Women Experience More Holiday Stress Than Men, Study Says

ByABC News via logo
December 14, 2006, 9:16 AM

Dec. 14, 2006 — -- Shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating. More shopping.

Not surprisingly, many people are stressed out by all they have to get done this time of year, according to a new study by the American Psychological Association.

Bakery owner Heather Haviland, from the New York City area, was so stressed out one night she broke down after a 16-hour day.

"I was driving home really tired and looking at the houses with all the lights, and next thing I know I'm crying because I'd love to have the time to put up lights," Haviland said.

A lot of the women we spoke to at the Manhattan Mall agreed with another finding from the survey: Women bear the brunt of the stress.

"Men depend on the wives and moms and sisters to do it. That's just the way it is," said shopper Adelene Adino.

Tony Dininno's carefree attitude backed up that claim. "Oh no, I'm not stressed at all," he said.

To be fair, some men get stressed out, just not as much.

"My husband got one single postcard from the jewelry store down the street saying, 'Hey, Bob, we serve free martinis on Christmas Eve,' and that's all he needs to know," said Lisa Earle McLeod, author of "Forget Perfect."

So how do we deal with all the stress? The survey says we drink, we eat too much, or if you're like Dee Henderson, you lay down the law.

"You have to get a list from everybody, and you put a deadline on it," Henderson said. "If they don't have the list, they don't get anything. Tough love!"

But would any of these shoppers give up Christmas just to have less stress? Not a chance.

"All of the stress goes away that morning when they open everything up and say, 'Mom, you rock,'" Helena Ridgeway said. "You know, it makes it worth it."

To make this time of year a little more joyful, experts say you should be realistic and not set such high standards for a perfect holiday.

If holiday shopping stresses you out, know your spending limits and stick to them.