It’s not one of those over-stated holiday myths.  There really is the presence of “Christmas stress” in our lives.  There’s a lot of pressure. 

Friendswood-based psychologist Julie Nise says we always feel obligation to make every Christmas holiday better than the last.  That’s not possible every time.

“Here we are not even Halloween yet, and then we’ve got Christmas stuff up all over the place,” she says.  “It just reminds us of all the things we have to do, and that starts to put some pressure on us.”

Nice says the Christmas pressure is a bigger deal in this country than in others.

“I think other countries tend to be a little more connected to their faith than we are here and therefore makes the holidays a lot more about the religious experience,” she explains, “rather than the presents and the parties and the go-to things.”

We apparently deal with the stress by spending more.  Fifty-six percent of us expect to spend as much as last year – or more.  Ninety percent will do at least some shopping online.