Why Is It Normal to Hate Christmas?

Christmas time is supposed to be full of holiday cheer, excitement, and joy. Or at least that’s what the commercials and movies around the holidays tell us. For many people around the world, Christmas is a festive, happy time of year.

Key takeaways:
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    At least 10 percent of people in the United States dislike Christmas.
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    People can hate Christmas for many reasons, from the stresses of gift shopping to the pressure to love the festive season.
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    One of the best things you can do to make it through the holidays is get enough sleep.

Though Christmas is very popular around the world, that doesn’t mean it is loved by everyone.

A recent poll suggests at least 10 percent of people in the United States dislike Christmas. Of that group, about 5 percent would say, "I hate Christmas.”

There are several reasons people may not enjoy Christmas. If you’re wondering if it’s normal not to like Christmas, know that you are not alone.

What makes people hate Christmas?

Though Christmas is known for its festive joys, there are also stresses that can come along with the holidays, like gift shopping and preparing for family gatherings.

Even though the holiday season is quite popular, there are plenty of valid reasons to say, “I hate Christmas.”

1. Tense family gatherings

There are dozens of ways holiday family time can lead to not feeling Christmassy. For one, it can be stressful to be around family you don’t know or don’t get along with, according to an American Psychiatric Association study.

You might dislike your in-laws, your nosy extended family, or family members who hold very different political views than you. Christmas can also bring on sad or traumatizing memories. The main reason many people feel low around Christmas is the loss of a loved one.

Christmas is about togetherness and family, so it makes sense to not look forward to Christmas if you are grieving someone close to you.

2. Forced cheer

Over 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, and many are quite excited about the holiday. Christmas is so popular that there’s now a festival called Christmas in July.

In 2022, the first Christmas commercials aired in mid-October, even before Halloween. It’s safe to say that Christmas is difficult to avoid. This is especially hard for those who do not celebrate Christmas, and it is even tougher for people who do not like the holiday at all.

The peer pressure to love Christmas, from the many TV ads, shopping items, and even company Christmas parties you are expected to attend, can definitely make you hate Christmas.

3. Working during the holidays

Though many people are able to go on vacation during the holidays, as many as 25 percent of Americans will be working this Christmas.

Even if you once enjoyed Christmas, it’s difficult to enjoy such a festive time while working. Especially if you work long, tiring hours. This is even true for those of us who work from home post-Covid.

Working in retail during the holidays is even more difficult. Customers may be doing last-minute shopping or dealing with their own holiday stresses.

4. Pressure of the gift shopping

While Christmas is supposed to be cheerful, one of the main parts of it—gift shopping—is generally understood to be quite stressful. In a 2019 survey, only 35 percent said they actually enjoyed gift shopping.

Shopping can be tiring, with crowded stores, other stressed-out customers, and hard-to-find items. Though you may try holiday shopping online, it can still be tough to find exactly what you need. It can also be very expensive. If you’re dealing with any financial strain, Christmas shopping may be the main reason why you hate the holidays.

And then there’s the stress of giving a gift your friend or family member dislikes. Over half of shoppers stress about giving the right gift.

5. Christmas clichés

Christmas is extremely popular all over the world. It’s difficult to leave home around Christmas time, or even right after Thanksgiving without seeing Santa Claus, red and white decor, and an array of Christmas trees around the holidays. Though much of Christmas culture is well-loved, that doesn’t mean everyone loves it.

While some see Christmas trees and are filled with the “Christmas spirit,” it’s okay to see Christmas trees and feel annoyed or even think, “I hate Christmas.”

Just because many people like something doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you if you don't.

6. Lack of sunlight, long nights

Christmas happens during the saddest season of the year, winter. This is because of “winter blues,” also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Studies show that up to 25 percent of people experience mild to severe winter depression.

SAD is a type of depression that happens when there isn't enough light in the fall and winter. SAD can make you feel irritable, tired, have trouble eating, and even anxious.

SAD is especially tough for people already dealing with mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 64% of people with a mental illness said that their symptoms got worse during the holidays.

What to do to survive the holiday season?

Is it normal to hate Christmas? For some people, it definitely is. If you’re wondering why it doesn't feel like Christmas or why you don’t feel Christmassy, there are several reasons that might be true. It’s okay to hate Christmas, but if you want to feel better around the holidays for your own mental health, that’s good too.

Here are a few things you can do to survive the holiday season:

  • Sleep well. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven and nine hours a night.
  • Set good boundaries. Limit your Christmas outings and make time for self-care.
  • Spend time with friends and people you care about.
  • Do something nice. Not only do kind acts help lower stress, they also can help take your mind off of all the Christmas festivities.
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