Avoiding Christmas Guilt

It happens every year. Halloween hits and the stores begin to fill up with Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS goodies. If you are like me, you vow that “This year will be different! This year I will celebrate Christmas as it should be!” However, as the days wind down the Christmas Guilt begins to set in and you start to wonder how to avoid it.

Christmas Guilt Too Many Presents

What is Christmas Guilt?

I like to define “Christmas Guilt” as that feeling you get when you feel pressured to buy, get bigger, and want more for the sake of “being in the Christmas Spirit”. I’ve noticed an increasing number of people that state they want Christmas to be simple. They vow it’s not about presents.  They turn their focus on helping others and being thankful for the things they have.

I truly believe the feeling is genuine.

However, something happens as the calendar winds closer to the 25th. Those same people (including myself) begin to worry that maybe they haven’t done “enough” for Christmas.

The “Christmas Guilt” sets in.

What Does Christmas Guilt Look Like?

For me, Christmas guilt comes in the shape of regret and worry near the deadline. This year I vowed to enjoy the Christmas season with my family.

We started a new Advent tradition that focused on creating family memories instead of counting down pieces of candy. We turned our Elf into a writing project that fostered creativity, problem solving and team work among the boys. Lastly, we involved the children in the entire “gift giving” process; which meant most, if not all, of our gifts were going to be hand-made by the boys and myself.

I was feeling really good about the way things were going. We have been cranking out the Christmas crafts and doing activities that remind us what Christmas means to us (avoiding the “I wants” and the “I needs”).

We even made a Thanksgiving in December centerpiece to represent all the things we are thankful for this month (not just that one day in November). Things were feeling good.

Then it happened. I started to get the questions. I started to see all the gift giving guides.

What are you getting the kids for Christmas?
What do you want for Christmas?(I have always hated this question)
Can you give us ideas for the kids?
This year my son/daughter wants a….

I started to second- guess myself. Do I need to buy more presents? Do I need to have a shopping list? Am I missing something about Christmas?

How Do I Avoid the Christmas Guilt?

The real truth is.. You can’t! At least I haven’t found a way to avoid it. Just this morning I was talking with a friend about how I felt guilty that we weren’t doing Christmas gifts this year. I don’t have a Christmas list. I don’t have gobs of presents to wrap. Should I?

All I can tell you is that I continue to remind myself of the simplicity I want from Christmas. I am reminded that I am blessed to have the means to live in a nice house, eat a nice meal and be comforted by the pleasures of “things”. There is nothing I need this year.

I am reminded to keep my thoughts on the love and thoughtfulness we are sharing this Christmas. This doesn’t come easy. Each day I have to remind myself of my goals for this Christmas and evaluate whether I feel we are accomplishing those goals or not though the following questions.

  • What are the children focused on?
  • If asked what do the children say Christmas is all about?
  • How are we celebrating Christmas in a sustainable way?

If I can’t answer them the way I want, I know its time to re-evaluate. If I can, then the Christmas guilt shrinks just a little. Sometimes I leave this up to my kids…

The other day Legoman told me “Mom, I know what you want for Christmas.”

Me: “Oh really, hon? What’s that?” (nervous of his answer)

Love! You want love, Mom!

Love in a Box!

And that is how I avoid the Christmas guilt… one day at a time, and one kid reminder at a time!

If you need some inspiration for Alternative Gift Giving,  be sure to check out my Alternative Gift Giving Guide

Do you get the Christmas guilt? How do you avoid it? I would love to hear!  Connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email in the sidebar. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.


What is Christmas Guilt and How to Avoid it


4 thoughts on “Avoiding Christmas Guilt”

  1. I love this and I think your right I think there is no way to avoid the Christmas guilt. This year I let my kids get anything they want because I felt guilty they didn’t get much last year. I feel guilty they don’t have grandparents that care about them and give them gifts other than my husband’s mom and she always sends something they can’t use. So I spend between $200-$300 a piece on them and then I feel guilty that they don’t have much to open. I always feel I am not doing enough for Christmas, make sure they know the real meaning, read the bible verses, see the lights, elf on the shelf, all the Christmas movies, must do baking, party foods, homemade candy, stockings, and then to top it all off I feel guilty because I am not being simple! Ok, anyway thanks for sharing and giving me somewhere to vent all this, loving the blog by the way!

    1. I even got Christmas guilt for my son yesterday. His younger brother bought him a thoughtful gift that was perfect for him, and he had given his brother found objects. I talked it over with my oldest and we went and got his brother something at the store too. Sometimes I just can’t avoid it.

  2. I appreciate this post! I decided we weren’t going to have a tree in our small apartment this year because I’m worn out from various things we’ve been dealing with, plus the boys use our living room as a sports complex. Do I really want to be nagging them about “Don’t kick the ball over there!”?

    I was fine with my decision until the both separately told me in tears they were sad we weren’t having a tree this year, and until I had no place to put the small stash of presents. Then I was reminded by a family member, “You need to create memories for them…”

    I was really upset after that phone call, and then I realized I can be strong in my decision. Sometimes it’s hard to be the grown up, but I’ll keep trying. 🙂

    1. I completely understand. I always try to remember that making memories happens with or without the “things”. Its the actions, activities and the way the holidays are celebrated that are remembered.

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