One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn’t Like Someone Else in the Room.


Holidays are a time of Joy, Togetherness, Family, Peace….  or so we are told to feel.  Most people will scoff at that statement, roll their eyes, or feel the tension build in their shoulders or stomachs as they think “I wish.” 

For some people, this tension comes mildly from a hectic calendar, shopping dread, or vague discomfort with all that the holidays entail.  A break from it all during lunch with a friend, maybe a glass of wine or a bubble bath may get you through.

But for some, the tension comes from the pressure and anxiety over being with family, family that you may dread and manage to avoid seeing for most of the year because they have abused you or others in some way, emotionally, verbally, or even physically, and now with the holidays you are forced to endure their presence in your life, your home, your “happy holidays.”  A bubble bath may feel less than adequate, or simply impossible.

Do you know which of these 2 categories you fall into?  Are you somewhere in between?  Answer the questions below and find out just how dreadful you perceive the holidays to be, and more importantly, how you can get through them with less pain this year!

  • Do you look at your to do list and sink into a chair feeling overwhelmed or defeated before you begin?
  • Do you sink from a fear or anxiety over upsetting someone if you don’t accomplish the list, or get it “just right?”
  • Do you you look over your calendar of activities in dread?
  • Do you dread it because of the people that will be there rather than because of the actual activities?
  • Does your dread, fear or anxiety cause you headaches?
  • Does your dread, fear or anxiety cause your stomach to churn?
  • Does your dread, fear or anxiety cause you to lose sleep or have nightmares?
  • Does your dread, fear or anxiety cause you to shake, breathe faster, or any other “panicky” feelings?
  • Does your dread, fear or anxiety cause you to become irritable and angry constantly?
  • Do you “just know it will get ugly/ruined/awful/miserable?”
  • Would you be able to smile over some of those activities, if others were not on that list?
  • Is there a particular person you most resent/fear/cringe at the thought of being near?
  • Do you have a Family Holidays Horror Story every year?

If you answered YES to all of these questions – the holidays are a miserable prospect for you, but they don’t have to be.  With some advice from our blog posts as well as a place to discuss the holidays with others in your same mindset, you can get through this and even have some Happy in Your Holidays.

If you answered YES to some of these questions – You’ll get through, as you always have, with some good moments and some bad, but deserve to give yourself even Happier Holidays this year by reading the blog posts and joining the discussion too.  Maybe you have made some changes in past years and could offer some helpful advice to those with deeper dread.

If you answered NO to all of those questions – Happy Holidays!!! Please take a few moments to spread the joy with a little advice for those in need in During the Dread-full Holidays.

To All of you,
Lots of Love, Peace and Joy this season (yes, we’ll help you have those things too!)

If you are interested in knowing more, read on.


  1. My boyfriend “Jason” and I have been together for almost a year. This will be our first Christmas together and I have been looking forward to it for a while now. We are very close and have talked about all the wonderful family things we can do together like touring the Christmas lights in the neighborhoods, cooking, decorating our tree, etc. I say family because I have a 6 year old son from my previous marriage and he is very much a part of OUR lives, he and my boyfriend are very close and everything has been wonderful.. up until yesterday.

    Jason had talked very excitedly about one of the big get togethers his family has every year, a sort of pre-christmas party that is important to him because everyone in the family, aunts uncles, children, grandchildren, etc comes together for a weekend of decorating the big tree at his mom’s house, eating, playing games, etc to start the season off. Yesterday when he was on the phone with his mom, Jason was talking about the weekend and how much the 3 of us were looking forward to it. His mom told him that, in fact, my son was not invited, since that “would be awkward” and I needed to find somewhere to have him stay while we attended, or stay home with him while Jason came to the party alone.

