How to Enjoy the Holidays When It Doesn’t Come Naturally

We all have that friend who, every holiday season, can hardly wait until Thanksgiving to put up the Christmas decor, blasts holiday tunes from dawn till dusk no matter where they are, and is generally the physical embodiment of Buddy the Elf.

I am not that friend. I wish I was, but I haven’t been for a long time, and I may never be that friend again.

It’s not because I don’t like Christmas or the holidays – I do! But for reasons that I’m sure could be unfurled after a few expensive sessions with a psychiatrist, I’m not wildly joyful about the holiday season. This next sentence is one I’m almost afraid to write, and I caution my Buddy the Elf friends to skip ahead to the next paragraph:

Sometimes, during the holidays, I’m looking forward to all of it ending.

That probably sounds really sad and dramatic, but as I said, I do enjoy this time of year, I guess it’s moreso that I never enjoy it as much as I expect to or want to. I feel like I’m missing some mistletoe-shaped chromone born into everyone who can’t contain their excitement for the Christmas season.

I know I’m not alone in being someone who doesn’t get as naturally hyped about the holidays as everyone else. Although I’m not 100% sure why it happens for me, other people experience the Christmas blues for various reasons, which can include the following:

SAD (seasonal depression disorder)

Lack of Vitamin D

Trauma associated with the holidays

Not having loved ones to spend the day with

Having to work heavily around the holidays


And the list probably goes on and on! While I’d love to hold on to hope that someday soon I will wake up on a December 1st morning eyes aglow with anticipation of the holiday magic, right now, I simply don’t feel that way. But just because childlike joy doesn’t naturally course through my veins as soon as Christmas music begins playing in the department stores doesn’t mean that all is lost. I’m pleased to say that over the years of feeling less infatuated with Christmas, I have discovered some grounding activities that help me to appreciate the magic enveloped with it all. So for all of my friends missing the mistletoe chromosome, I hope the following ideas help you to enjoy the right amount of magic you need to enjoy yourself this holiday season.

1. Decorate for Christmas

I’m sure there are studies and surveys showing why having Christmas decorations around you brings joy. Much like my reason for not loving the holidays more than life, I can’t tell you the reason behind why having Christmas decorations around seems to perk everything up within me – it just does. Decorating can be therapeutic and relaxing. There’s no need to deck every hall in your house – browse on Instagram or Pinterest for winter scenes that delight your senses, and shop around for items that incite feelings of coziness. Whether that’s a colorful Christmas throw-up or a simple white and silver farmhouse look, the aesthetic that speaks to you is the one that deserves to be in your home/apartment/bedroom/office.


2. Watch Christmas Films

This can be a tricky step as many Christmas movies are sentimental and even sad. But if you’re someone who has a hard time not getting down in the dumps this time of year, consider sticking to funnier Christmas flicks like Elf, A Christmas Story or Home Alone. Experiencing a lot of laughter around the holidays while watching movies like these can help you associate the season with joy instead of sadness.

3. Spend time with People You Like

Maybe the people you like are related to you, and maybe they aren’t. Whoever it is who makes you feel loved and uplifted this time of year, make it a priority to be in their presence – and don’t wait for them to extend the invitation! Consider hosting a small game night, movie night, gift exchange, baking party or going ice skating together. Creating memories of quality time with loved ones can help you get your mind off the holiday blues and help you to create new memories.

4. Give to the Less Fortunate

Volunteering time or money is always an excellent thing to do, but especially during the holidays, it tends to be a humbling reminder of all we have to be grateful for and what the important things really are. I’ve experienced that doing things like donating money, stocking up a food drive or serving with a local non-profit is a grounding reminder of what the holidays really represent, which is way more important that our Christmas blues!


Tonight, I’m taking these tips to heart by snuggling up with my mans on the couch to watch a Christmas movie and drink some hot coco. My challenge for you this week for all you unintentional grinches is to enjoy one of the above activities. Added pro-tip for slipping into the magic: put your phone away!




  1. Erin
    December 10, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this. I also never felt like “Buddy the Elf” around the holidays. Heck, I felt more like the grinch. While I have my own coping mechanisms, you have helped make some people not feel so isolated or “weird” during the holiday by sharing this. Thank you!

    • Karoline Chapman
      December 18, 2019 / 3:06 pm

      Thank YOU for speaking up! Just hearing that you relate makes me feel less isolated, too. 🙂

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