The Nightmare on Christmas

7 Surefire Ways to Make Christmas the Best Fight of the Year

  1. Shared anger is double the anger

    Be really mad if you receive a present you don’t entirely like. Give room to your frustration and make your voice heard. Also, count the gifts, assess their value, and compare if you received more than others. Everyone knows that love and appreciation are measured in contributions. Who loves you the most? Who loves others more than you? Christmas is also a perfect occasion to hone your passive-aggressiveness skills. You could ask with a warm smile, “Do you still have the receipt?” Or put on a forced-brave face and say, “It’s ok. I don’t need gifts.”
  2. The question of guilt

    Did something go wrong? No problem as long as you find the offender. Do everything in your power to find the person that left the fridge open. Who smashed the tree topper? Collect everyone, sit them down, make abundantly clear that you will not stop until you find the offender, and bring them to justice.

  3. Make a list

    Prepare a list of traits and habits you dislike about each family member and friend. A tally list will work great to keep track of how many times each family member displays the behavior you loathe. It also helps you to stay focused on everything you dislike about your family. This is not the time of the year to be accepting or tolerant. If it were, it would be called Acceptmas, right?

  4. Unfinished chapters

    There’s no better time of the year to bring up unresolved and long resolved conflicts. It’s the one time of the year where the whole family sits together and can enjoy the discussion. If you don’t know how to get started, I recommend this warm-up line: “What I always wanted to tell you…"

    Throughout the discussion, generalize as much as you can. “You always..”

  5. Christmas must be wonderful

    As we all know, much pressure helps much. Make a perfect, harmonious Christmas your only goal. If you try hard enough, it will work. Christmas MUST be perfect. And if it’s not, you probably didn’t try hard enough. Turn up the pressure!      

  6. Get it done

    Try to get as much as possible done. Ideally, put off buying Christmas presents and run into a store on December 24th. The stores will probably be really empty, and you can shop for your loved ones stress-free. Then rush home and clean the house. After all, Christmas is when you can finally get some chores done. Cook everything from scratch and start an hour before your guests arrive.

    When you finally let your worn-out body sink on the couch, enjoy the sensation of how ungrateful everyone is. Practice a reproachful look and wear a subtle hint of accusation in your voice. Your eyes should say, “After all I have done for you!” Everyone must know how much you sacrificed to make this the best night of the year.

  7. Clear up common misconceptions

    Start off by telling all the kids that there is no such thing as Santa Clause. The children have the right to know that it’s really uncle Peter dressing up as Santa.

    Christmas is yet another stunt of our shallow, materialistic consumer society to sell stuff we don’t need? Wow, you’re seemingly one of the intellectual elite. Use your critical thinking advantage to make everyone else feel bad about themselves. Life is not a walk in the park, and there’s no better day for the 3-year old to learn. Be sure to spoil the primitive joy of the normals. They’re little chess figures played by a system that spits them out. But not you, my friend. You’re on to them.

Hopefully, this article made you smile.

Let's make this year's fest "Acceptmas." A fest of love and gratitude!

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Christmas after a loss

Celebrating Christmas after the death of a loved one

Christmas music was playing when Alma pushed her cart towards the register. Not the cashier who handed her a chocolate Santa nor anyone in the jolly crowd picked up on her sadness. Alma’s father died on December 14th. 

For many of us, Christmas the happiest time of the year. An event we’re looking forward to all year.

However, some people are afraid.

Because they have lost a loved one or a family member is gravely ill.

Because their best friend has recently experienced loss, and they have no idea how to comfort them.

Because they feel a jolly celebration would be inappropriate.

Because everyone used to come together in the family home that now belongs to someone else.

Even if you made steps toward coping with grief, the first Christmas after a loss tears up old wounds. When grandma’s chair stays empty. When Papa doesn’t dress up as Santa. When the partner you celebrated with is gone.

Often, it’s not just a matter of grief but also unresolved conflicts. Not all surviving dependents treat each other respectfully and lovingly.

Escaping Christmas and pretending it doesn’t happen

Many try to ignore Christmas altogether or travel as far away as they can. However, avoiding grief and sadness by going on a vacation doesn’t work. Sorrow and loneliness can track you anywhere.

It’s better to face the situation and your feelings in familiar surroundings, ideally, with people who can comfort you when you cry.

Simplified, facing your emotions allows you to move on and heal. 

How can you help others coping with grief?

So what can you do to help someone in grief? If the person is alone, friends and family could reconcile and invite the person. Even if the invitation is not accepted, it represents valuable support.

If you knew the person that passed well AND you sense they might appreciate it, you could put memories and pictures into a collage. That way, the person doesn’t feel as alone in their sorrow.

What’s the “best” way of celebrating Christmas after a loss?

There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe.

However, one thing is crucial: Give your grief a place. The sad feelings are there anyway. Therefore, you might as well “invite” them consciously and give them room. You could place the picture of the loved one on the Christmas table. Or perhaps light a unique candle. If you’re with family or friends, you could hold a “story hour” where everyone shares a story about the person who passed.

Season’s Greetings for people who suffered a loss

If you have no idea how to convey your sympathy, just say that. In some situations, there are no "right" words.

