance related stress on a daily basis.

All those emotions: People do report many positive emotions too, like happiness, love, high spirits and connectedness. At the other end of the spectrum, however, there is stress, fatigue and irritability. Appears as if you cannot have one without the other.

What is to blame? Among many others, it is worth mentioning the lack of time, lack of money, the hype of commercialism, and lack of sunlight, which could lead to depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, in the APA’s 2012 Stress in America survey it was found that 69 percent of Americans attribute their stress to money related concerns and 61 percent attributed stress to the economy. This, combined with the pressure of giving and getting gifts, is a perfect recipe for an Emotional Molotov’s cocktail.

How do we deal with the holiday stress? Does excessive TV watching, sleeping, eating and drinking sound familiar to you? It is especially easy to indulge into bad habits with the excuse at hand – is this not what we are supposed to do during Christmas? Unfortunately, such behaviors may even increase your stress level, rather than decrease it. In many cases, it all comes to what the holidays mean to you and if you have your values and priorities set straight. Therefore, we should always remind ourselves that the way we often see Christmas is implied by profit seeking businesses and media.

Good to know: Among the most common stress relief methods, according to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, are listening to music, praying and reading. Many would agree that these are rather plausible methods, and if we add exercise and meditation, we might all enjoy a very merry Christmas this year.