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We asked you to send us stories of your worst holiday stress stories. Some were sad, some were funny, and some were poignant. We did pick a winner…and our winner will receive a $200 gas card.

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Thanks for sending so many great entries. Here are a few of the best.


Leanne P. says we should do more than look at the glass as half full; we should forget negativity and enjoy the holidays for what they are:

"As I read the request to share my best holiday stress story, I realized that perhaps we play a large role in making this season stressful simply by focusing on the stressful aspects of the season instead of focusing on what makes this season magical. Sure there's lots to do, more money to spend than we can afford and people we'd rather not see, but let's face it -- you can put a positive spin on anything and I think this season is worthy of making a valiant effort to do just that.

"Racing around town in stop and go traffic is something we do every day, but during this time of year, we're surrounded by beautiful sparkling lights and Christmas trees atop every car. Sure we're spending more money than we'd like, which could be particularly stressful in this economy, but haven't we learned that it's better to give than to receive and it's the thought that counts? Gifts need not be extravagant, but simply thoughtful.

"And the people? For the most part, these people are your family. You can't pick them, you're born with them and believe it -- they're the ones that will be there when you really need them -- as crazy as they are. And how often do you actually have to see them? Once or twice a year. Make the best of it and enjoy them for who they are.

"So take the time to enjoy this time of year and see in it what's special. Perhaps if we stop talking about how stressful it is, we can actually turn the tide and stop saying bah humbug and actually enjoy it. Happy Holidays to all!"

As always, we received plenty of response. Here are some entries we liked best.

FS Holiday stress contest winner tree

Gramma was always independent and stubborn

"One Christmas Eve, my father came home to find Gram on top of the Christmas tree rolling around on the floor! He picked her up, and she ran upstairs and locked herself in her room all Christmas day. Talk about a stressful Christmas trying to convince Gram to join the family for festivities. When Dad told us what happened, we figured out she must have been trying to adjust a tree ornament and lost her balance. Needless to say, because she was actually ’caught-in-the-act,’ it still makes us laugh. We loved her, and her stubbornness, so!"

Bye-bye Christmas Tree

"Every Christmas as my two daughters were getting older, I dreaded dragging out all the boxes of ornaments, lights, etc. My youngest daughter, who was about 10 at the time, always loved heading out to pick out a Christmas tree so she could decorate it. Off we went and packed a huge beautiful tree into the family Neon. We got the tree home, sawed off the bottom, and put it in the stand. We struggled to get the tree into the house, but finally got it in place and started the decoration process. While hanging the lights the tree toppled over and my blood pressure started to rise. The tree fell a few more times during the decoration process and, with each fall, I said a few more choice words. Finally, the tree was stabilized and decorated. My daughter decided to take a nap on the floor beside her prized tree. I headed to the kitchen to finally start dinner. Suddenly I hear a rustling, then a loud noise. I run to the living room and there was my daughter asleep on the floor with the Christmas tree on top of her! I grabbed the tree from the top and started dragging it through the house to the back yard. I threw the tree outside, decorations and all and it stayed there until the New Year!"

What Really Matters

"By late October of this year I was already feeling the stress of the holidays. I was trying to decide what gifts to get the bus driver, the kids' teachers, the office staff at my kids' schools. My list was endless. And my funds were not! Then my 43-year-old husband had a heart attack. The holiday stress went away only to be replaced with the stress of eating better, lifestyle changes, and facing the holidays filled with cream-filled this and yummy that. Then my faith kicked in. I remembered what was really important. I purchased thoughtful gifts for only those closest to me, I mailed out holiday cards days before Christmas, instead of the first week in December. The kids wrote thoughtful notes to teachers. We learned a lot this holiday season. It’s not how much you give or spend."

Don’t forget to check out our next contest, How Well Do You Know Yourself?