J is an Australian freelance writer with 10 years experience.
Here It Comes Again...
The end of December is not a jolly ho-ho-ho time if you don't like Christmas. It can be depressing and can really bring home your lack of success in all the areas of your life. The fun and joy some people seem to have at this time of the year underlines your inability to even like it a little.
Why Do Some People Dislike Christmas?
It's over the top, it's expensive, it's sometimes false and artificial, it's commercial, it's visible and audible, and it's everywhere. No place to run and hide: especially if you are part of a family. This is a time that can really depress you because no matter how hard you try, you can't force yourself to be jolly and full of goodwill. You fail to see the fun part, and everyone would ask you why if you even opened your mouth to say anything to the contrary of how they celebrate.
You must have fun. You must enjoy it. You must join in. You must be crazy if you don't like this.
Are you one of the people who can't stand Christmas? Well, despite all of the above, be happy to know you are not alone. Thousands of people can't stand everything that goes on at this time of the year. They decry the fact Christmas is starting earlier each year. It's becoming more and more outrageously expensive. It doesn't mean much any more except a big spending frenzy, and they can't get any peace until it's all over. Roll on January 6!
The bad news is that Christmas is bigger than any of the people who hate it. It's not about to be canceled for lack of interest any year soon.
So you must find ways to get your peace even though it goes on. And on. You must - for sanity's sake—find at least one thing you can enjoy.
There are two ways I can see right now: controlled participation or complete avoidance.
Let's face it: this thing is bigger than you. If you can't avoid it, you certainly can avoid the controversy that comes when people think you are a wet blanket, or that you are going to rain on their parade.
So don't. You will get much more peace and acceptance if you outline your position to yourself, and then tell it to your family and friends. Face them with a decision of what you are prepared to do. Find what you hate most and try to delegate it to someone else, and do stuff you tolerate the best. Make deals.
Say to your family: Look, I hate shopping. Bring everything home and I'll wrap and label. Or you can say: Look, I hate family Christmas dinners: let's have a picnic this year. or: Look, I can't stand all those decorations and tree. Let's go minimal and do just one room or the porch.
Show them you are not going to be a pain and try to cancel or ruin everything, but you need to limit your participation. Say: I won't cook, but I'll pour drinks and load the dishwasher. Say: I won't stay up all night, but I'll make you a lovely brunch the next day. Say: We won't give everyone a present... just one general gift per family. Say: Let's make a pact and decide about a Kris Kringle arrangement. Say: I already have bought gifts, so I won't be braving the shops right now.
Plan, control and participate to the extent you are willing to, without overstepping the mark that makes you grouchy. Compromise. Deal. Haggle. Bargain.
Show what you are willing to do, in exchange for things you simply can't face.
There's always the clean getaway. But don't do it without telling anyone. Plan an escape well before time (that's why I'm writing this in November!).
Plan to be away right at Christmas, although I cannot guarantee you won't find it where you're going. True, they don't have Christmas in some places, so plan a holiday somewhere devoid of celebration. Let everyone know. Say you'll phone once or twice, and then head for that yacht for a sail on the wide blue ocean.
Plan a long trek, a big voyage or a visit to some group that feels like you. That will be very enjoyable. But, like I said, plan, announce, share.
How to Feel Less Blue on Christmas
Christmas is when sad people get sadder. Failure, depression, lack of real success and disasters that happened during the year all come home to roost at Christmas. When everyone else seems out of their mind with joy, you are gritting your teeth and trying to get a grip on yourself.
If you feel like this, think of the thousands like you who are just getting through.
Positive Things to Think About on Christmas
- Although it might seem like it sometimes, Christmas does not last long.
- Although everyone seems jolly and happy, many of them are not. They just fake it better than you.
- Although you feel isolated, it's just a spike, and everything will simmer down when you'll feel part of the group or family again.
- Although you sense you are unfeeling and a grouch, it's only temporary.
