Let’s talk about the things we hate about Christmas. If you have a love-hate relationship with Christmas, then this post is for you. The thing is, as much as I absolutely love Christmas there are some things I really hate about Christmas too! For all it’s so-called merry making, let’s face it, Christmas can also be an utter ball ache. From having to deal with people or situations you want to avoid, the insanity of the outside world, money problems and more, it’s no wonder that Christmas is listed as one of the most stressful life events.
Here we take a look at some of the things we hate about Christmas, and offer up some solutions on how to deal with these common Christmas peeves.
The first 6 things we hate about Christmas and how to handle them
1. Having to spend time with people you don’t get along with
There’s nothing like a dysfunctional family trying to function for the holidays and goondness knows we’ve all been there. The family members that rub you up the wrong way, the spiteful comments, and resentful feelings from the past. So how can we keep our s*** together when your aunt insists on bringing up That Incident from 1996 yet again on Christmas Day this year? Niels Eék, psychologist and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform Remente offers up some advice:
– Think ahead: If possible, try and openly discuss any issues ahead of the holiday, to ensure that all grievances are left behind, before you are spending time with someone that you might have an issue with. If there is a topic that you’d rather not want discussed (like that incident from 1996), ask beforehand if it could be left out of this years’ repertoire of stories. But if it isn’t possible to resolve the issue, think about the ways in which you can avoid conflict and keep calm. Anticipating any situation will make you feel more prepared and in turn, significantly less stressed and worried.
– Let it go: When we are thrown together with various family members during the holidays, the case might be that you don’t get along with some of them, or that you have long-term, unresolved issue. The first thing to do in this situation is to try and let it go – even if forgiveness is impossible, take a deep breath and try to stay calm, after all, you’re unlikely to see them again for a long time and it might be worth it for the sake of everyone else to just put a smile on your face and get on with things.’
2. Being skint for the whole of December and January
Christmas truly is the most magical time of the year, because it makes all your money disappear! Jokes aside, not having enough money or being in debt at Christmas time is no laughing matter. So how can we address all these extra festive costs and pressures?
‘Having been in a large amount of debt myself in the past, I’ve learned the hard way that keeping up with the Jones’ is a recipe for financial disaster’, shares Tanya Ibberson, qualified accountant and financial wingwoman who helps female business owners with their finances. ‘Using money as a tool for financial freedom instead is a far better use of the resource. With a bit of planning, a smidge of control and a sprinkle of Christmas magic, you too can become more appreciative of the creative ways in which you can give to others in the festive season.
Here are some tips to manage expectations and avoid making December and January the financial nightmare that they will inevitably become through overspending:
– Suggest a Secret Santa pact with your nearest and dearest – you each get one gift and buy one gift for a set budget.
– Give the gift of time – when did you last spend quality time with friends or family? Create memories instead of debt. #presencenotpresents
– Spread the joy for longer – think about how you could give something that lasts beyond Christmas, so they enjoy more value, such as a membership or subscription.
– Most importantly, spend within your limits – make a realistic plan and stick to it!’
3. Feeling impatient and easily irritated about literally everything
When you’re in a massive grump and someone asks you where your Christmas spirit is, and you feel like pointing to the drinks cabinet, what’s really going on here? Moyra Mackie, Executive Coach and author of Journal Safari: Create your journal habit in 30 days says, ‘Our difficult feelings are there to tell us something, if only we’d listen to them’, says ‘ She advises that we ‘Get curious about what your feelings are trying to tell you. Did you know we can’t be curious and anxious at the same time? We can spend way too much energy pushing down or denying these feelings, when leaning into them with a bit of compassion can often release these feelings that are in some way trapped within you.
Generally, this build up of emotions is a sign we’re taking on too much and not allowing ourselves time to recharge our own energy. However, there are a couple of simple three-minute things you can do to recharge; breathing and journaling.Find somewhere by yourself. It can be indoors or outdoors and it doesn’t have to even be quiet. Sit down, close your eyes, put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and just breathe. Focus on slowing and deepening your breath, feeling your belly expand on your in breath and contract on your out breath.This might be enough to “reset” but if your head still seems full, grab a notebook and pen, set your phone’s timer for three minutes and get those feelings out on paper. Lean in and let go!’
