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Many NJ Residents Want To Skip Christmas [AUDIO]

You may love the holiday season, but a new study finds many of us would like to skip Christmas altogether if we had the choice.

Scott Barbour, Getty Images

A survey conducted by Think Finance, a financial services company, found 45 percent of those polled said the holidays are a source of extreme stress and strain on their finances, and they would be happy to skip Christmas completely.

Rutgers sociology professor Dr. Deborah Carr says, “I think it’s kind of a sad commentary on what we expect our holidays to be, and I think if you rephrased the question and asked people would you give up a delicious meal with family members you love, I suspect no one would say no, that they would not pass on it.”

She says, “We build tremendous expectations around the holidays, and there’s just tons of data showing that the holidays are among the most stressful time of year for most people…We expect people to get us gifts that we love, and there’s also pressure to buy gifts for every last family member – and that poses a real financial constrain on many people, and on top of that, there’s the expectation that you’ll have a wonderful family gathering, and we know that not all families are filled with love and affection at all times, so there’s also that social pressure to be with people one doesn’t particularly enjoy.”

Dr. Carr adds there are ways to approach the holiday season in a different way.

“For instance” she says, “In some families they’ll buy gifts just for children, or they’ll pull the name of one family member out of a hat and buy that one person a gift for 20 dollars…in most families there’s a big range of socio-economic resources, you might have one brother who’s a millionaire and another brother who’s struggling to make ends meet, and there’s no way they can match each other in the gift-giving…people who feel like they’re under so much pressure can ask themselves – what is it that they enjoy most about holidays from years past? And I bet very few people will focus on the gifts – so they’ll probably say it was a delicious meal, it was sitting around with family members.”

She suggests, “They focus on identifying those people, places and activities that they’ve enjoyed most in the past, and trying to replicate that now…family members will be in each other’s lives for a very long time, so maybe they’ll skip gifts this year, but they’ll make up for it in another year…take the pressure off, and get rid of any expectation of what the holidays should be, and just live it as it will be.”

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