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Nancy Schimelpfening

Letting Go of Holiday Expectations

By December 25, 2013

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Have you noticed that even though we think of the holidays as a time of great peace and joy, this isn't always the case.  So many of us spend the month of December feeling stressed out and unhappy.  Maybe we just don't get along with our family or we place such high expectations on what we want the holiday season to be and mean that we can't ever hope to measure up?  Whatever our reasons may be, it is possible to relax and enjoy the holidays for a change by changing what we think about them.  Let go of your perfectionism and practice accepting things for what they really are.  By doing this, sometimes the most imperfect of circumstances can turn out to be the most perfect.  Are you ready to let go of some of your expectations?   The following tips can help you develop a healthier and happier attitude about the holidays.

Have any tips that you'd like to share for beating holiday depression?  Please share them below in the comments section.

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December 24, 2008 at 7:36 am
(1) Wendy Aron says:

I think the only thing you can do is try to be around other people during the holiday season. That may come from friends, family or volunteer work. If you are alone, know that you are not the only one.

Wendy Aron, author of Hide & Seek: How I Laughed at Depression, Conquered My Fears and Found Happiness

December 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm
(2) tony says:

as for me x-mas just not the same no more for me if was not for me seeing my 2 kids i would sleep it away dont take me wrong i use to love x-mas but now days i feel i lost the love,joy,the meaning of being happy all alone now days don’t help also wish they had a support group here in ripon,wi for people with bypoler,deperssion as i got but there ant plus i’m not a people person i don’t trust very few i stay alone i fgell safer this wish i did not but what can i do!!

December 23, 2009 at 12:47 am
(3) Alex says:

Well, x-mas or anything for that matter means nothing to me anymore. my girlfriend broke up with me and i really loved her, iv bin so depressed lately iv actually starting random out breaks of crying during anything. now im nor the type of guy that goes into a bar picks up a girl sleeps with them and leaves the next day, i actually cant even so much as hold hands with someone if i don’t love them. iv actually thought about killing myself many times,iv held a knife to my wrist and only wondered if i had the guts to do it, to end all of this pain once and for all. so that i wouldn’t have to go along with a broken heart forever more

December 23, 2009 at 7:51 am
(4) amelia says:

it is because we expect too much of ourselves and others expect too much of us so we are totally drained of the energy to be joyous.
My kids are grown and know that we are financially in trouble, yet I keep getting updated wish lists from one of them as if she didn;t hear a word I said.
We have groups not allowing people to say the word Christmas, not allowed to even allude to the true meaning…buy -buy -buy..that is all that matters this time of year.
So now, sales are down, stores are sad, we’re all broke and stressed that we forgot someone’s gift….the only thing that remains constant and sure is that this holiday started because a baby was born…a baby??? wow…all this for a baby?
We are not alone in our concerns, but we forget that all we have to do is go to that baby, breath in the joy of His birth and forge on. Nothing else matters.

December 23, 2009 at 7:35 pm
(5) JAE says:

Alex, sometimes I feel the same way as you do, so I double up on my meds and force myself to keep moving. I wait until I am alone and find something I can cry and scream as loud as I want into. I made promises years ago never to end my own life (only unforgiveable sin and all), so my expectations are that someone will get something memorable (maybe material or not) from me or I may find something in life worth dealing with the holidays for.

January 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm
(6) John@how to beat depression naturally says:

The holidays can and will always be depressing for some and not for others, this we can not change. What we can change is our feelings and emotions about the holiday season and how it affects us. Never ever feel sorry for yourself, you always need to be stronger than that. No matter how bad things are you must always remember that someone else has it tougher than you and maybe you can help them. There is no greater feeling than being able to be there for someone and help them in their time of need. This will show your true character and others will always look up to you for it and never forget you for what you did. Always find a way to move forward with confidence and you will never be disappointed, alone or sad again.

December 21, 2011 at 7:48 am
(7) Linda says:

Christmas has become very difficult after my mother died. The family has split up, there are no more get togethers, no more fun stuff, it just all stopped. Last year it was even very financially difficult for me. I have had some rough times through the past few Xmas’s. But I am trying this year something different, something for me. I’m traveling to see my boys instead of waiting for them to come to me, sitting around the house depressed and all alone was not happening for me this year. I decided to go visit them instead for the Holiday. My changed plans, I think, will make this year not only different but also brighter in the fact that I’m doing something about not being alone.
I also was financially able to give this year to a disabled brother and his boys. This makes Xmas, for me, special. Not being able to give made Xmas in the past so depressive. Giving to me is the best.
Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2012 at 11:18 am
(8) Mike N. says:

What usually helps for me, not just around Christmas but in general, is to do something nice for others. I’ve found that if I sit around thinking about myself and how depressed I am, my situation never changes. However, if I help others in need or do something nice for someone else it counteracts how badly I feel about myself.

December 21, 2012 at 11:16 am
(9) Devanox11 says:


When i done something good for someone that help me too, but
If you read Mrs Pratnicka book ‘Possessed by Ghosts’ you can have something more pernament

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