I didn’t mean to hate Christmas. It just kind of happened slowly, over time. One year in particular, my wife sat down across from me after we put the kids to bed. Her eyes were twinkling, pencil and paper in hand. She said, “Let’s talk about what we’re going to get the kids for Christmas this year.” I shrugged dismissively and said something about wanting our kids to know the real meaning of Christmas. Needless to say, this did not go over well and it took a few years for my wife to stop calling me Scrooge.
1. Focusing on the Stuff
While I knew Christmas is not about the stuff, I still was frustrated because we didn’t make much money. I hated Christmas because our financial limitations left me feeling like I was depriving my kids. I was focused on the wrong things.
Antidote: Identify your goal.
I eventually realized I didn’t really want stuff. I wanted to create memorable experiences for my kids. Once I identified this as the goal, we could refocus on what matters and come up with some fun, low cost, and creative Christmas alternatives.
2. Saying Yes to Everything
At the holidays, we all see an uptick in social gatherings. Then there’s the obligatory sending and receiving of Christmas cards, invitations to relatives’ homes, and holiday functions at our kids’ schools. Before you know it, you find yourself doing things because you feel obligated, not because you want to. This was part of my transformation into Scrooge.
Look—it’s unrealistic to say you won’t do anything out of obligation around the holidays. However, you can prioritize what is most important to you and put those events on your calendar first.
3. Getting Self-Righteous
We need to have ideals, but inevitably, others will fall short of them because that’s what we do as humans. For many years, I stewed in frustration over unmet ideals (“Why is everyone so materialistic?”). So I became judgmental and self-righteous. I allowed other people to cause me to hate Christmas.
Antidote: Get over yourself.Take a deep breath and work on what you can control: yourself.
Do other people fall short of your ideals? Of course. But, if you’re being honest, you fall short of them, too. Take a deep breath and work on what you can control: yourself. In the end, the real goal is to free yourself up to enjoy Christmas fully. May you choose joy this and every Christmas season.
Earn some points: Are you married? Share iMOM’s free Christmas stories with your wife. They are great to read together with your kids: 10 Great Christmas Stories for Free.
Sound off: What is one choice you can make this Christmas season to help make it joyful, not just for you, but for the people you spend it with?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is the one thing you want to be sure to make time for this Christmas?”