Christmas is six days away! My wife's birthday is tomorrow! My kids are on break. Life is good. Last Christmas, I worked at the hospital. This year, I have it off and even my school requirements are minimal.

But what about you? Chances are good that if there is more than a few people reading this post, they are actually more stressed right now, then they will be at any point in their life. The truth is that Christmas is a very stressful time for many people.

We say it's not about the gifts, but for too many that is exactly what it is about. They feel the pressure of having to buy gifts for extended family members, co-workers or others. Some people are feeling the pressure of being able to spend money on their immediate family. A few years ago my wife and I hit today (the 19th of December) with no real idea how we were going to pay for our kids gifts.

Then there's church. This past week I was told that I serve the devil (seriously) by a man who has never met me. We were on that wonderful communication medium known as Facebook. He was appalled that I have no intention of attending a church service on Christmas day (the fact that my church has a Christmas Eve but no Christmas day service didn't factor into the discussion much). Essentially, that person (who I am no longer connected to on Facebook) is exerting pressure on those around him that if they don't go to church on Christmas day, they are not good people and will most certainly face eternity in Hell.

Then there is the pressure of balancing work and the holidays. For instance, I do not work at the hospital this year but I would normally work the weekend of New Years. That means I will miss a day. That can cause pressure because now I have lost money I need to make up. 

There is no question that during the holiday season, pressures abound aplenty. Then there's family.

I recently had someone confide in me that she "just didn't really like her family." Another person told me that his wife's family "drove him crazy." I imagine that more family fights break out over the next three weeks than any other time of the year.

Why? Why is there stress with those we love most? Why do people seem so angry at a time of the year when it seems that we should be so happy. Well, of course, I have ideas about this but I want to know what you think. Tell me your ideas below. What is your story? How do you manage the stress of the holidays?

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  1. I think that stress comes from families not accepting each other for who they actually are. I get tired of my family wanting me to fit into their mold

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