The thought of gaining weight over the holidays is just as stressful as the potential of blowing your budget and carrying too much debt, according to a new survey

Out of 1,000 Canadians surveyed online by Angus Reid Public Opinion, 44 per cent say said they are “very concerned” or “moderately concerned” about gaining weight over the holidays.

A total of 43 per cent said they were worried about spending too much money on decorations, gifts and food, while over a third (36 per cent) are preoccupied with carrying too much debt on credit cards.

“It all comes down to willpower,” said Angus Reid Public Opinion Vice-President Mario Canseco,

“It’s a question of whether you can sustain the same discipline you had throughout the year so you won’t gain weight over the holidays and you won’t get dinged by your credit card company when the New Year hits.”

Family and social gatherings played into holiday anxieties as well. Other concerns include having to travel during the holiday season (23 per cent), running into relatives they don’t want to see (15 per cent), drinking too much alcohol (11 per cent) and attending office holiday parties (10 per cent).

Quebecers are more preoccupied with running into relatives they don’t want to see and going to their office parties than respondents in other provinces.  

British Columbians and Albertans spend less than other Canadians when it comes to holiday spending.   The average Canadian will spend $994.50 on the holiday season, including decorations, gifts, food and parties.  Compare that to British Columbians and Albertans, who said they’d keep their tab below the $900-mark.

“We’re looking at this in a much more frugal way -- Albertans as well. It seems to be a west coast thing about not spending too much money on the holidays, being very careful with our money.”

People in Atlantic Canada and Manitoba and Saskatchewan will pay out the most, spending more than $1,100, according to survey numbers.

In total, 16 per cent of people said they’d spend more this year than last, while one-in-five will spend less.  Three-in-five, 61 per cent, said they’ll keep holiday spending about the same as last year.

When it comes to how they’ll pay for those purchases, 40 per cent said they used a credit card, while 30 per cent used cash. In all, 29 per cent of people used their debit card.  

Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey from Dec. 10 to Dec. 11 among 1,000 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Have your say: What stresses you out around the holidays?