These Are the Most Hated Holiday Traditions in America

The holidays are a time of joy and coming together. Unfortunately, spending time with loved ones isn’t the only thing we deal with during the holiday season. We put up with traditions we don’t like because they’re, well, traditions. No one wants to rock the boat by starting a new family tradition and cause a domino effect of family drama. We all know, no one needs more family drama during the holidays. Keep reading to find out what the most hated holiday traditions are in America.

Holiday shopping

Shoppers crowd the floor at Macy's the day after Thanksgiving November

Holiday shopping is basically a nightmare. | Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

One of the most hated traditions during the holidays is shopping. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 10% of respondents said they don’t like shopping during the holidays. Crowds and crowded stores took the no. 3 spot in the survey. They hated shopping because of the crowds of people that accompany holiday shopping.

Hint: Americans love to hate shopping on this day.

Black Friday

black friday stampede

People will fight over anything. | Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Black Friday is loathed so much, the day after Thanksgiving gets it’s own category separate from holiday shopping. Black Friday showcases two of the most hated holiday traditions wrapped up in one hectic day. Black Friday combines commercialism, materialism, and crowds. People fight each other for half off electronics and trample store employees.

Hint: Decking the halls isn’t as much fun as the songs make it sound.


It’s a whole thing now. | iStock/Getty Images

Today, it’s not enough to hang a banner in your house or plug in a small pre-lit decoration. Celebrating holidays means getting special pajamas, bedding, and coffee mugs. In the same survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 4% of respondents said they were looking forward to decorating during the holidays. It’s clear most people would rather do without holiday decorations.

Hint: Presents are the no. 1 focus during the holidays


toy store

It’s no longer about family, it’s about what your family gets you. | Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

The most disliked part of the holidays is commercialism/materialism, according to the Pew Research Center’s survey. 33% of respondents said that’s what they hate the most during the holidays. While this isn’t necessarily a family tradition, commercialism and materialism surrounding holidays have become the norm, they’re practically holiday traditions.

Hint: Don’t force employees to mingle with their coworkers.

Office parties

Christmas work party

You already spend every day with them. | Ulrik Tofte/iStock/Getty Images

People hate being at work longer than required. Office parties spent mingling with the same people employees see everyday isn’t exciting. A gift exchange makes the so-called “party” even worse. Not only do employees have to attend the party but they have to worry about finding the perfect gift for a co-worker they may not know well or even like.

Hint: This unusual tradition can be found in nearly every household in America.

Family drama

Family drama is unavoidable. | iStock/Getty Images

We know from reality shows, putting many people in a room together causes drama. The same goes for family gatherings during the holidays. Family members arguing over petty things is the last thing anyone wants to deal with during the holidays. The drama inevitably rears it’s ugly head like the bad holiday tradition it is, every year.

Hint: Another tradition dreaded by families across the nation.

Spending time with your in-laws

Family taking Christmas picture

Not everyone lucks out with the in-laws. | halfpoint/iStock/Getty Images

Blockbuster movies have been made about spending time with your in-laws. I’m talking about one film in particular — Meet the Parents starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. This movie encapsulates everything that’s bad about socializing with your in-laws during the holidays. Be thankful if your holiday gatherings don’t mimic Meet the Parents.

Hint: Don’t ask your twenty-something niece or nephew this question.

Fielding relationship questions

Woman at Christmas dinner

You can only be asked so many times before losing it. | jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

There are so many jokes about the question “Why are you single?” on the internet it’s actually sad how much stock we as a society put on being in a relationship. Do everyone in your family a favor and don’t ask them about their relationship whether they’re single or in a relationship. Chances are, if they’re up for sharing intimate details about their lives, they’ll volunteer the information.

Hint: Be nice to employees you meet while shopping because they can’t stand this one tradition.

Working during the holidays

Working during Christmas

It’s so hard to concentrate this time of year. | Anchiy/iStock/Getty Images

For those who don’t work traditional 9-5 jobs, this is hands down the most hated holiday tradition. Working during the holidays make them less enjoyable. Thought Catalog says, “your employer wants your existence to revolve around pushing sales and being available at all hours. A social life is non-existent during the holidays.” This sounds miserable and no way to spend the holiday season. Think Advisor echoes the sentiment saying one reader had to work 17 hours on Christmas Day to meet an end-of-the-year quota.

Hint: We consume these unappetizing food and drink items because it’s tradition.

Eating food we don’t like because it’s tradition

Christmas Pudding Slice, cake

Does anyone even like this? | iStock/Getty Images

At certain times of the year, we take it upon ourselves to fill our kitchens with seasonal eats like fruitcake and eggnog. To my knowledge, no individual truly enjoys the taste of either. They’re simply grocery items that have become synonymous with the holidays. They may have been holiday staples a hundred years ago, but food has come a long way since then.

Hint: Americans want to worry about one holiday at a time.

Starting holidays too early

Christmas starts in Octover these days. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Seeing holiday displays in stores too early is a shock to the system. Music starts after Halloween and seasonal lights brighten up homes on Thanksgiving. It’s the same throughout the entire year. Sunscreen is on shelves before the snow’s melted in the midwest and nd back-to-school sales start with a month left of summer. Stores promoting holidays six weeks in advance gives people no time to celebrate the current season.

Hint: Wrapping gifts may be worse than spending money on gifts themselves.

Wrapping gifts

Wrapping is a whole thing now. | iStock/Getty Images

Finding the best gift for a friend or family member is a great feeling. Wrapping said gift, on the other hand, can be a pain. For those buying unusually shaped items, wrapping is a challenge. To keep your sanity, wrap the item by placing it in a bag with tissue paper or slap a bow on the item. After all, isn’t it the thought that counts?

Hint: This holiday is the most over-rated.

New Year’s Eve celebrations

times square new year's eve

Is it ever actually as fun as you think it’s going to be? | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

People fall into two categories when ringing in the New Year. There’s one category of people who like to go out on New Year’s Eve to the fanciest restaurants or most popular bars. And another category of people who prefer to stay in, lay on their couch in their pajamas, and go to bed before midnight. The party-goers attempt to meet the over-hyped expectations while the those in the other category don’t try at all. Comedian John Oliver, courtesy of Vice, summed up New Year’s Eve perfectly. Oliver said, “You know it’s going to happen but somehow you’re never really prepared for how truly awful it is.”

Hint: People don’t like sharing cookies.

Cookie swap parties

christmas cookies

If you don’t like baking this is the worst tradition. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

For those who spend much of their time in the kitchen or watching Food Network, cookie swap parties are enjoyable. For those who don’t like baking, can’t bake, or have food allergies, cookie swaps are no fun at all. As one Cheat Sheeter pointed out, somehow every cookie on the tray ends up smelling like peppermint cookie brought to the swap. Yuck!

Hint: Gifting weird items is something no one likes.

White elephant gift exchange

woman holding up a gift

They’re mostly things no one wants anyways. | Tom Merton/iStock/Getty Images

Whatever this gift exchange goes by in your family, you know how it ends. Everyone leaves with random gifts they don’t need or want and will likely donate to charity or throw away. From years of participating in white elephant gift exchanges myself, finding an appropriate white elephant gift is tough. I’m guilty of gifting a Bath and Body Works candle and alcohol.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Read more: 17 of the Most Hated Actresses of All Time