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Survey: Having kids adds to enjoyment - and stress- of the holidays.

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More than half (56 percent) of parents put too much pressure on themselves to make the holidays perfect and nearly a third (29 percent) say their 'Polar Express' runs out of steam before the holidays arrive, finds a new survey of parents.

The survey conducted by 360 Public Relations and Mom Generations found that while nine in 10 parents look forward to the holidays and say they enjoy them more now that they have children, three-quarters of parents report that having kids in the picture makes the holidays more stressful.

The Holiday Highs and Lows 
We all have that crazy uncle or aunt. Still, spending time with family is what parents like best about the holidays. That's followed by decorating, spending time with friends, holiday parties and cooking/baking.

What are the most stressful parts of the holidays for parents? 
Try shopping, traveling, entertaining, cooking/baking and the overwhelming number of school events.

Managing Holiday Stress 
Parents surveyed employ some key strategies to manage holiday season stress, among them starting early.

More than one-quarter (28 percent) of parents report getting an early jump on the holidays, with 57 percent making their shopping and other lists in early fall; for some, even before back-to-school time. Very few parents (less than 3 percent) say they don't make lists.

When all else fails, parents bring out the eggnog: a full half (50 percent) of parents report drinking more during the holidays.

How can brands help? 
"As a working mother of three young boys, I know first-hand how stressful the holidays can be – from the myriad of school events, to last-minute shopping, cooking and late-night wrapping," said Caroline Pierce, director of 360PR's MomSquad. "Brands can quickly become holiday heroes by listening and providing solutions to parents, not simply adding to the clutter, and by enabling and accentuating more moments of pure joy and family fun."

With only one percent of parents reporting that they enjoy shopping during the holidays, it's imperative for retailers and brands to transform the holiday shopping experience to one that's more fun and easier.

Offering simple short-cuts (free gift-wrapping, for example), rewards (a gift-with-purchase just for mom and dad – after all, parents have wish lists, too), and resources to help parents get and stay organized (leveraging social media) are all potential wins for brands.

Shopping and Social Media 
Millennial moms have 3.4 social media accounts and spend 17.4 hours per week on their social channels, on average. Three quarters of parents report that Facebook is the social media platform they use most frequently, followed by Instagram (16.6 percent).

Survey Methodology
"A Parent Perspective on the Holidays" survey was conducted online with 300 U.S. parents of children ages 0-18. 360 Public Relations designed and fielded the survey in collaboration with Mom Generations during the period August-November 2016.

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