What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating

Holidays can be the best of times or the worst of times.  Hopefully for you, holidays are full of fun family dinners, decorations, traveling, exchanging gifts, and celebrating the reason for the season.  But maybe they have become a real drag.  Between all of the “stuff” we feel we have to do, it can feel like a lot of pressure on our shoulders—not to mention longer nights and shorter days which can put a damper on our energy and our mood.

What can you do when you don’t feel like celebrating but are overtaken by “the grumps”? Here are some thoughts I hope will help.

Don’t be Your Worst Critic

When you are feeling tired, grumpy, or stressed, that’s the first signal that you may need to give yourself a little leeway, so the worst thing you can do is judge yourself for feeling it.  If you’re not in the celebrating mood, give yourself permission to feel it and the grace to accept it.

We are often much more critical of ourselves than anyone else and the danger of ignoring ourselves during the busy winter months is that ignoring our own need for space and rest can cause trapped emotions to create a cycle of more physical and emotional pressure that compounds on the already existing expectations

That doesn’t sound like a healthy thing for the body, mind, or spirit. So what’s the next thing you can do when you are starting to feel a bit Scrooge-ish? 

Change Your Focus, Change Your Mood

With all of the seemingly endless expectations and to-do lists of the holidays, we can tend to focus on them so much that little things start to feel like they are getting to us.  Aside from making sure we are giving ourselves a break now and then, the biggest thing we can do to change our attitude is adjusting our focus.

When you’re feeling grumpy or you can feel yourself start to feel stressed out, you can choose gratitude. It sounds cliche, but it’s the absolute best way to flip any bad emotion—however it’s an intentional choice and it takes practice.

When I was deployed to Iraq, I spent Christmas away from my family.  It was tough being away but I had a choice to make.  I would either feel sorry for myself or make the most out of the situation.  Thankfully I chose the later.  I chose to have a positive attitude and be grateful, because there were many other soldiers in my same situation and I believed I was there to help them have a better Christmas.  

So I organized a Christmas party, which included decorations, gifts, the Christmas story of course and a great feast. It wasn’t the same as being home but we were able to at least give them a taste of home.  By changing my perspective, and choosing to be grateful, I was able to turn around a difficult situation and make it better.

When you choose gratitude, you can help part the clouds of negativity and see your situation from a whole new light.  You’d be surprised how changing your perspective can help you bring more grace to others and to yourself through the holidays—and through the whole year.   


Your Virtual Life Mentor,




  1. Reply
    El Ahlwardt says

    Brilliant thoughts, Doug.

    Thank you.

    Life is full of situations into which we can apply “a different perspective.” Your reminder and encouragement to purposefully change ours when in a funk ought to be on several post-it-notes where we KNOW the funks live.

    Keep charging, Brother. Thanks for being you.

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