Christmas: Divorce, Debt and 4 Shocking Facts You Need to Know - Dispatch Weekly

December 6, 2016 - Reading time: 10 minutes

Christmas might be a time of joy for some but for others it can be a nightmare. Here are 4 shocking facts about Christmas you need to know and some tips on what you can do to survive this festive season.

Skyrocketing Divorce Rates

Divorce rates shoot up by so much after Christmas that lawyers refer to the first Monday of each year as Divorce Monday.

James McLaren, partner at McLaren and Lee, Columbia S.C., told MarketWatch:

“The number of filings is one-third more than normal. That begins in January and probably goes into early March.”

What were some of the reasons couples chose to divorce post-holiday season? Shockingly almost 40 percent of people did so over the gifts they were given by their partners.

Be wary of whose side you decide to take when Trump inevitably comes up at the dinner table this Christmas. Almost half of married couples anticipate that arguments with their in-laws will affect their decision to seek divorce.

In 2015 Washington, D.C. had a divorce rate of almost 30 percent, the highest in the U.S., while Wyoming was in second place with almost 28 percent.

Celebrity couples aren’t immune to the increased holiday divorce rate either. Examples of celebrity couples whose relationships bit the bullet during the festive season are Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds back in 2010, and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston back in 2005.

Tips for making sure you and your spouse don’t throw in the towel:

  • App: Gift Finder will help you find the perfect gift for your spouse this Christmas
  • Improve your sex life with apps like Pillow and Desire
  • Communication is key! Ignore your partner at your own peril

Obesity: Consumption, Indulgence and Weight Gain


People who are already at a normal weight tend to survive the holiday season with their stomachs intact, gaining on average only one pound. However, individuals who are already overweight might gain up to 5 pounds over Christmas, according to U.S. News.

What’s shocking is that obesity rates in the U.S. are already sky-high. As reported by State of Obesity, the top 3 states for obesity rates: Louisiana, Alabama and West Virginia are all rocking rates of over 35 percent.

Not only that, but many of us never lose the weight that we have gained. So while a few pounds might not seem like much it’ll add up year after year until you definitely begin to notice it.

In 2010 New Jersey resident Donna Simpson managed to eat a 30,000 calorie Christmas dinner in one mammoth two-hour sitting. The feast included two whole turkeys and two whole hams. She topped it all off with four pints of gravy.

Tips for losing the holiday weight:

  • Apps like Lose it! and MyFitnessPal can help so download now
  • Friendly competition: force friends and family to join in
  • Get original in the kitchen! Apps like BigOven and Yummly will help

S.A.D., Depression and Low Energy


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that kicks in around winter, affects up to 6 percent of Americans each year.

Those affected can suffer mood swings, drops in energy levels, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and more.

In addition 1 in 4 Americans also report feeling of loneliness during the holiday season. Loneliness can increase our likelihood of suffering depression and anxiety. It can also lead to insomnia, which affects our ability to socialize and work productivity.

West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana are the top three most miserable states in the U.S., according to Business Insider.

Individuals who are depressed are likely to reach for the bottle as a way to lift their sinking mood. According to WebMD close to one-third of people with depression are also alcoholics and in many cases the depression led to the heavy drinking.

Teenagers who are depressed are twice as likely to start drinking as teenagers who aren’t. Women are also twice as likely to start drinking if they suffer depression.

Tips for fighting back against holiday blues:

  • Apps like MeetMe can help focus the conversation on interests you share
  • Challenge yourself by signing up for something that scares you, like online dating
  • Exercise! Workout Trainer, Map My Fitness and JEFIT are free apps that help

Debt: Why Spoiling Your Loves Ones is Killing Your Finances


The average U.S. household added $986 to their existing debt over Christmas in 2015, with 52 percent using a credit card to finance their spending. Only 44 percent of those households believed they could pay off the debt within the next 5 months.

U.S. households already have $5,700 of credit card debt on average, which means that every Holiday season people are potentially adding 17 percent onto their existing credit card debt.

According to ValuePenguin the three states with the most credit card debt were: Alaska, Virginia and Connecticut. Men are also more likely to be in debt than women.

According to CreditCards impulse purchases are on the rise. In 2014 75 percent of people reported to shopping impulsively, but in 2016 that figure had risen to 84 percent. 47 percent of those impulse purchases were to fulfill selfish desires.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Only 255,000 Americans declared bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2015 as a result of their credit card debt, down 4.1 percent from 2014. The top three worst states for credit delinquency were: Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana.

Tips for saving money this holiday season:

  • Three free apps that can help: Wally, PocketGuard and Mint
  • Make an Xmas list with realistic budgets and stick to it
  • Check out websites Wondermade, Pop Chart Lab and Uncommon Goods for unique but affordable gifts

What are your Christmas horror stories? Is Christmas portrayed too positively by the media?

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.