Holiday Self Care – Why I’m Not Decorating For Christmas

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

Any holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and peace, but often it is just overwhelming and stressful. Here are some holiday self care tips and why I’m not decorating for Christmas this year

Aside from my couple posts about our infertility journey and our story about Josiah’s adoption, most of the time I keep things upbeat and lighthearted over here. But today is a little bit different. I gotta get a little bit real with you guys so you understand what I’m about to say:

I’ve officially decided not to decorate for Christmas.

penland christmas tree farm family photo

Before you freak out and go running from my page and call the law to take my babies, hear me out. Pweeze?

Holidays are usually a super busy time for everyone – shopping, holiday parties, hosting family, visiting family, traveling, all of it.

But what about those people without a family? What about those people missing someone from their family traditions or celebrations? What about those who experience trauma or loss around this time of the year? What about the ones with social anxiety or depression and the thought of being with a bunch of people makes them want to disappear? How are they supposed to deal with it all?

Want to know a secret? I fit into several of those categories above.

A little back story

penland christmas tree farm family photo

My childhood was riddled with trauma. I was raised in an abusive home and then put in foster care to be adopted once, “unadopted” to be put back into the system and then just lived with a family until I was 18 and then I was over it all. So, my family is nonexistent aside from my sister and brothers (who I found myself when I was in my early 20s on Facebook). Many of my holiday season memories are filled with fear or sadness.

I didn’t have family until I married into it and even then, it’s been traumatic. Starting our own family has been a very hard road and growing it has not been at all what I expected. It’s downright sucked a lot.

penland christmas tree farm family photo

Being in the field I’m in of showing projects we do to our house, sharing budget friendly DIY projects and even a little bit of real life, it makes sense that I decorate for holidays to hopefully spark some interesting ideas in your own brain. But this year is different.

penland christmas tree farm family photo

2019 has been an unforeseen hard year as a family and every time I thought about decorating for Christmas, my heart started beating fast and the only emotion I felt was dread. So, I decided this year to not only not decorate, but tell you that I’m not decorating and also share some holiday self care tips for you. If you’re not experiencing trauma around this holiday season, maybe you can heed these for someone else. You can maybe have some empathy instead of being a butthole.

Holiday Self Care Tips

Do less with less.

christmas tree farm family photos

Nope. Not a mistype. I know the saying is “Do more with less,” but why do we always have to do more? Just do less. Don’t think you have the mental capacity to host a party even though you do every year? DON’T. Don’t want to pull out all your tubs of decorations out of the attic to decorate? DON’T. Nobody is judging you. If people don’t understand, so be it. They’re not in your head.


I know this may be tough for those of you who “fly by the seat of your pants,” but I know for me, one way I can “handle” trauma is to anticipate any situation or event that may trigger me. Take time to look at your calendar.


You may think that people should just “know” how you feel around the holiday season, but because of the innate busyness, even your closest friends and family may not think about it. Communicate it. Over communicate it. They may not understand why you feel the way you do, but they can at least empathize with you if you tell them how you feel.

Limit Social Media

social media anxiety and self care tips

What I really mean here is get off of social media entirely, but I know many of you out there think it’s impossible because of FOMO or whatever, but it’s really not good for you. Especially in times of high stress or anxiety. I touched on this when I talked about our infertility journey. If you do decide to get on social media, make sure you’re following a lot of funny accounts to make you laugh or that you’re following safe people in general. If you need some accounts to make you chuckle, I follow tons and will be more than happy to share them.

christmas tree farm

I hope this is helpful for you. Whether your trauma happened a long time ago and it’s the memories that are painful or whether you’re in the thick of it currently, either way, I’m here for you. I see you and I understand.

Take care of yourselves and I hope you have the best holiday season possible. If you need me, reach out. I’m a real person and I promise you I will do whatever I can to help!

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Holiday self care tips

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  1. I don’t do Christmas either… too much hype for me (among other things). Also, I love your blog and your sense of humor!

  2. I’ve read your blog for awhile and eagerly anticipated many project reveals but I’ve never commented. I just wanted to say thank you right now. Thank you for being real and open. You don’t have to be, you don’t owe anyone any justification. But by doing so it just may help even one person who might share with another and then the whole trickle effect goes on. I hope you and your family have the very best of holidays.

    1. Oh my gosh, this has me in tears right now. Emily, THANK YOU so much for not only being around, but also for commenting. I strive to remain as real as possible around here and you’ve been a light today. Thank you!

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