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How to Have the Worst Christmas Ever (and solutions for a good one)

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How to Have the Worst Christmas Ever: Solutions to Make it the Best ChristHow to Have the Worst Christmas Ever (and solutions for a good one)

The Worst Christmas Ever

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year with all the family traditions and the parties. Instead, Christmas is the worst time of the year for many.

I think most of us go into the Christmas season with a fresh new lease on life thinking this year is going to be different.

Everything is going to be perfect.

We have these great expectations that our family is going to sip hot cocoa while decorating the tree, all the shopping will be done early, and, this year, “Uncle Bernie,” (insert name) is going to be pleasant and charming.

You might even have images of yourself floating through the holiday singing “Silent Night” and happily wrapping 50 presents. Okay, maybe not, but you get the point.

Meanwhile, in real life… the decorations and the tree barely get up (it was by blackmail and threats), no shopping has been done (broke), everyone has the flu, and “Uncle Bernie” is still a turd.

All hopes get dashed when this happens, and things just go downhill (crash and burn) from there.

Related: When You Feel Like You Have Failed as a Parent

Nothing seems worth the effort. It becomes the worst Christmas ever. I have felt this way many times.

I do distinctly remember several years where I just decided not to decorate inside or outside the house for Christmas. My family was so mad at me. They couldn’t believe I boycotted Christmas. I really did this. How to have the worst Christmas ever (and solutions for a good one)I didn’t feel the spirit moving me to pull out all of those dusty, allergy-infested bins in the attic, spend thankless hours by myself creating a magical wonderland (Bah-humbug), and then take the decorations back down 3 weeks later while everyone else just admired my work.

Yes, I know. I was a real-life Grinch, but I had a good reason. I was dealing with a family estrangement.

Related: Estranged From Family at the Holidays: 7 Ways to Cope

One year I made the kids help me. I even offered to pay them.

It turned into a day of threats, fights, and complaints. I decided it was better to only ruin my holiday doing the decorations and not theirs too.

I wanted a holiday after the holidays.

Sound familiar?

If you are feeling this way, then maybe you can learn from me and be a little better at the whole holiday cheer.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart-

You can find Estranged on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

Let me give you the 3 things that have ruined my holiday season and made it the worst Christmas ever, and my solutions to help turn things around:

1.  Have Unrealistic Expectations

The holidays are the worst at setting us up for failure. I always had all these expectations of myself and expectations for others, too. I was going to go to Christmas concerts, attend plays, decorate the inside and outside of the house, make cookies, create homemade gifts, watch the Hallmark channel, attend church, and etc….

This is a self-imposed list. What made it worse is I thought people were going to help me with all my plans.

No wonder I just quit some years. I couldn’t do it all so I gave up. And I was angry no one wanted to help.

Solution:

a).  Pick one event you really want to attend and do it.

It is fun when you can attend an event as a family such as a Christmas Eve candlelight service or even church on Sunday.  It makes the holiday come alive and seem magical. What is so great is if you keep doing it, it will become a  family tradition.

Traditions are important for the core family with just you, your husband, and kids. Start traditions when your kids are young, and then the extended family will get used to the idea. As far as any other things during the holiday, do what you can.

Related: Best Gag Gift Ever: Creating Family Traditions at the Holidays

b).  Pick one craft to do. 

I decided to make gingerbread cookies with the kids every year. They liked it so much that I also bought a gingerbread house. THEY totally did the decorating.

The gingerbread houses are around $10 at Wal-mart.

Several years in a row my daughter’s friends have helped decorate. It was something Christmasy (is this a word?) to do with her friends, and it kept them busy. Here are some suggestions from my Pinterest page.

Related: Pinterest: Kid’s Crafts

c). Pick a day to decorate the house that fits with YOUR schedule.

I decided to do it before Thanksgiving Day. It’s my house, and that is what is easiest for me. I just leave the dining room decor set for Thanksgiving dinner, and the rest of the house is a Christmas wonderland. After Thanksgiving, I remove the fall decor in the dining room and replace it with the rest of the Christmas items. Bam! It’s all done.

For those of you who think this is heresy, no problem. Kill yourself after Thanksgiving while I am by the fireplace watching a movie and drinking that hot cocoa.

