Photos show why holidays can be the actual worst sometimes

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Christmas lights are pretty, but some people leave them up long after the holiday is over. MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/Getty Images
  • Holidays, like Christmas,Halloween, or Thanksgiving can be some of the most joyous times of the year.
  • The family time, the memories made – there’s a reason why we look forward to them.
  • But they’re not without their drawbacks like large and inebriated crowds, god-awful colour schemes, annoying obligations, financial burdens, and ridiculous travel conditions.
  • Maybe Ebenezer Scrooge was onto something with his “Humbug” attitude.
  • Here’s why holidays can be the actual worst.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Holidays can be the happiest times of the year.

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But they’re not without their downsides.

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They can be rife with annoying obligations, family drama …

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… and god-awful colour schemes, like the garish, swampy green that is practically inescapable throughout the month of March, thanks to St. Patrick’s Day.

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Christmas isn’t all jingle bells and mistletoe.

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For starters, the Christmas season is the most stressful time of the year for some.

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The 1992 movie ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’ IMDb/20th Century Fox

Source: CNBC


There are presents to be bought and wrapped …

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… holiday cards to send out …

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… and decorations to put up.

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So maybe those who dread the December holiday have reason to do so.

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Jim Carrey in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ in 2000. IMDb/Universal Pictures

Source: Psychology Today


And the financial burden doesn’t help, either.

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Shoppers in the US planned to shell out an average of $US929 for holiday gifts as of 2018.

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Source: The Motley Fool


And not only is travel absolutely chaotic during the holiday season, but it’s also way more expensive due to high demand.

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The 1992 movie ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’ IMDb/20th Century Fox

Source: CNN


On top of that, going home for the holidays can be a stressor in and of itself if you’re forced to see family that you’re maybe not too fond of.

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We all have a Cousin Eddie, like in ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’ IMDb/Warner Bros.

You’ll be subjected to awkward photos with them, even if you barely know them.

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You’ll likely be peppered with questions, especially if you’re single …

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Being the single sibling, sans a partner and kids, makes you an easy target. IMDb/Screen Gems

… which can be difficult throughout the holidays.

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Cuffing season, which colloquially refers to the fall and winter period when single people yearn for a relationship, is a very real thing.

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Source: Refinery29


But if you are in a relationship and decide to bring your significant other home to meet your family, it’s bound to be awkward, too.

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The 2005 movie ‘The Family Stone.’ IMDb/20th Century Fox

Though there’s always a good chance that you might not have to deal with that — the two-week period before Christmas is also one of the most popular times of the year for breakups.

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Cameron Diaz’s character in ‘The Holiday’ called it off before whisking herself on a Christmas vacation. YouTube/Universal Pictures

Source: Coffee Meets Bagel


Either way, if you’re travelling home, you’ll likely be forced to stay in your childhood bedroom, which can feel a bit like this.

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Will Ferrell in ‘Elf’ in 2003. IMDb/Warner Bros.

Your family will likely insist on Christmas movies and songs playing on a loop, which will definitely get old after a while.

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You can only take so much of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You.’ Mat Hayward/Getty Images for Sugar Factory American Brasserie

New Year’s Eve brings it own share of drawbacks.

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For some, it’s having to shop for an obnoxiously shiny outfit that you’ll wear the night of December 31 and then proceed to never wear again.

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New Year’s Eve is arguably the holiday that comes with the most pressure to have a knock-out night ringing in the new year …

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… which means it’s easy for the night to fall short of expectations.

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In colder climates, it will probably be too unbearably chilly to show off your cute, overpriced, sparkly outfit.

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No matter where you go, it will be crowded with other celebrators.

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And every party starts way too late since the holiday’s climax falls at midnight.

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Can we go home now? Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The drink of choice for the night, Champagne, is way too expensive.

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I’ll take a $US3 beer please and thanks. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

And let’s not forget the inevitable hangover the next morning …

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… which is even worse if you have to work the next day. New Years Day isn’t a guaranteed day off.

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Source: Time and Date


If you’re single, you’re left to watch others make out around you …

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… which can make you painfully aware of how single you are.

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It’s not uncommon for a proposal to go down right in front of you either.

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What’s leftover after the clock strikes 12 is a giant heaping mess.

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The New Year’s Eve bash of 2018 left 50 tons of debris in New York’s Times Square.

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Source: Huffington Post


Maybe do yourself and the planet a favour and try staying in next New Year’s Eve.

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Save your money for another holiday …

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… like Valentine’s Day.

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But if you’re planning to fully participate in the day of love, get ready to spend an average of around $US136.57 on Valentine’s Day paraphernalia and activities.

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Source: USA Today


The cards, the large dinner bills at fancy restaurants …

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… the gifts, the candy — it can be a headache when you have a sweetheart to celebrate with on Valentine’s Day.

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And while the gift-giving is a kind gesture, sometimes it entails lugging around a larger-than-life teddy bear.

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I mean, really, what are you going to do with a stuffed animal that big?

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Of course, it can be a whole other case of annoyance or melancholy if you’re spending the holiday alone eating candy by yourself.

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Jessica Biel in ‘Valentine’s Day’ in 2010. IMDb/Warner Bros.

But at least you’re spared the mounting pressure to step things up for your significant other on the day of love …

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… which may or may not include a proposal.

