From Gingerbread Dreams to Mommy Screams: Unwrapping the Truth About Parents and Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a time of joy, love, and togetherness. Ideally, It’s a time when families gather together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and create lasting memories. However, let’s be honest – it’s not always candy canes and matching pajamas! As much as we love our children, there are moments when they can drive us crazy, especially during the Christmas holiday. So, don’t feel guilty for feeling stressed as the holidays approach, and you know what? It’s okay if you secretly hate Christmas just a little bit. 

Too Much Sugar

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The holidays are notorious for sweets, treats, and all kinds of indulgent foods. While it’s fun to indulge in some festive snacks, too much sugar can lead to hyperactive and unruly behavior in children, which can be challenging for parents. It won’t make you the favorite parent, but limiting sugar intake might just be a life saver.


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With school out of session and many activities on hold, kids can quickly become bored during the holidays. This boredom can lead to misbehavior and frustration for both parents and children. Pre-plan fun activities or consider enrolling them in holiday camps or programs.

Sibling Rivalry

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With siblings spending more time together during the holidays, it’s common for tensions to arise. Sibling rivalry can lead to arguments, temper tantrums, and stress for parents who have to mediate constantly.

Lack of Routine

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The holiday season often means a break from regular schedules and routines. While this can be exciting for children, it can also throw them off balance and make them more prone to acting out. Admittedly, it is not easy, but try to maintain a routine as much as possible, even if it’s slightly different from the regular one.

Financial Stress

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Christmas can be an expensive time of year, and financial stress can take a toll on parents. Trying to provide the perfect holiday for their children while sticking to a budget can cause frustration and anger. Manage expectations by having open and honest conversations with your children about gift-giving and holiday plans.


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For some families, the holidays mean visiting relatives or going on vacation. While this can be exciting, it can also disrupt routines and cause stress for both parents and children. No one enjoys sleeping on an air mattress at Grandma’s house. 

Not Enough Sleep

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With all the excitement and late-night holiday events, kids may not be getting enough sleep during the Christmas season. This can lead to crankiness, tantrums, and irritability in children, which can be challenging for parents to handle. Set a bedtime routine and stick to it, even during the holidays. Getting enough sleep can make the holidays enjoyable. 


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From Christmas lights and decorations to loud holiday music and crowded shopping malls, the holidays can be a sensory overload for kids. This overstimulation can lead to meltdowns and irritability in children, causing frustration for parents. 

Disruptive Gifts

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While gifts are a big part of Christmas, some gifts can be more disruptive than others. Noisy toys or gadgets that require assembly and parental assistance can add to the chaos and stress of the holidays.

Fear of Santa

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For young children, the idea of meeting Santa and sitting on his lap can be daunting. This fear and anxiety can manifest in meltdowns and tears, making it difficult for parents to navigate the holiday season. 

Pressure to Create Traditions

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As parents, we often want to create special traditions and memories for our children during the holidays. However, this pressure to make everything perfect can lead to frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned.

Feeling Overwhelmed

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Last but not least, the combination of all these factors can leave parents feeling completely overwhelmed during the Christmas season. The stress of trying to meet everyone’s expectations while juggling daily responsibilities and holiday preparations can be overwhelming. Prioritize your own mental health and well-being by setting boundaries and taking breaks when needed. 

Let’s be honest: the holidays can make anyone cranky and exhausted. Maybe it’s time to admit that things need to change to create a more enjoyable and less frustrating holiday season.  After all, the holidays should be a time for love, joy, and family togetherness – not just stress and frustration.

The 2 Things You Need to Survive the Holiday Drama

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Okay, friends, the holidays are coming; who’s ready to run the gauntlet of stress and family drama?  Between the last-minute gift buying and feeling like you might as well pitch a tent at the grocery store, holidays are like running the hurdles at a high school track meet. Eventually, due to crushing fatigue, you don’t jump high enough and get whacked in the groin, launching yourself into the air and landing with a spectacular face plant!


Blended Families and The Holidays: Can It Be Enjoyable?

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You have re-married! Congratulations! Its incredible to be in love and happy again!! Your love story feels amazing. As a couple, you want to celebrate your new life, and you can’t wait to share blended family holidays!

Blended families are one of the most challenging and rewarding things about re-marriage. Often, one of the most destructive things to a second marriage is the stepchildren. Loyalties are triggered, birth parents feel defensive or embarrassed by their kid’s behavior, and the non-bio parent feels left out of rituals and memories of family history.

It can be a real circus.

This article written and syndicated by Midlife is Magical.

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Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.

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