You could choose a wording that expresses that you can't find words to show how much you care. Maybe you want to share that Christmas is a celebration of happiness and love and that you get that the person in grief doesn’t feel happy at this time. You could then wish them strengths to commemorate the loss and stillness to cope with their grief.

However, it depends on your relationship to the person and their temperament. Just sending condolences and ignoring Christmas altogether is another option.

Knowing that they’re cared about will help a person in grief, no matter if they're able to show it at that time.

While Alma is on her way back from the store, her phone rings. It’s her mother who tells her that she decided to celebrate Christmas like every other year with the rest of the family and a few friends. Her mom is afraid of the first Christmas without her husband too, but she’s convinced that spending the evening with friends and family in a familiar setting will be helpful for everyone. 

Alma cries when she lights a red candle, but her heart feels a little bit lighter, and she even manages to look forward to Christmas the tiniest little bit. 

I am in no way trivializing pain.

However, I learned in dark times that more than one feeling can be present at the same time. Therefore, I want to write about love once more.

Grief is a form of love, perhaps with a selfish component. I miss them. With my pain, I express my appreciation for the person I lost and look for new ways to live it.

The grief seems unbearably intense because the love for the beloved person is that strong. This love doesn’t end. Love changes, but it doesn’t stop.

Maybe you can use Christmas time to listen into yourself and experience the love consciously. How does it feel, how do you feel about the loved one?

Perhaps Christmas is the ideal time to celebrate love. For the ones that are with us and for the ones who have gone.

You might be at a place right now where this article doesn’t cut it, and any words you read might sound shallow, stale, and even cynical.

Most importantly: If you feel that the burden is too much for you to carry, reach out for help! Google for the crisis helpline in your country if you’re all alone. Call a friend, accept help.

As at any other time of the year, there are people out there who will support you.

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How to avoid fighting on Christmas


Do we lose all Empathy around Christmas?

Martha is looking forward to the holidays. Every year, she starts to prepare early. From the finest decorations to recipes that tickle your taste buds in the most delightful way: Martha takes Christmas seriously. 

What she loves most is that it's the only time of the year when the whole family gets together. Even her parents fly in from Florida. 

She looks forward to her favorite holiday every year. Sadly, also every year what is supposed to be the festival of love turns into a huge fight. 

Last year was extremely bad: 

  • Martha was mad at everyone. She prepared for weeks and spent 2.5 days in the kitchen but nobody, really NOBODY, appreciated her hard work. Instead, everyone was complaining

  • Maurice, Martha's son, didn't hide how much he hated the whole thing. He was the only one of his friends who was forced to stay at home. All the others met for possibly the greatest party of the year. Nobody likes to be blackmailed. (In Martha's defense: she had no other choice than threatening that she wouldn't buy Maurice the car she promised for his 18th birthday)

  • Erin was crying for hours. She wanted a PlayStation. But her uncool parents bought an Xbox. An Xbox 360. Where did they even find it? In the "free stuff" section of Craigslist?

  • Martha's parents were seriously unhappy. They are not the youngest and traveling is exhausting. They came all the way from Florida to spend quality time with their daughter and grandchildren. The grandchildren were in a devilish mood while her daughter spent all of the time in the kitchen. They were stuck with Bill whom they never liked. Who`s Bill?

  • Bill, Martha's husband, has had it with Christmas. All he wants is a bit of silence and peace. Week-in, week-out he rushes from meeting to meeting and the last thing he wants to do in the little time he has to himself is entertaining grumpy in-laws, juggle ill-tempered kids and listen to horrible Christmas music

Would you like more Christmas music? Follow the link at the end of the post and order your free album with Christmas songs. 

around Christmas

Why do we argue and fight on holidays?

Not just around Christmas, but also on vacations and other holidays: Often what is supposed to be a wonderful time turns into a stressful event. 

Some of the nicest people I know turn into selfish monster who want to force their idea of an ideal vacation/holiday onto others. 


There are several reasons that lead to this, for instance:

  • Overblown expectations
  • We're not used to spend so much time together

How to avoid fighting on holidays

The most important tip: Stay emphatic. Just like the rest of the year. Also:

  1. Don't expect too much. You will not get along better with people than the rest of the year

  2. Try not to force your idea of a perfect Christmas onto others. Everyone should be able to contribute their ideas and who doesn't want to participate shouldn't be forced to

  3. Avoid fundamental debates. It's unlikely that you will find consent about a topic you disagreed on all year long at the Christmas table

  4.  If possible, split the work. Everyone could contribute and be responsible for a part of the Christmas festival

  5. Don't force people to spend hours and hours together if they don't want to. It will only lead to arguments

  6. Don't force them to do things they hate. For example: if your kids don't want to sing Christmas songs - don't make them

  7. Don't overdo it. It doesn't have to be a 6-course menu. Consider preparing something festive but simple so that you are not already stressed out when it begins

  8. Gifts are supposed to make people happy. If someone doesn't like their present, they should be allowed to say so. Keep in mind: It's not a rejection of your person

Procrastination around Christmas

An interesting phenomenon is procrastination around the Christmas. Are you interested in some effective tips how to eliminate it? 

I wrote an article for you about this last year and, if you prefer, you can also listen to the audio edition. 

Article: Killing time around Christmas

Last but not least (unless you ... like me ... dislike Christmas songs): You can order your free Christmas album HERE: Christmas Special: Free Album

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