I put the wreaths outside the first week in December, and no one is the wiser except my family. And now everyone reading this. My family loves the extra holiday cheer in the house even though it is early in the season.

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How to Have the Worst Christmas Ever (and solutions for a good one)

2.  Focus On Things

When the kids are little, it is easy to get caught up in Santa, gifts, candy, and all the other trappings of the holiday. I think we have forgotten the real reason for the season.

It’s Jesus’ birth.

Materialism has seeped so deep into our culture that it has replaced any need for a Savior. Even as a devout Christian, I have let stuff get in the way of focusing on what I wanted instead of what I needed-God.

Solution:

Toys: Christmas is really fun with little kids. Your budget can go a long way with toys and trinkets, but they don’t need to open 15 presents. They can’t process that much stuff mentally.

Dave Ramsey has an excellent article on this subject, and great suggestions to manage your gift giving. As our kids have gotten older, we have moved to a more minimalistic holiday. We just do stocking stuffers, cash, and one gift from Santa.

Related: Teen Entitlement: 3 Areas of Conflict with Your Teen in High School

That way you don’t have to kill yourself shopping for a massive list, fight the holiday crowd, or mess with the returns. Let the older kids shop after Christmas. Things are on sale, and they can get what they want.

I like this suggestion for giving gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. 4 gifts. I might try that this year.

Mission Project: The best way to get the kid’s focus off themselves is to do a mission project with them.

Adopt an angel through the Salvation Army, feed the homeless through an organization such as Union Gospel Mission, or mail a shoebox gift to kids overseas through Operation Christmas Child.  

We have done all of these in the past. As a family, we have found feeding the homeless the most meaningful as it sets the right tone for the season.

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3. Lose Hope

I think losing hope is one of the reasons so many people get depressed around the holidays. We expect people to be something they are never going to be. I can’t tell you how many times I have been let down because I hoped “things would be different this year.”

It is easy to set ourselves up to hope “Uncle Bernie” is going to be different only to find he’s still…”Uncle Bernie.” He’s probably going to get drunk, cuss a few times, and say something rude to you or, better yet, make a freaking scene at the dinner table.

You can’t expect people to miraculously change, but you can pray that the time you spend with “Bernie” will be meaningful and quiet. Some people tend to act worse during the holidays because they are hurting and don’t know how to express their feelings appropriately.

Related: How to Not Lost Faith: 7 People Who Were One Hot Mess

Solution:

Instead of putting your hope in people, it is better to put your hope in a Person. Jesus.

Take time as a family to read the Christmas Story (Luke 2), pray together and read things that give hope (pray for “Bernie”), or watch a movie that focuses on the meaning of Christmas.

Going back to the reason for the holiday will give you a new sense of purpose and meaning to why you are celebrating in the first place.

Related: 33 Ways to Bring Your Family Together at the Holidays

When you eat together with extended family, keep reminding yourself that it’s just one meal. (If you’re stuck with “Bernie” for days, you might cut that trip short).

Bite your tongue and be pleasant. Try focusing on serving others; kindness goes a long way. (Serving keeps you busy and away from “Uncle Bernie”). Set boundaries and stick to them.

 

Guaranteed Worst Christmas

If you want the worst Christmas ever then have unrealistic expectations of yourself and those around you, force everyone to meet your needs, and have no regard for other’s time and schedule.

Buy your kid’s everything they could ever want, go into debt, and make it all about the stuff.

Overcommit, lose sleep and run yourself ragged because you have stayed up all night wrapping gifts. Don’t create any family traditions or even bother to spend time with the ones you love because you are too busy. Focus on yourself and what you have done.

Forget God because it’s all about you.  Don’t stop to worship the One who was born and made your life possible. Lose hope and just give up. When you are with extended family dominate the conversation at the table and don’t let anyone else get in a word.

Get drunk, cuss at family, get into a fight, and make everyone else around you suffer. You are guaranteed a holiday to remember as the worst Christmas ever. The only thing worse than this is doing it over and over every year.

Have you had a bad Christmas? What did you do to turn it around?