- Although you watch yourself gritting your teeth, many won't notice unless you are really horrible.
- Although you feel you can't take it this year, you probably can.
- Although you feel you won't have any fun, you can manage something worthwhile for yourself.
If Christmas makes you blue, promise yourself a little break: an interval, a gap... get away somewhere for a little while, breathe, close your eyes, and watch yourself wait. You can wait quite happily. It'll be over soon.
Reward yourself for being able to wait happily.
Get Rid of Should
Don't operate on the word should. Do not let that word push your buttons. Do not say it to yourself or to others.
And if it is said to you, ignore it. A lot of people will say things to you that will irritate the heck out of you, but it's only their way of trying to figure you out and to get you to come into line. They all hate it when someone will not cooperate!
Don't react to the word should.
Cooperate to the extent that you can: and let people know how far you are willing to join in and share the jollity (which for you is forced).
Look in the mirror and say to yourself: okay... how much am I willing to do this year? And smile. Do what you plan, and pat yourself on the back for managing it so well.
ashley on December 24, 2011:
I can't afford gifts for Christmas this year but it doesn't bother me. Real family and friends don't care about gifts but about being together. The only excpetion is children. I feel for anyone who has kids at Christmas time. Anyway, I just baked everyone cookies this year and couldn't be happier about it. I am usually isolated to an extent but I love how my family comes together on holidays. People who hate it because of what it looks like it's about. But from the outside looking in it's hard to get a real picture. You don't have to waste money or resources to have a happy Christmas. That being said I hate Christmas until it actually is Christmas. The lead up is annoying.
Harry Tinoco-Giraldo on December 20, 2011:
Absolutely true,,, I dont like at all but I've been enjoying the time and getting less stressed ... Good comment I've enjoyed your blog
madatchristmas on December 03, 2011:
I used to put my whole heart into the festivities of christmas, until last year it became clear to me that none of what I did was for God's glory, but only for my happiness. Now, I just want to let go of the season and make the meaning of Christ's birth every day of my life. He doesn't expect me to hang up decorations or spend money on useless gifts, but calls me to love my neighbors and be generous with my heart, and I don't need christmas to remind me of this...I only need Christ.
stew on December 13, 2010:
I really hate Christmas, with a passion in fact.
I am an utter failure at life, don't get me wrong, I am not lazy, I have always tried to be a real success and have never been off work in 30 years, have tried to better myself so many times, my problem is I am not a high achiever due to being below average intelligence and therefore earn crap money and always probably will. I do not feel sorry for myself but merely realise and honestly admit that I am not going anywhere in life.
You are spot on when you say that:
''Failure, and a lack of real success come home to roost at Christmas''.
I found your blog while looking for a holiday to get away from it all this year but if I am honest I doubt I would have really booked anything up, but in a strange way it has cheered me up and I have just booked 5 days away, so thankyou, and have a great Christmas avoidance experience this year to all, I know I WILL.
Eddy G on December 02, 2010:
What helps me is keeping everything simple. Maybe easy for me being single. I enjoy what i can with child like simplicity and let the rest go. I keep the shopping to simple gifts like candles and cookies. and i am happy when its all over!
J Rosewater (author) from Australia on December 10, 2009:
Claire - I hope it helps. There are many hints you can tackle one by one. I hope you succeed.
Claire on December 08, 2009:
Thank you for this, im going to try and use this info to help my partner who hates christmas. The problem i've found is that his mood about it is ruining any good thoughts i was having about it and making me dread it, as i think hes going to be so unhappy and make everyone uncomfortable.
J Rosewater (author) from Australia on November 29, 2009:
Yes, true. You sound very happy. Next time I'll keep quiet.
Nick on November 29, 2009:
You are suggesting that only depressive, isolated failures don't like Christmas. I think you'll find that happy, popular and successful people hate Christmas too. You're pseudo psycho-babble-philosophy is insulting to everyone and you should've kept it to yourself.