10 Tips For Not Hating Xmas

At the risk of seeming Grinchy, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I DON’T LIKE CHRISTMAS. I don’t like the insane shopping pressure, I don’t like the non-stop social invitations, I don’t like the expectation that I’m going to pay peak prices for the privilege of battling the elements and/or chaotic airports in order to go spend 48 rushed hours with my family, I hate tacky decorations, and most of all, I absolutely despise xmas music. Ugh. Under normal circumstances a song like Winter Wonderland, or Feliz Navidad, would never get any airplay, but because we’ve all been hearing that crap every year our whole lives, it’s somehow “festive” to play those songs now.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate everything about xmas. I do like the lights. In the darkest days of winter, it is really nice to see all the illuminated houses on my street . Add a fresh sprinkling of snow, and that sh*t is downright pretty. Also, if you’re a religious Christian person, then this time should have special meaning. In fact, I think that’s actually what xmas is supposed to celebrate: the birth of baby Jesus, or something.

But mostly, what I see are people who never go to church stressing out like crazy trying to find gifts for all their nieces and nephews, and going nuts trying to schedule time off with their employers.

As for me, though I like parties, I find it exhausting to go to event after event where I’m expected to imbibe glasses of wine, often in the afternoon, and eat mountains of cookies and brie. Again — I like brie, like in an omelette on occasion, but not every other day for three weeks! Two years ago, I actually decided I would try to avoid that disgusting bloated holiday feeling and started watching what I ate at the beginning of December. I made a major effort to keep portions small and go for the fruit plate instead of the delicious homemade sugary squares at parties. I ended up being perhaps the only person in the Western World to ever lose weight at xmas (and I’ve kept it off, thank you very much).

Downton Abbey, perfectly addictive holiday viewing

Downton Abbey, perfectly addictive holiday viewing

So I’m going to share with you the formula I came up with years ago for having a delightfully pleasant holiday season:

  1. First of all, you need an understanding family. If they live in a different city, let them know you’ll be happy to visit with them… at a less busy time of year when you can actually spend some non-stressful time together.
  2. Limit the work parties. There are four, yes FOUR, xmas parties at my work every year. In order from small to large: there’s my section’s lunch, my division’s lunch, the research service’s lunch, and the library-wide xmas party. Folks, this is madness! I limit myself to attending just two.
  3. Never mind the acquaintance parties. With all those work parties and family obligations, are you really going to attend the parties of people you don’t really know? Do not feel obliged to. “Thank you for inviting me, but I can’t attend this year”, it’s just that simple. Then, when your real friends invite you, you’ll have time and energy to party with them — hurrah!
  4. Step away from the baked brie!

    Baked Brie, don't say I didn't warn you

    Baked Brie, don’t say I didn’t warn you

  5. Do not purchase a gift for anyone who isn’t either a) a child, or b) a life partner.
  6. Donate to charity instead of shopping.
  7. When people start pitying you when they learn you’ll be spending xmas alone, do not accept their invitation to spend xmas with them and their family. While they are doing this out of the kindness of their heart, you have chosen not to spend the holidays with your own family, so you certainly won’t spend them with someone else’s family.
  8. Buy something nice for yourself (From: Brenda, To: Brenda — It’s exactly what I wanted!).
  9. Get some DVDs, something addictive like The Wire, or Downton Abbey.
  10. On the day itself — stay alone, watch DVDs, enjoy the quiet, look at the snow falling, call your family. Be happy and at peace.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


  1. I think I am doing a lot of these things already, but I enjoy celebrating Christmas just the same. My family isn’t that big, so when we do get together it is usually during the holidays—actually this is one of the most important things for me. Decorating and reading/seeing the Christmas classics is always what does it for me too. I’ve treated myself, given to charity and limited parties. I’m finally going to see the Nutcracker this year and I have limited gifts to one thing per person, so I am done and not stressed. We might even do a gift exchange next year to cut back on the gift-giving. I am ready to not hate Christmas! Thanks, Brenda 🙂


  1. […] you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve got my own coping mechanisms for dealing with the stressful festivity we call “Christmas.” Once again, I’ve […]

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