Top things that trouble Americans during the Christmas holidays – do they also stress you?

MORE than a quarter of Americans think the last three months of the year are the most stressful, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents found people anticipate feeling 43 percent more stressed this holiday season than last year.

Men were more likely to say they’re stressed about the holidays than women (73 percent vs. 66 percent). And three-quarters of Gen Z said they’re stressed about the season compared to just over half of boomers.

This stress may be why over a quarter of respondents began shopping for this year’s gifts in September.

Their main concerns? Gifts being delivered late or getting lost in the mail (48 percent) and safety/health around in-person events and shopping (48 percent).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Walgreens, the survey also found that planning still makes a difference, as the respondents who don’t feel ready for the holiday season yet are also the least prepared to stay within their budget (37 percent) and to handle late or misplaced gift deliveries (28 percent).

To avoid incurring additional stress this time of year, four in five said they’ll be careful to watch their spending.

Shoppers are also getting creative with last-minute presents; while gift cards were the top pick among all generations, more Gen Zers are going for candy (49 percent) and greeting cards (44 percent) compared to those aged 41–56 (28 percent and 23 percent).

Respondents also plan to manage their holiday stress by shopping online instead of in-person (49 percent), buying holiday-related food and items ahead of time (47 percent), and visiting retailers that offer gift cards or discounts on future purchases (46 percent).

Daily necessities are topping shoppers’ lists of must-buy items; according to those polled, this year, the priority items people are looking to amass in advance of the holidays are personal care and beauty products (37 percent).

People also expect to stock up on canned goods or frozen meals (36 percent), health supplements and over-the-counter medications (35 percent) and candy (35 percent) before the festivities.

This year, shopping carts will likely be filled with clothing and accessories (39 percent), candy (36 percent) and children’s toys (34 percent) more so than electronics (20 percent).

The key to shoppers’ confidence may be in having a blueprint for their journey — nearly six in 10 have already made or will make a plan for shopping during this year's festivities.

Convenience is at the forefront of people’s minds, so much so that 57 percent are more likely to shop via pick-up or delivery this year than last year.

With half of respondents working in a hybrid environment, it’s no surprise that most of those respondents (28 percent) plan to combine in-person and online shopping.

But having more ways to shop can also lead to more budgeting slip-ups, which is likely why nearly two-thirds keep a closer eye on their credit card balance during the holiday season than any other time of year.

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