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What Are the Effects of Christmas on Health?

Christmas can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression in some people.
An abundance of leftover holiday food should not provide an excuse to overeat.
People are more likely to drink during the holidays.
People are more likely to eat unhealthy foods, like cookies, during Christmas.
Long winter nights can contribute to a sense of depression during the holiday season.
Article Details
  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The effects of Christmas on health can vary depending on an individual's perception of and reaction to the season, but in general, the holiday season can actually be detrimental to health. This can occur for a number of different reasons; first, people are more likely to eat and drink to excess during the holidays, which can lead to weight gain and difficulty sleeping. In addition, some people find that they get more depressed around the holiday season, or may feel increased loneliness or anxiety, which is another way that Christmas can have a negative impact on health.

Over indulging with food and alcohol are one of the most common negative effects of Christmas on health. People are more likely to eat unhealthy foods around the holidays, such as chips and dip, or Christmas cookies, just to name a few. These types of foods can cause weight gain and lead to increases in cholesterol, which could even contribute to heart disease; combined with overexertion from shoveling snow at this time of year, this could lead to a heart attack. Drinking to excess also leads to detrimental effects of Christmas on health, can contribute to feelings of fatigue throughout the day, and may also make car accidents more likely.

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Some people also find that stress, anxiety, or feelings of depression increase around the holidays. This can occur for a number of reasons; individuals might feel pressured to spend money they don't have on gifts, they might feel lonely if they do not have someone to share the holidays with, or they might feel stressed about spending time with family. These are all examples of the potential negative impact of Christmas on health; on top of the overall negative effects of depression and anxiety, these conditions may also exacerbate the problems of drinking and overeating already discussed. Some people find that attending therapy can help them to deal with their feelings that arise during this time of year.

Of course, the effect of Christmas on health does not need to be a negative one. These negative effects can be mitigated by watching what one chooses to eat and drink, and consciously trying to make healthy choices throughout the season. Keeping up with exercise may also help reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, making a budget and trying to stick to it may be able to help with money related stresses; some people find that doing a Secret Santa gift exchange within the family is a good option, for example. This is because it allows people to buy a gift for just one person rather than for everyone in the family.

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Ana1234
Post 3

To me, the most important thing to remember about Christmas is that it is only one day. That applies to a lot of different things. It's only one day, so it's OK to indulge yourself a little bit. It's only one day, so it's OK if everything doesn't go completely to plan. It's only one day, so if you don't get the perfect present from your loved one, that's not a big deal because you know they show their love all the other days of the year.

The only aspect I wouldn't apply this to is Christmas holiday safety, especially if you've got family coming over or you're traveling somewhere new. Keep the ages of the kids that will be in your home in mind, because you might need to child-proof some areas. Make sure people know about that tricky stair that your family all takes for granted. But mostly, be kind to each other. It's only one day.

irontoenail
Post 2

@Mor - It's easy to say that, but not so easy to do it, particularly if you are hosting other people. Last Christmas we had a lot of family over and we just kept forgetting things that we needed from the store, like extra ingredients or napkins or whatever.

And, of course, we almost always forget the batteries that the kids need for their new toys.

My best Christmas health tip would be to have someone else host the holiday! It must be much more relaxing to just be able to show up and have them do most of the work.

Mor
Post 1

I think Christmas can actually be good for the health as long as you don't take it too seriously and try to plan ahead as much as possible. A lot of stress comes from everyone trying to do the same things at once, so that supermarkets and malls and other stores are completely crowded and there is a lot of road rage because of traffic jams.

If you know that kind of thing really gets to you, then try to make sure that you've got everything you need before the week of Christmas, so that you don't have to go out for it.

Often the stores will be open extra late as well, so another option is to go shopping as late as possible, so that you can avoid the crowds. I think this helps as a Christmas safety tip as well, since I'm sure more accidents happen around Christmas because of all the crowds.

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