The Christmas holidays are undisputedly a stressful time, with tensions mounting as we draw nearer and nearer to the day. But just when does all that tension crescendo? At precisely 12:56 pm Christmas Day--this according to a British survey commissioned by Magimix, a premier food processing company.*
Why 12:56? And what is a food processing company's interest in Christmas stress anyway?
Well, it seems our stress comes to a peak at precisely the time most of us are preparing and/or serving our holiday meal. We manage to survive the madness of the malls, the terror of travel and traffic, the festivity fatigue, and the weariness of wrapping, only to be pushed over the edge by the holiday turkey and trimmings.
Almost half of Brits (47 per cent) say preparing the turkey, vegetables, and all the trimmings is the most demanding task they face on December 25.
This is because of the difficulty of timing everything right (33 per cent), and coping with interfering relatives (16 per cent).
Others are stressed by the effort required to chop, peel, baste, and mix (15 per cent), and struggling to squeeze everything in the oven (32 per cent).
The pressure is heaped on by the amount of time put into making sure everything is perfect, found the new study.
The average adult spends four hours 30 minutes preparing and cooking Christmas dinner. …
We first think about the meal on December 14 and then spend 14 hours worrying about it before preparations even start.
A spokesman from Magimix, who commissioned the survey, said: "Christmas cooking is becoming a real source of stress for the nation, with 12.56pm the time we're tipping over the edge."
'It's understandable that people want the most important meal of the year to be perfect but many of us are putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to impress family and friends."
*While the survey is based on British respondents, the US holiday frenzy is no less frantic.
All of the chopping, peeling, basting and mixing aside, it seems the thing that takes the largest toll is the pressure to make the "most important meal of the year ... perfect." The irony behind the pressure many feel this time of year is that Jesus came into the world to relieve our stress, to deliver us from the pressure to be perfect.
Christmas Day commemorates the day that God Himself stepped out of Eternity and into time and space … and the human condition … to begin His redemptive work on our behalf. We needn't put any unnecessary pressure on ourselves (whether earthly or spiritual) to impress anyone, least of all God.
Jesus' work in our behalf is perfect and complete, allowing us to find rest in Him.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29).