If you’re feeling a little bah-humbug or just not so merry and bright, you’re not alone! A lot of people are in a funk this holiday season. You might be feeling bombarded with well wishes and expectations of Christmas spirit. But not everyone finds the holidays to be the most joyous part of the year. Many people struggle with loneliness and anxiety at this time of year. And some feel isolated, alone and resentful of the pressure that goes along with the holidays!
If you’re feeling apathetic, down or flat out fed up this holiday season here are a few things you can do to enjoy yourself despite the chaos, twinkle lights and carols!
Set Firm Boundaries
If you’re surrounded by family and friends and feel obligated to attend every event, let me assure you that you aren’t! You can say no to activities you don’t enjoy, even if they are tradition! I know this is easier said than done! It might ruffle a few feathers! Some things are harder to get out of than others. But your entire holiday season shouldn’t be monopolized by unenjoyable holiday obligations! That’s just going to make your holiday funk even worse!
Consider hosting your own event or alternating years that you attend parties, holiday dinners and such. Streamlining your commitments will help you enjoy the holidays and you’ll be more present when you do attend!
Speaking of being present… It’s probably time to cut back on presents! I mean WAY back! The purpose of the season isn’t extravagant gift exchanges! There is no need to get yourself in debt or overwhelm yourself with tons of errands and shopping! Consider exchanging favors or experiences or small sentimental or homemade gifts.
Not only does the expense of Christmas and bills that follow stress everyone out. But the pressure of finding the perfect gift and providing many of them can be overwhelming. Change the focus this holiday season to quality time spent with family to shake off the holiday funk.
If you do choose to change your buying this year, I suggest you discuss it to avoid awkward moments. And, if a gift exchange is an important tradition consider trying out a secret Santa. They’re tons of fun and far more affordable!
Avoid the Holidays All Together
For some it is better to avoid the holidays all together! This is especially true if you don’t have family and friends to celebrate with (for whatever reason).
Consider curling up with a great book, enjoying a Netflix binge sesh or having a sci-fi or horror movie marathon. And don’t forget the snacks! Whatever you do avoid network and cable television, so you won’t be bombarded with cheer.
This is also a great day to get a big project done or plan your new year’s resolution. You’re likely to get plenty of uninterrupted quality quiet time! Take advantage of it!
Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty for not celebrating. It is ONLY a day and if it isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine! You should feel comfortable doing whatever you most enjoy or want to do! This could actually be the perfect twist to celebrating the holidays your way!
If you don’t want to be alone or avoid the holidays all together but you don’t have family to celebrate with consider tagging along with someone else.
Many families (including mine) welcome everyone for holiday celebrations. If you don’t want to be alone, you don’t have to! Simply mentioning that you don’t have plans will often spur invites from those with an open-door policy. Now remember, you don’t have to feel guilty for passing them up, but you also don’t need to feel like a burden if you do attend. People that include others in their holiday celebrations feel truly blessed to do so. They aren’t acting out of obligation!
And, when you do attend, you don’t need to explain why you aren’t celebrating with your own family. No one expects you to and most won’t ask. If some well meaning person does you can simply say “it’s complicated” and nothing else.
Honor Your Loved Ones
If you’re suffering from a lack of holiday sprit due to the loss of a loved one (like a Hallmark movie character) it makes complete sense that you’re in a holiday funk! But, you may want to reconsider your holiday boycott all together. No one would want you to forgo joy because of their passing. You can honor your loved one by celebrating cherished holiday traditions. Just be sure to take the pressure off. It won’t be the same and might even be tearful. That’s ok!
You may also want to start a new tradition that makes you feel closer to the one you lost. Perhaps make their favorite Christmas cookie or watch their favorite movie. Maybe light a candle or get a special ornament made. You can also donate to a charity every year in their name.
There are many opportunities to honor your loved one through the holidays without having to deny your grief.
Head to the Movie Theater
This has become a common fun tradition among scrooges and Christmas fanatics alike! Every year a few long anticipated movies are released on Christmas day! So, consider heading to the theater and be the first one in your friend group to have seen that new blockbuster!
Plus, you can do this completely alone if you like! There’s no need for company at the movies. So, buy your tickets (in advance if possible) and grab some snacks (or a cocktail) and enjoy a day at the movies!
Believe it or not, Christmas isn’t celebrated in MANY parts of the world! This can be an excellent time to cave to that wanderlust! Go somewhere exotic and fun! You may have to put up with a lot of Christmas hub bub in the airport but once you get on that beach or into that village, you’ll be holiday free!
For an added dose of happiness, consider a voluntourism trip. Nothing will make you feel better than not only taking a vacation but also giving back when you get there!
Create Your Own Traditions
There is no reason you have to participate in all the traditions of the past. You can create your own traditions you love… it’s never too late! Host a friendsgiving or a card night. White elephant parties after Christmas are always a fun way to break through that holiday funk as well!
If you really can’t stand the holidays, host a holiday boycott party. And, you can’t get less Christmassy than a Cards Against Humanity session. Or maybe you’d enjoy a D & D campaign instead!
Most people have a few days off for the holidays. There’s no reason not to take advantage of that by creating your own unique tradition. Get creative and come up with something that’s fun for you (and has nothing to do with traditional holiday celebrations and expectations)!
If the holidays lead to downright depression or anxiety, seek help! Don’t try to force yourself out of your holiday funk, that rarely works. Reach out for support from loved ones or get professional help if needed.
The holidays can contribute to some serious blues and it doesn’t help that we’re already more prone because of the gloomy winter weather.
The pressure we feel to be happy and enjoy ourselves during the holidays only makes us feel worse. It’s difficult to feel that you’re letting everyone down. Plus, not being able to buck up and join in on the fun can be a very distressing and helpless experience.
It’s not so simple! You aren’t letting anyone down and you’re under no obligation to be filled with Christmas spirit! So, do what you need to do to take care of yourself and stop pressuring yourself to snap out of it!
How to Find Your Christmas Spirit
But if YOU really wish you could find some holiday cheer there are some things you can do about it! Sometimes we have challenging stuff going on in life or we are stressed and distracted but desperately want to enjoy the holiday season! You are under NO obligation to find your Christmas spirit but if you WANT to here are some ideas to help you get there!
- Watch Hallmark Christmas movies
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights (bring a thermos of hot cocoa)
- Decorate your house or put up a tree
- Play or sing some Christmas carols
- Wrap a gift or two with all the trimmings
- Bake your favorite Christmas cookies
- Do something kind for someone else (donate to charity, volunteer, write a letter to a member of the military)
Sometimes engaging in holiday traditions will help you shake your holiday funk and get into the spirit. But again, you aren’t obligated to even try! Feel free to do whatever feels best for you!
Make the Holidays Your Own
Whether you love the holidays or can’t stand them you have every right to make them your own. Often the reason we don’t enjoy the season is because of all the pressure. So, set down the burden this season and do what feels best for you!
Whether that be to boycott the holidays all together, try to fire up some Christmas spirit or simply stay in bed! Do what feels best for you this season!
And remember, even though many people experience the blues during the holidays, don’t dismiss it. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or disheartened or are struggling with thoughts of harming yourself, be sure to seek care. Call a friend or a crisis help line! 844-549-4266 or 800-273-8255 in the US or 166 123 in the UK. You can also use Google to find a crisis helpline, emergency services or text line in your country.
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