Beneath the glittering façade of joy and festivity, there also lies a mix of offbeat, frustrating, and sometimes downright dislikable experiences that many of us encounter during the holidays.

Grinchy but relatable.

Those who express reservations about the holiday season are often unfairly labeled as “Grinches.” But the truth is that numerous aspects of holidays can be challenging. These irritating moments quietly coexist alongside the warmer and happier parts of the season. Though often left unspoken, they undeniably play a part in the holiday experience. Some traditions may be annoying (to you), but they are totally a part of the traditions of the holiday season. They contribute to the wild blend of chaos and excitement. After all, the holiday experience wouldn’t be complete without these ups and downs.

Holiday season chaos.

Most of us can probably agree about how annoying it is to argue over current events. This is especially true while trying to enjoy a meal. Has anyone ever had a productive debate during dinner? Additionally, the lead-up to these gatherings often involves dealing with aggressive drivers and enduring prolonged traffic congestion. It’s as if there is a noticeable decline in driving etiquette as December 1 approaches. Maybe we’re all just caught up in the holiday frenzy, or perhaps it’s the stress of gift shopping and company holiday parties making us a bit more road rage-y.

Nothing’s enjoyable about duking it out with a random shopper for the last batch of eggs or scrambling for those last-minute must-haves. Holidays always bring some kind of scarcity, whether it’s butter, sour cream, or that one toy your kid will throw a fit over if it’s missing. The worst part is you can never predict what’s going to run low. It’s like you’re stuck in this weird holiday shopping roulette.

To help ease the holiday stress that some people go through, we’ve put together a list of the top gripes and pet peeves during this season.

  • Lines for everything

    Navigating long lines during the holiday season can be an exercise in patience that even the most serene people find challenging. Whether at the grocery store, post office, or the local mall, the holiday rush seems to transform a quick errand into a long wait. A never-ending line is basically a holiday tradition in itself. Make sure your phone batteries are charged!

    View of happy shop assistant with customer in supermarket holding pineapple

    leaf/ Getty Images

  • Holiday music on repeat

    During the holiday season, the sounds of festive music fill the air, creating a warm and joyful atmosphere. It’s all fun and games until you realize you’ve heard Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” for the hundredth time. And then there’s “Jingle Bells,” another oldie but goodie. It’s like they’re on a never-ending loop, and you can’t help but wonder if there are only three holiday songs in existence.

    Frustrated young man in formalwear holding head in hands and keeping eyes closed while standing against white background

    g-stockstudio/ Getty Images

  • Working in retail

    Working in retail during the holiday season can feel like diving headfirst into a whirlwind of pure chaos. The stores are packed, shelves need constant restocking, and the card reader took an unexpected break. It’s a time where shoppers are frantically racing through the aisles, grabbing items, and forming lines that seem to snake around the store for miles. The employees working tirelessly to assist customers and maintain order are caught in the middle of this retail frenzy. While they do their best to provide a pleasant shopping experience, it’s important to remember that they would much rather be enjoying festive moments with their own families during this season. So be nice them! By the way, they really are listening to the same holiday songs on a loop for hours. Give them a break.

    Tired and unhappy employee felling a worried and anxious

    nicoletaionescu/ Getty Images

  • Shopping chaos

    Holiday shopping can undoubtedly be a hectic and, at times, frustrating experience. you’re at the store, on a mission to grab the last ingredient for Grandma’s famous holiday pie. But just as you’re about to reach for it, you lock eyes with a stranger who’s after the same thing. That moment is like a standoff in the Wild West, all over a bag of flour. Adding to the chaos, you may find empty shelves where popular items once stood, creating an unexpected obstacle in your quest.

    Shop assistant hanging notification of sold out goods in empty shelves in a grocery store

    Halfpoint/ Getty Images

  • Gifts

    Let’s dive into gifts. It’s the perfect way to demonstrate to our loved ones that we might not have the slightest clue about their preferences, principles, or hobbies. Even worse is when you receive a gift that strikes a profound emotional chord, bringing tears to your eyes. But then, you awkwardly hand over a $25 gift card to a place the giver will probably never visit or have any use for. It’s a gift-giving conundrum that we’ve all encountered at some point.