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But then again, your relationship might just go the opposite route — Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year to break up with your significant other.

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Source: Coffee Meets Bagel


And don’t even start with the colour scheme — the loud mashup of pink and red gets to be blinding at a certain point.

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As is the hangover that comes with celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — it can become quite the rowdy affair …

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… that involves unhealthy amounts of alcohol consumption.

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An average of 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Source: INSIDER


And that’s just Guinness — other beers, some that are dyed green, are also a go-to.

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All in all, beer and St. Patrick’s Day tend to go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense that the holiday is the fourth most popular drinking day in America.

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Source: INSIDER


That can’t be good on your liver.

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The holiday is also known for celebrators sporting the gaudy, green colour in every shape and form for the Irish holiday on March 17.

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People love to dye things green — even their pets, which probably isn’t fun for them.

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Parades with the family can be fun, but not if you have to stand in the rain or snow waiting for parade floats to go by.

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Snow and rain can definitely put a damper on a festive St. Patrick’s Day parade. John McConnico/AP

And if bagpipes aren’t your thing, too bad — the boisterous sounds will echo pretty much everywhere you go.

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And you’ll constantly run into people dressed up as leprechauns.

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But as far as fictitious characters go, they’re not as creepy as the Easter bunny.

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The furry creatures are found everywhere, in the form of chocolates, in shopping malls, throughout the month of April.

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The fashion at the annual Easter Parade in New York can be equally unsettling.

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The long-standing tradition sees hundreds pour down New York’s Fifth Avenue dressed to the nines in ghastly headdresses sporting flora, fauna …

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… and lots of pastel colours.

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It’s a colour scheme that’s hard to escape in April.

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As is confetti, thanks to the Easter tradition of cracking open eggs filled with the stuff on top of people’s heads, which hurts worse than they lead you to believe, by the way.

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There are lots of holiday traditions that are grossly overrated, like carving pumpkins on Halloween.

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Preparing a Jack O’ Lantern has got to be one of the grossest things ever.

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And while you might envision creating something intricate and interesting …

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… you’ll probably wind up with something more like this.

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And then once October 31 has come and gone, you’re left with a heaping, rotting mess on your doorstep …

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… unless some hooligan has already smashed your pumpkin in the street.

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Deciding on a Halloween costume can definitely be fun, but it can also be exhausting.

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Should you be something sexy …

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… or clever …

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… or don a good, old-fashioned scary get-up?

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If it’s cold out, you might get chilly with your midriff exposed.

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The glaring cultural appropriation is offensive.

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And a lot of the time, the people you run into on Halloween will have put zero effort into their costume even though you went all out.

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#youtried Eli Christman/Flickr

But no matter what costume you go with, it’s bound to be expensive if you buy it in a Halloween shop.

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The holiday overall is an expensive one, with the average Halloween participant spending $US86.79 on candy, decorations, and costumes.

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Source: National Retail Federation


If you’re not into haunted houses, too bad — your friends will probably try to drag you to one anyway, since they’re the ultimate pastime during the month of October.

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During the Halloween season, sometimes-scary ads for new horror movies are unavoidable.

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‘Halloween’ in 2018. Universal Pictures/IMDb

There can also be so much pressure to nail down an invite to a Halloween party.

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And when Halloween falls on a weekday, you’re forced to either take it easy with that night’s booze-filled festivities …

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… or live with the consequences in the office the next morning.

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Thanksgiving — a day of gratitude — can also be a day of stress.

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If you can’t be with your family on Thanksgiving, you might have to settle for a “Friendsgiving” and spend the holiday with the same people you see all the time.

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And if you can make it home for Thanksgiving, fair warning — the holiday sees some of the busiest traffic of the year.

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Source: USA Today


The American Automobile Association (AAA) projects 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving.

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Steve Martin in ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ in 1987. IMDb/Paramount Pictures

Source: AAA


When it’s time to start preparing the turkey feast with your family, forgetting something is out of the question — the grocery store will undoubtedly be packed with people seeking last-minute dinner items … or it will be closed.

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If you’re one of the younger adults of the group, you might have to sit at the kids’ table with all the youngsters.

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You may also be recruited to handle the massive amount of dirty dishes after Thanksgiving dinner.

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And if you’re not, you’ll wind up slowly slipping into a food coma …

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… that is, if you can nap through the noise of a football game that you’ll be forced to watch, even if you don’t want to.

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Leftovers are great the first day you eat them — but you could be eating Thanksgiving leftovers for weeks.

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And the apocalyptic shopping showdown that is Black Friday is arguably the worst way to spend the day after Thanksgiving.

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You’ll also get whiplash from how quickly the world transitions from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

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Christmas decorations fill a Macy’s department store the day after Thanksgiving on Black Friday in 2003. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images


All in all, the holidays can definitely be a stress-filled bummer. But, it’s important to keep in mind that they also have the potential to be days filled with love, family, and good vibes all around.

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HRH Prince Charles poses with son Prince William at the start of their annual skiing holiday in Switzerland. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Read more:

Photos show what holidays look like around the world

15 reasons why we’re obsessed with Christmas – and why you should be too

25 reasons why Thanksgiving is our favourite holiday

25 reasons why Halloween is our favourite holiday