How to Enjoy Christmas Even if You Don't Like It
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.
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.
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.
Think of the positive things:
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.