Book on Family Estrangement: A Christian Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart-

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it for $2.99 at your favorite bookstore.

Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

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Julie Plagens

23 Comments

  1. blair villanueva on December 4, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    We tend to go with the flow during Christmas season and expect too much. Just enjoy what it has to offer!

  2. berlin | Momi berlin on December 2, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    You are indeed correct. SOmetimes, too much expectation make us sad and frustrated. It is prudent that we manage our expectation and be content with what we got.

  3. Becky Beresford on December 2, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Really good stuff! It’s freeing to let go of expectations (for yourself and others!), especially during the holiday season. Thank you for these encouraging and fun words! ?

  4. Mommy Sigrid on December 1, 2018 at 8:54 am

    I am also dealing with family estrangement, this time involving me and my parents. Thankfully, my brother came to the rescue. He is taking them to another country for Christmas. I am just so happy. I don’t think I can handle the holidays with them.

  5. Nique's Beauty on November 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Christmas is always the holiday that gets under your skin and in the end be the best holiday of your life lol I’ve been there

  6. Shanab on November 30, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    You boycotted Christmas? Can i do that for Monday’s because I know that feeling all too well. Sometimes pressure get a the beat of us. Glad you managed to turn it around.

  7. Anosa Malanga on November 30, 2018 at 10:38 am

    This is a just in time post for the coming holidays. Indeed a great time to make sure we didn’t have a worst Christmas and also learn to know how to make the most out of it.

  8. Sundeep on November 30, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Good that you wrote about worst and greatest. This is very helpful and I am sharing with my friends

  9. Adriana Lopez on November 29, 2018 at 1:56 am

    You know the holidays and Christmas are very difficult for me. I lost my mom during the holiday time a few years ago and that puts me down. The pressures of the family and all the activities can be very stressful too. I appreciate the tips and recommendations.

  10. Heather on November 28, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    I don’t know how anyone could have a bad holiday. It’s such a joyful time of the year.

  11. Tiffany on November 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I love that you had the solution to every problem. I like the simplified Christmas and not the stress that can come with the season. It’s fun for me to see how other keep the true meaning of the Christmas.

  12. kay on November 28, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    It’s definitely easy to get stressed during the holidays. Thanks for the reminder to remember the most important thing about Christmas

  13. Scott Gombar on November 28, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    One way we made Christmas better was by not “allowing” family to buy for everyone in the family. We do a secret santa (my wife’s family is huge) so this alleviates some of the financial stress from Christmas and gets more family members to participate.

  14. Tara Pittman on November 28, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    It is Ok to not do it all for Christmas. We did not decorate last year as we traveled but this year we got the tree up now and that is awesome.

  15. Teri on November 28, 2018 at 10:53 am

    I just heard a great video on this very subject. Expectations are so powerful. Great post!

  16. Terri on November 28, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Hah! I couldn’t agree more. I have set up high expectations for last holidays only to be let down. I will try to to do a better job of going into it with no expectations. I am type A personality so this is going to be hard

  17. DONNA MILLER on November 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I love your humor and light hearted way to deliver a deep message. This post was awesome! I cracked up because we have several turds for relatives. I love how you thoughtfully wrote this and reversed so many things to turn what was upside down right side up! Loved this! ❤

  18. Amber Myers on November 28, 2018 at 7:29 am

    These are some great reminders. I try not to ever get overwhelmed over the holidays and focus on the good. I think that’s important!

  19. John on November 28, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Amazing post. Really enjoyed reading this. We have two traditions. One is we always go to the local theatre and watch a Xmas play on Xmas eve. The other is we always watch Home Alone together on the sofa. I have two kids (9 and 6) and they both get very excited around now!! Cracking read, very funny too!

  20. Noelle Lynne on November 28, 2018 at 2:40 am

    Love the idea to adopt an angel through the Salvation Army, I used to do this when I was little and haven’t done this in some time. I think I will restart the tradition this year, thanks to your post.

    Merry Christmas!

  21. Alexandra on November 28, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Holidays can be a tough time for so many, and I agree, unrealistic expectations are just never a good idea. Hope you have a great Christmas 🙂

  22. midnightmusings on December 15, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Holidays are hard indeed. Nice post.

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