    Dissatisfied young woman waiting for good Christmas present, lady with disappointment opening box with surprise on background of xmas tree at living room. Female looking at camera incomprehensibly.

    dikushin/ Getty Images

  • Holiday travel

    Holiday travel presents unique challenges when the festive season is in full swing, whether you’re flying, driving, or using any other mode of transportation. The holiday rush is a reality, as travelers, often in great numbers, journey to their destinations. For instance, at airports, security lines can be incredibly long, and flights are typically operating at full capacity, or sometimes delayed.

    Passengers Inside the plane. Passengers sitting during the flight in economy class

    triocean/ Getty Images

  • Awkward office parties

    Office holiday parties have a knack for creating moments of both amusement and discomfort. They are the time when we willingly set aside our professional disparities, personality clashes, past workplace romances that didn’t quite pan out, competitive tensions, and various other workplace misgivings. All this to gather around with our co-workers and maybe some adult beverages, attempting to strike up friendly conversations while nibbling on homemade meatballs. It’s the one occasion where you’d better have your small talk ready. And moderate your intake, unless you want to be the subject of gossip the next day.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018. Team is celebrating holiday in modern office. Group of young business people are drinking champagne in coworking.

    diignat/ Getty Images

  • Uncomfortable family dinners

    Family dinners during the holiday season can take unexpected turns, turning into a theater of the awkward. Conversations can quickly veer into weird territory, be it heated debates about current events, the introduction of a new partner, or the subtle art of avoiding that one unpredictable relative who may or may not remember your family connection. Among these dynamics, there’s often an older family member who, after a few drinks, enthusiastically recounts your family history in a spirited, if slightly inebriated, manner. In these moments, you might discover surprising connections, like being loosely related to someone famous like Oprah Winfrey.

    Family overeating a big meal in a restaurant

    nicoletaionescu/ Getty Images

  • Holiday cards

    The pressure of sending out the perfect family holiday card is a holiday tradition in itself. Do you opt for the charming matching pajamas, a cozy rustic flannel theme, or perhaps the classic matching sweaters? Deciding can be a challenge, but even before you tackle that choice, your entire family must cooperate and wear the selected outfits. Then comes the meticulous process of addressing and sending out the cards, making sure not to overlook anyone. Because you definitely can’t risk your long-lost cousin not getting that family holiday card, even if you haven’t talked to them in ages.

    Christmas family holiday concept. Mother, baby and bored little girl wearing christmassy clothes.

    Voyagerix/ Getty Images

  • Elf on the shelf

    Many parents have reservations about holiday traditions such as Elf on the Shelf. For some, the idea of a toy that conveys the message that children are being monitored can be unsettling. Others are uneasy with the implication that good behavior should be solely motivated by the prospect of surveillance and receiving gifts. The lead-up to Christmas is already a whirlwind for parents, and the thought of adding another task to the to-do list can be daunting. The phrase “Oh no, I forgot to do something with the elf!” is common. However, the desire to witness the pure joy and excitement on their children’s faces often propels parents to engage in these “elf escapades” and share them on social media. Even if it’s done with a bit of friendly competition in mind. Yes, that one friend on Facebook who is taking it to the extreme.

    Vintage Knee Hugger Elf on Shelf Christmas Decoration

    Cindy Shebley/ Getty Images

  • Decorations

    Holiday decorations are a bittersweet mix of joy and occasional frustration during the holiday season. The simple act of untangling the Christmas lights can turn into an Olympic-level challenge, while assembling and decorating the tree often leads to moments where you get lost in the tinsel and frantically search for the tree topper. Accidentally breaking a cherished, fragile ornament that’s been a part of the family tradition for years can be heartbreaking. Taking everything down after the festivities have ended is another task that can feel daunting. Finding the right way to store all those holiday decorations for the next year can be a puzzle in itself.

    A frustrated woman can't get the christmas lights to untangle so she screams in anger

    rustycanuck/ Getty Images

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