Billions of people around the world are trying to celebrate this holiday season with ease and cheer. But why do the holidays always seem to end up sucking? Let’s start with waste. 8,000,000 tons of plastic enters the ocean every year, which is the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of trash in the ocean EVERY MINUTE. This problem becomes even more elevated every year during the holidays. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans throw out 25% more trash than during the rest of the year. In the UK alone, enough wrapping paper is used to wrap around the equator 9 times. The holidays are also bad for your heart! Heart specialists refer to this time of year as the ‘Merry Christmas Coronary’ or the ‘Happy New Year Heart Attack’. This is because there are consistently 1/3 more coronary deaths recorded in December and January, than there are from June to September. Cold weather CAN actually increase blood pressure, but researchers actually conducted these studies in the consistently warm Los Angeles. The reasons for these fatalities is more likely related to emotional stress, unhealthy eating and excess alcohol. Yes. we do eat and drink a LOT during the holidays… There have been several studies on weight gain associated with Christmas. Some studies found a minimum weight gain of half a pound, while others found a maximum of 3 pounds. These same studies claim it can take months to lose the weight. A U.S. report also monitored 450,000 DUI offenders and found that their drinking over the holiday season increased by 33%… There is so much pressure to have a holly, jolly season that experts think unrealistic expectations, pressure for perfection and comparing yourself to others can bring low moods; and depending on where you live, there can also be a lack of sunlight. The mechanism of seasonal affective disorder is not FULLY understood, but a decrease in sunlight can affect some people’s circadian rhythms; altering production of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. And finally, there’s the dwindling bank account. A U.S Gallup report found that this year in 2018, Americans can expect to spend $885 on gifts. While a Deloitte survey anticipates $1,536 in holiday shopping. This includes a 17-22% increase in online shopping. And despite your best efforts to get loved-ones something they like, 15% of recipients are unhappy with the gift they received. Economists refer to this as the deadweight loss of Christmas: where how much the gift giver pays losses anywhere from 10%, to 1/3 of the value; based on how much the receiver actually appreciates the gift. Thanks for watching! You can watch our video “Christmas Shopping w/ a Science Nerd” there, and our new Ariana Grande – “breathin” parody… there. Try to enjoy the holidays, even though now you know from a scientific perspective, they suck! And make sure you have subscribed for new science videos every Thursday. Peace!