Do you find the holiday season stressful? Do you tend to worry about money around this time of year? Do you try to watch what you eat but give yourself a little extra wiggle room counting calories over the holidays?
If you answered yes to those questions, then you have a lot in common with your fellow Healthline readers, according to a survey taken the week before Thanksgiving.
How would you describe your stress level during the holidays?
When we broke down the demographics, we found that 65 percent of respondents from generation X and 61 percent of millennials feel some stress during the holidays. About 62 percent of baby boomers fell into the same category.
What’s the greatest cause of stress during the holidays?
So what causes this annual agony? For nearly half of survey respondents, it’s finances.
Baby boomers were less likely to cite finances as a major holiday issue, but about 35 percent of them still listed money as their primary stressor. Managing to adhere to healthy habits and picking out gifts were a bigger concern for boomers than for other age groups.
As for generation X and millennials, they’ve got their mind on their money and their money on their mind: 53 percent of respondents from both generations listed finances as their number one source of stress.
The "other" stress-causing factors our readers mentioned included family drama, cooking meals, not being near family, and working in the retail industry.
It appears most Healthline readers are the hosts with the most. About 67 percent of respondents reported they host and prepare food for holiday get-togethers, while 33 percent said they go where the festivities are. Perhaps putting on a spread is another source of extra pressure during the holiday season.
How would you describe your holiday attitude?
You really have three choices at the dining table during the holidays:
- Watch what you eat, but don’t fret over it.
- Stay disciplined and count those calories.
For Healthline readers, a little restraint makes the most sense.
Millennials were the most likely to throw caution and calories to the wind. About 56 percent said they eat whatever they want.
For generation X and baby boomers, it’s more of a balancing act. About 62 percent of boomers said they watch what they eat but don’t count calories, while 53 percent of the X’ers said they did the same.
Accommodating Restricted Diets
It’s a dilemma faced by many people who are hosting a holiday meal: Uncle George is lactose intolerant, cousin Trisha is a vegetarian, and little Archer can’t eat nuts.
How do you accommodate those special needs in a vast holiday spread?
A majority of Healthline readers said they go out of their way in such situations. About 52 percent said they prepare special dishes such as gluten-free, sugar-free, or vegetarian foods for their guests.
Another 36 percent said they serve traditional foods and ask guests with special diets to bring a dish to share.
And 12 percent said it’s up to guests with special diets to bring their own food.
Vicki Moody Holbrook, a Healthline Facebook community member, said it’s important to serve a variety of foods at holiday gatherings.
“If you've invited a guest knowing that they have dietary restrictions, it would be rude not to accommodate their needs to some degree,” Holbrook wrote. “In addition to preparing a few dishes to meet their needs, I would also suggest that each guest bring one dish they deem a favorite.”