8 Ways to Survive the Holidays When You Don't Like Christmas

It's perfectly okay to hate Christmas — you've got your reasons. We're here to help you through the holiday slump when everyone else is merry.

Published November 30, 2023

For all of us, yes, every one of us, there's a time or day of the year that we don't vibe with. For some, it's Valentine's Day, for others, it's their birthday, and for many more, it's Christmas. And there's nothing wrong or bad about not liking Christmas or the holiday season. It's like not liking mushrooms or thinking Ryan Seacrest is overrated. 

For some, that dislike might even border on loathing: so, what to do if you hate the holidays? With some new traditions, boundaries, and self-care, among other ideas, these tips will get you through it. Because if there are hacks to navigating a life with mushrooms and Ryan Seacrest, there are ways to navigate the Christmas season. 

Make Your Own 25 Days


So, what to do when you hate Christmas? Instead of December's 25 days of you-know-what, make yourself 25 days of movies, trying out a new exercise, getting back into a routine, reading (imagine how many books you could get through!), or recipes.

Whatever it is, take back the days and do with them what you want. When the holidays won't leave you alone, sometimes you just can't beat 'em, so you join 'em, but with your own twist. 

Talk to Someone You Trust About How You Feel


The holidays are a heavy season, so finding a therapist or friend you trust who can guide you through it or be a lifeboat for the feelings about the festivities that won't seem to leave us alone can ease the sharp emotions. It can be challenging to figure out what to do when you hate the holidays, but doing so with some help can give you a boost.

Even if you can't discover why, getting emotions off your chest (or even journaling them) can help you process your thoughts and feelings. It can also help you to navigate or get to the root of why you feel this way, and facing those feelings head-on can make future holidays a little lighter. 

Be Kind to Yourself


I'll be up front: I am not a Valentine's Day person. I never have been! For some reason, even when I was little, it gave me so much anxiety. I don't do well when I'm expected to have a specific feeling or reaction on cue — I'm not great at selling my emotions. So even though I love love, Valentine's Day is a no-go for me.

That also means opening up Christmas presents is a total nightmare for me. My partner gets it, so presents are often left on a table or counter with a simple, "Hey, you should go check out that box," and then he leaves the room.

So if having to "be on" or forcibly happy, joyful, or social is a source of holiday angst, that doesn't make you a bad person. You're still someone who loves joy and being with people, you just have your own way of wanting to do it. And that's totally cool. Don't beat yourself up. Find ways to fill your cup and be nice to yourself. 

Set Boundaries During the Holidays


If your partner or close friends totally love Christmas, it can be hard to feel like a good friend during the season, especially if they want to spend time with you. You don't need to RSVP yes to every holiday party. Instead, let them know they can pick one that's the most important to them. and you'll attend, which can help you meet in the middle.

You can also set a physical boundary that your home is to be free of all holiday decorations or mention of Christmas. Whatever boundaries you need to get through this holiday season with your sanity intact, voice them clearly and early on.

Be Social for a Different Reason


You don't need to miss out on seeing friends and family during Christmas! Instead of dragging your feet to a Christmas party to see their faces on a Saturday, check out a trivia night, go bowling, or catch a non-holiday movie. 

YOu can also host a party with a theme — everyone brings a dish or drink that starts with the letter L, all guests must wear pajamas, or summer blockbusters, for instance. And, as mentioned, make sure there's a firm boundary in your invitations so guests don't twist your non-holiday vision. 

Make Your Own Traditions Around the Holidays


Make your own traditions that you can find an easy rhythm with each year, or adjust as you go. Everyone sets their resolutions in January, but why not use your December as a warm-up for your resolutions? Yeah, you want to one day be able to run a half-marathon, but why not give that a test drive before the new year?

Family is tricky for some. So softly celebrating with your found family, even if it's just a group dinner, can be an excellent yearly tradition. Instead of baking, go for an adventure or daycation. Baking cookies can be an all-day event, so why not spend your day out of the house instead? 

Find New Holidays to Celebrate


There are dozens of holidays in December, and we're not even talking about the ones that are usually marked on our store-bought caledars. Why not celebrate a holiday that doesn't have a greeting card? 

  • National Pie Day (December 1st)
  • National Sock Day (December 4th)
  • National Gazpacho Day (December 6th)
  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (December 8th)
  • National Stretching Day (December 11th)
  • National Wear Your Pearls Day (December 15th)
  • Cat Herders Day (December 15th)
  • Wright Brothers Day (December 17th)
  • National Sangria Day (December 20th)
  • National Maine Day (December 21st)
  • Festivus (December 23rd)
  • National Pumpkin Pie Day (December 25th)
  • National Card Playing Day (December 28th)
  • Bacon Day (December 30th)
  • National Champagne Day (December 31st)
  • Make Up Your Mind Day (December 31st)

Recognize Your Why and Embrace It


When journaling or talking with a trusted friend, you might stumble across just why you don't like Christmas. It could be that you choose to abstain from alcohol (or have a bad association with it), and all those Christmas parties and drinks rub you the wrong way.

Perhaps food is a source of discomfort for you, and all the snacks and dinners are a source of stress rather than joy. If you've lost a loved one, recently left a relationship, don't have a good relationship with your family, or moved somewhere new, your heart may not be ready. All of those things are valid. You are valid. 

If, or when, you feel ready to tackle those things that are unresolved, it could help you to navigate Christmas with a little less effort. 

Hating Christmas Doesn't Make You a Grinch


It's normal to have loves, likes, and loathes in life. And hating Christmas is fair game! There's nothing wrong with hating Christmas, but it's important not to yuck someone's yum. My partner likes pickled herring sandwiches, but I have some firm opinions about it. But they make him happy, so I opt for a different sandwich instead.  There's even a movie about hating Christmas, but perhaps that's how you ended up here in the first place.

8 Ways to Survive the Holidays When You Don't Like Christmas