Why Christmas is So Hard

Why Christmas is So Hard December 11, 2023

Theodore Bender PhD, MBA, December 2022

Why Christmas is so hard might sound like a foreign concept to some. Still, it’s a truth worth our consideration. Christmas is about the birth of Christ, it’s also a time to share gifts, laugh, and eat too much. Despite that, some people find it is a difficult time of the year. To make it worse, other folks enjoy the holidays so much that they can’t comprehend why some people struggle.

5 Reasons Why Christmas is So Hard

Below, I’ve listed 5 basic reasons why Christmas is so hard. They are:

  1. Personalities
  2. Memories
  3. Traditions
  4. Relationships
  5. Expectations

Now, let’s take a look at each one.

Different personalities make Christmas hard. Photo Credit – Zippa

Different Personalities is Why Christmas is So Hard For Some People.

Many researchers say there are 16 personality types. The best-known assessment is The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI)®. It “is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type. It indicates your personality preferences in four dimensions:

  • Where you focus your attention – Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • The way you take in information – Sensing (S) or INtuition (N)
  • How you make decisions – Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • How you deal with the world – Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)”(Ibid).
Image Credit: World Economic Forum

Extrovert or Introvert?

Extroverts are talkative, and socially engaging, while an introvert is more reserved and like to work independently. Some people are ambiverts and exhibit balanced personality traits between the two. Maybe you are 1 of the people who love a good party while your spouse finds it suffocating to make small talk. If you think this point is obvious, then why do so many people get it wrong? This 1 aspect of personality is key to understanding why Christmas is so hard.

Personality Explained: Psychology Today. Image By Shutterstock

Personalities Are Complex

You’ve lived with your personality for a very long time: it’s like a trusted friend. Even so, it is not uncommon to wonder if you can change your personality. Some experts say a hard “no”, but others disagree. The truth lies somewhere in between. A person might be able to very slowly increase certain personality traits, but the changes are unlikely to last. Besides, who your personality is like a Christmas gift from God. Don’t mess with it.

Christmas is Hard bad memories by Value Life Skills

Bad Memories Make Christmas Hard

Bad memories might be the reason that Christmas is so hard. For instance, I have a dear friend who can’t celebrate Thanksgiving. On 1 Thanksgiving day when she was a young girl, her father and older brother went hunting near their Georgia home, while her mother prepared dinner. My friend’s dad was a heavy drinker and had been drinking that morning. As they were walking into the woods, her dad tripped and fell. As all too often happens, he accidentally fired the shotgun, killing his only son and my friend’s only brother. For them, Thanksgiving would never be the same because of that traumatic experience.

Christmas Holiday Traditions – Image Credit – NCHS Courant

Holiday Traditions

It might be hard to believe, but maintaining important family traditions might be why Christmas is so hard. My wife is generous and takes pains to buy each person just what they want. She loves to decorate our home, both inside and out. Nothing is quite as fun as when our 3 daughters, their husbands, and our 10 grandchildren pack our home full of life and love.  Some people are less sentimental and find doing the same thing every year hard to handle. That is something a traditionalist will never fully understand.

Why Christmas is Hard For Some People – Navigating Relationships

Navigating Relationships

Do you know anyone who is always disagreeable? Nothing suits them. The house is too hot, the drive was too long, and the presents were too expensive, etc. What’s more, they seem to feed on the conflict. Then there are the very touchy people. They wear their feelings on their sleeve and take offense at the slightest misunderstanding. Most individuals want to get along and enjoy the day, but having to navigate relationships is why Christmas is so hard for some people.

Managing Conflict at Christmas, Image Credit – The Emerging Nurse Leader

Managing Conflict at Christmas

Knowing how to manage conflict healthily can make any event better. Here are 5 conflict management styles and their description: Avoiders will do nearly anything to avoid conflict; Accommodators feel it’s their responsibility for everyone to get along; Compromisers believe both sides should give up something; Conquerors are only interested in winning; Collaborators suggest, “I’ll give you what you want if you’ll give me what I want.” Understanding healthy ways to manage conflict can stop a hard Christmas in its tracks.

Expectations and Christmas: Image Credit – Nathan Jamail

Expectations and Christmas

Feeling like we have to live up to other people’s expectations can make Christmas hard. However, such feelings are almost always a false narrative. Usually, the others don’t realize we feel that way. Ironically, wrongly believing there are expectations others have imposed on us, can make them believe that we have expectations that they must meet! Can you see how it creates a vicious cycle?

Grace Makes Christmas More Meaningful. Image Credit – Mountainview Church of Glenwood.

Showing Grace Makes Christmas More Pleasant For Everyone!

Why is Christmas so hard? Usually, because we don’t talk about what bothers us in an atmosphere of grace. Most of us have unhealed emotional wounds that give us trouble on special days, with people we love. Showing grace toward one another is the best way to take the threat out of those wounds. When you show grace to others, they usually do the same for you. Do you remember what the angels sang to the shepherds? The same thing we need today, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”




About ken Shelton
Ken and his wife Kitty were married on May 4, 1974. They have 3 daughters, ten grandchildren, and a 13-year-old Maltese/Poodle named Aspen. He is an ordained bishop, a songwriter, recording artist, and writer, and has planted several churches from his primary pastorate in Brighton, MI. More information is available at kenshelton.info and kensheltonmusic.com. You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here.
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