This article is worth a read. It reports that more people have heart attacks during the holiday season compared to other times of the year, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne. The researchers believe this may be due to more difficult access to hospitals, combined with emotional stress, an excess of alcohol, and a fatty diet. Although previous U.S. research has already established a link between the holidays and heart attacks, the findings could be attributed to the season of winter itself, when mortality rates are already at their highest. In order to differentiate between winter deaths and holiday deaths, the researchers analyzed data from patients in the southern hemisphere where the months of December and January are in the summer. The data included 25 years of records of heart attack deaths that occurred between Christmas day and the first week of January in New Zealand. Indeed, the researchers found a 4.2 percent increase in heart-related deaths occurring out of the hospital during the Christmas period.
Personally, I would like to see this data analyzed by country to see if there’s a different pattern for certain cultures, e.g. the Anglo-Saxon countries. Also a longitudinal study (over time) would be interesting and it could be correlated with other variables like healthcare spending or for shortage of critical staff.