    I was furious, and devastated. It was the first I had heard of there being any negative feelings towards me and my son from Jason’s family. Jason seemed surprised and upset also, but we haven’t talked yet about what we will do. I know that Jason is angry and wants to be with us because he thinks of us as his family, but I know how important his “real” family is to him too. I don’t want to ask him not to go for fear of everyone thinking I am trying to divide the family, but I will be so hurt if he chooses to accept that my son is not invited. I am so afraid this will hurt our relationship and ruin our holidays either way. What do I do?

  2. You are in such a sad predicament and I feel for you. You need to stay strong in your love so exhibit grace, so try to be the ultimate actress even though you hurt and face the party as if all is well without your son that is very hard i know and if you cant then just tell everyone you can’t find a sitter and stay with your son and send your boyfriend without you, of course telling him to explain to his mother you could not come as you could not find a sitter rather than say you wont because you are insulted then wishing him a genuine good time and simply allowing his mother to have her selfish way. It takes lots of time to see people’s true colors sorry to hear you have seen his mothers already. Good luck!!! Stick by that little boy no matter what!!!!

  3. Valerie thank you so much, I was just feeling so alone and upset.
    You are right though, grace, at least with Jason, is probably the way to go. I have to admit, I don’t think I can go quite so far as to go to the party without my son. I would just be too angry to smile and pretend to enjoy myself, especially towards his mother, with the shock and rejection being so fresh. But Jason is a good man and I want us to enjoy many future Christmases together, so I will try to let this go, to deal with at another time, after the holidays, on how to handle his mother’s attitude towards us. That is going to be a challenge for me I know, confronting her about this one day. I have no idea what to say to her about all of this. But I won’t let it ruin our Christmas.

  4. My Christmas will probably be spent alone. My boyfriend visits his children, and grandchild for Christmas. It is the only time they are all together, and it is a fairly long trip to to visit them. His adult kids “obey” his ex and exclude me from everything. We spent one Christmas – our first Christmas – together, but not the last two years. Last year we planned “us” time and took a vacation for New Years. One son and his c/l lives too far away to visit easily, my other son and his wife visit her parents at Christmas. My daughter has not invited me for a couple of years, though they have come over after Christmas with ny grandkids. The year she is in a strange space, and I don’t expect anything from her. It is a big change for me, as we had happy family celebrations for years for Christmas and New Years. I don’t find it easy.

    • Dear Joan,
      you have been given an extraordinary opportunity, and of course it asks a lot of courage from you. Instead of being enmeshed with a lot of people you would feel uncomfortable around, or walking on eggshells like with your daughter and her silence, why not accept that life is asking from you something? I would bite the bullet and decide this is my first holiday season where I’m invited to get deep into my own soul. And rejoice because peace is all around me….I would do an appointment with myself, plan carefully what I’m going to do with the special holiday days, and find something completely new to do. Either you can stay at home, doing your own ceremony and enjoy meditation; or you go visit someone who can enjoy your company a lot, or volunteer feeding poor families, or find a group of perfect strangers getting together to overcome the holidays…as you can see, there are lots of ideas for making your own, free and creative celebration.
      I’d suggest Joan that you release all those characters of your narrative; get a lovely dress, make your plan and have a great adventure away from the routines that up until now have kept you utterly frustrated in your personal needs. Be brave, be creative and design the holidays you want, watch yourself all the time (no self-pity, remember?) and grow with the experience! Wishing you lots of inner peace,


  1. Neil Warner says:

    One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn't Like Someone Else in the Room.

  2. Neil Warner says:

    RT @TopsyRT: One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn't Like Someone Else in the Room. #

  3. Neil Warner says:

    RT @TopsyRT: One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn't Like Someone Else in the Room. #

  4. Neil Warner says:

    RT @TopsyRT: One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn't Like Someone Else in the Room. #

  5. Neil Warner says:

    One Out of Every Four People at Your Family Christmas Dinner Doesn't Like Someone Else in the Room.

  6. […]  So we wish you Happy Holidays and invite you to take care of yourself this season by reading more about other people’s stories and joining the discussion about your holiday challenges and […]

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