4. Social media makes you feel like you’re the only one not living the Christmas dream
Sick of seeing everyone’s movie perfect, Hallmark-worthy Christmas snaps on Insta? Us too! We all know it’s a big load of fakery, but how do we stop ourselves from feeling down about our lacking? Holistic Life Coach Nichola Henderson has the answer.
‘We live in a world overloaded by social media. Unfortunately, with the benefits of this comes delusionary ideals and expectations. We know logically that the shiny images, perfect smiles and picture-perfect family posts are not always representative of real life, however it also can cause stress and anxiety if we fall short of the ‘Christmas dream’
The best way to deal with this is to stay focused on the present moment, do not allow yourself to let your thoughts run away with you by worrying about others may think of your Christmas experience, remember (with kindness) that other people’s families may be complex despite appearances!
Just focus on the here and now and try to stay in the moment, maybe reduce social media for the day, 1 hour in the morning, then another in the evening, really connecting to family and friends requires attention and presence. Remember that if other people are spending too much time on social media, then they are very likely not living in the moment, but in how the moment can be perceived, take pride in yourself knowing that really being present in the moment you are living the Christmas dream – the one that you’ll most likely remember for years to come.’
5. Your to do list being quadrupled due to all the extra work of decorating, cooking, entertaining, wrapping etc
Ever feel like you’d rather have eight days of Hannukah over six weeks of Christmas? If anyone doesn’t know what to get me for Christmas, the simple answer is: a PA to deal with all the extra stuff I have to do! The pressure of all the extra things piling up on our shoulders can be immense, so how do we cope? Emma Jeffreys aka Action Woman hear us, ‘The mental and physical overload of the Christmas to-do list can feel overwhelming to most of us,’ says ‘But it doesn’t have to be this way. Write out a list of all the things that are swimming round your head that need doing between now and Christmas. Now make a cuppa and take a deep breath as you review the list:
-Does everything on here HAVE to be done? Can you see any tasks where you are just creating more work for yourself or perhaps getting caught up in a story of an Insta-perfect Christmas? If so, ditch what you can and feel the weight lift.
– What can be delegated? Think about the tasks you can give to other family members (even the littler ones) or where you can shortcut to the results you want. There are no medals for doing it all yourself.
– Now group what’s left into weeks. What needs to happen now and what is a last-minute job? By doing one small thing a day you’ll feel a sense of progress without it feeling a struggle.
And remember, only give what you can. Time, money and energy are all resources that we can overspend at this time of the year. Be mindful how much you spend without topping up the account….’
6. Christmas brainwashing and being made to feel like you need to buy, buy, buy when people are homeless and starving
Can you hear that little voice in your head telling you you’ve already wasted enough money this Christmas? No, of course not because you can’t hear it over the sound of Michael Buble on loop drowning out every logical thought your brain can muster at this juncture!
It’s all too easy to get swept up in the crazy need to keep buying as the insatiable buying monster within gets unleashed around this time of year. More often than not, this is swiftly followed by a feeling of self loathing. So how do we side step this trap this year? Sarah Parkes, podcaster and author of the number two bestseller – Awakening Legacy – shares three tips to say no to the collective hold of the Christmas marketing machine:
‘This year we have the extra twist and emphasis on reduced availability, driving this unhelpful pressure… to fan the consumerism fire.
– Reduce your exposure to unhelpful messaging. I stopped watching the news a long time ago, with all the sensational stories to fuel fear. I am mindful about what I am mentally consuming. Where are you at with this?
– Get clear on how you want to feel, and what you want your family to experience. Is it love, is it connection, is it fun, is it rested? What is the experience you want to have, and how can you achieve that in the simplest way?
– Try out the 4 gift rule, where each person only gets four gifts for Christmas: Something you want, you need, to wear and to read. If you have a tendency to go a bit overboard, this is helpful for reigning it in. Let’s face it they’ll probably still get some things from grandparents. But more than that, it can become a tradition … one that reduces burden in so many ways, and has the potential to reconnect us with the spirit of Christmas.
One extra tip… don’t start something (a tradition) without thinking it through. Do you really need that Elf? Or the Christmas Eve box…?’
Although we do have a whole lot of love for Christmas, it’s ok to also have some things you hate about Christmas too right? Who knows, maybe it’s just because we are getting older and less tolerant! What do you find challenging about this time of year? Let us know in a comment below and follow us on Instagram where we’ll be keeping the conversation going. And don’t forget to check out part two of the things we hate about Christmas.