No, we can’t cancel Christmas this year.

I’ve been hearing this A LOT this year from colleagues, clients, random people in the street.  This idea of canceling Christmas isn’t new.  There’s a movie about it, and even when I googled “Cancel Christmas” to fact check that there was indeed a movie about it, my hits were all blog posts “Why We Canceled Christmas”  “How to Cancel Christmas”  “Fed Up Parents Cancel Christmas”.  Those were just the top three.  So tell me, bloggers, why are you telling people to do something they can not do?   Canceling Christmas in my mind is like going to the beach and running out to the shoreline and yelling to the ocean “NO! Don’t send the next wave in!  Stop the waves!” You can’t do it.  YOU (or I, or the bloggers telling you to) don’t have that kind of power.

Why do you want to cancel Christmas?  Let’s address that instead because THAT (whatever “that” is) we have some control over.

  1. The Holidays/Christmas are overwhelming.  Take a step back, take a deep breath and keep breathing.  What aspects are overwhelming? Are you overextending yourself physically, financially, both? Is your extended family coming and you’re worried that everything has to be perfect?  These are the kinds of thoughts and behaviors that you can examine and change.  Limit yourself to one or two holiday parties, or NO holiday parties if that is the right answer for you.  Don’t participate in the office Secret Santa if that is too overwhelming for you.  Make a budget and stick to it. Let go of the idea of perfection.  Nothing is perfect.  NOTHING.  Work on progress, not perfection.

2.  I can’t afford Christmas.  Kids’ Christmas lists a mile long? Not sure how you’re going to pay for that PS4 and the tablet they are asking for?  Don’t.  Have the kids re-write their lists.  Give them a spending cap.  How do you explain a spending cap to a five-year-old?  You don’t.  You just tell her that she can pick from one of these 3 items (all within your spending limit) to ask Santa for.  You do explain the spending cap to the older ones, and not to sound like a cheesy Hallmark movie, but you remind them that Christmas is about giving.  Find an angel tree or have them pick out a new gift for Toys for Tots (Thank you,  Marines!) and explain that this gift they are giving will be in place of one they are getting this year.

Scale down the rest of the works, too.  You don’t have to have a 5-course holiday dinner or fancy, catered party.  Have the family do things pot-luck style, or go with appetizers and snacks on Christmas Day.

3.  I just can’t get into the spirit this year. Now, I am a therapist by trade, so I am totally going to give you a pass if you’re grieving or dealing with something larger than life right now (terminal illness, extreme mental illness) but if this is just a case of the blues- get yourself into the spirit.  Watch a TV special and eat a Christmas cookie, damn it!  Go window shopping.  Drink some Limited Edition seasonal tea or coffee that screams “Holidays are Here!”

What I’m trying to say, is that who are we, to stop or cancel Christmas (or any wintertime holiday*)? I am not even coming from the religious aspect here (although that is important for many). If nothing else, the holidays should be about a feeling of peace and love and if you’re wanting to cancel that, it might be time to rest, take a breath and examine what is really going on and what you are really running from.

*footnote, just utterly curious if people of other religions/beliefs threaten to cancel their festivities?  I have never heard of anyone threatening to “Cancel Hanukkah” this year or “Skip Kwanzaa”.   I have a feeling that might have to do with how much expectation and commercialization are associated with Christmas, but I was just curious.  Feel free to comment.

Happiest of Holidays to you, and Peace always,  Joanna.



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