Shocking Facts About the Financial and Social Cost of Christmas

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It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness, at least for most of us. But there are many dangers lurking underneath the joy of this season. There are spikes in accidents, illness and death, and for some Christmas is a season to dread and not to look forward to.

Christmas Trees

The Germans were the first to bring trees into their homes and decorate them in the spirit of Christmas. They were the ones to take this tradition to the US and it was from here it spread. But this is a costly and risky tradition.

Whether you opt for an artificial tree or a real tree like the popular Dunhill Fir or the White Spruce, there is an increased fire risk with all seasonal trees. As you can see from this video posted by the UK-based Fire Kills Campaign, it takes seconds for a Christmas tree fire to destroy a home. A simple faulty light or decoration can trigger this fire and your home and all of your possessions can be gone in 46 seconds.

With more lights being purchased every year, more of these being made in countries like China and more of them being made cheap and without the proper regulations, it’s no wonder that the damage to property is said to be around $20 million every year in the US, taking half a dozen lives.

Overindulgence

Everyone indulges it a little bit at Christmas and many of us are still feeling the effects well into the new year, some more than others. An increase in drug offenses, drink driving and anti-social behavior around the Christmas season in the UK was attributed to office parties and general indulgent behavior.

In the US it is much the same story, with an estimated 105 fatalities and over 11,000 injuries every Christmas Day from traffic accidents, an increase brought about by more people driving under the influence and driving tired.

And that’s before you factor in the problems caused by overeating and drinking. We’re more likely to buy fast food favorites, we’re more likely to overeat, to drink through the day and to do other things that have a negative impact on our health.

Suicide and Mental Illness

The belief that suicides increase during the holiday period is a myth and it is actually at its lowest in December. But mental health issues are thought to peak around this time of year as those feeling lonely are more affected by images of friendship and love, and those who have lost loved ones struggle to keep it together.

This is perhaps why there is a sharp rise in suicides after the Christmas season, peaking on New Years and then dropping again until the Spring, at which point they reach their highest levels. The fact that people eat more, drink more and exercise less also leaves them in a state of poor health, which can bring down their mental health as well.

Financial Strife

Money worries also have an impact on mental health, triggering insomnia, depression and stress, and when you’re struggling to make ends meet, Christmas is a day to dread. The average American household spends nearly $1,000 on Christmas Day, and this amount is increasing.

The fact that Christmas comes just a month after Thanksgiving, when Americans spend over $300 each further adds to the financial woes of the holiday season.

Break-Ups

Christmas is said to be one of the worst times of year for couples. Researchers were able to show that couples break up over the holidays. More divorce cases are filed, more new relationships end and it also seems to be a tricky time for friendships and family.

Christmas is clearly not all happiness and love for everyone.