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“My Christmas Meltdown: A Yearly Holiday Tradition”

“Every year, after my inevitable Christmas meltdown, I vow to start planning for the holidays in November and schedule my commitments ahead of time. And every year, my ADHD intervenes and chaos ensues all over again.”

T-Rex dinosaur toy with colorful gift bows spitting confetti out of his mouth. Volanthevist/Getty Images
Tyrannosaurus Rex covered in Christmas bows and with confetti coming out of its mouth. Christmas stress concept. Volanthevist/Getty Images

I know I’m not the only person who experiences Christmas stress and holiday meltdowns. I’m looking at you, fellow ADHD brains.

Every year, I tell myself I will diligently get everything — tree, lights, cards, presents — done before December 25. Last year I finished two out of four. Not bad. This year? Ugh…where should I begin?

Current Status: Christmas Lights

Half of my Christmas lights are up. (I deemed it too cold to install roof lights this year.) Of course, I needed to find a video from last year to remember how I rigged up the rest of the lights. I attempted to hang more lights this weekend but underestimated how much time I had available. Then, I couldn’t even get to it because my daughter tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined in our house, while I’m staying in another.

Current Status: Christmas Tree

The tree is up but undecorated. Every year I expect my kids, 21 and 27, to do it, but they have little interest in decorating unless I start it off. Of course, other things came up, so I was unable to even think of a single ornament.

Current Status: Christmas Cards

My Christmas cards eagerly wait for me, but I keep getting sidetracked by my ADHD brain.

[Get This Free Download: Managing Your Time During the Holidays]

Where’s my list?

Do I want to add a little newsletter?

Should I personalize it?

Do these cards need pictures in front?

Oops, it’s getting close to Christmas, I’ll need to use general holiday cards instead (again).

Grrr… I need holiday stamps. Going to the post office is as bad as going to the dentist.

You get the point.

Current Status: Christmas Gifts

My hubby and daughter gave me their Christmas gift list last month, complete with direct links to purchase the items.

Just click on an item from their lists and buy it!

[Read: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Decorating… Exploded In My ADHD House]

Nope. If I do a quick internet search, surely, I can find the items for less .

It has to be on sale somewhere, right?

One week before Christmas, I ask my son what he wants because I never got his list. Then I realize there’s not enough time before Christmas to buy him anything. He’ll get pictures in a box…again.

What about my brothers and sisters?

Are they getting me anything?

Oops — I realize I hadn’t given ANYONE my list!

Ushering in my Christmas Meltdown

Three days before Christmas my hubby casually mentions that he wants a combination toaster oven/air fryer. So I ran with it. I visited five different websites and created a spreadsheet, complete with rankings and prices. Kohl’s sells one for 40% off, but the sale ends today!

I head to Kohl’s, and after spending 30 minutes comparing prices and features of various air fryers, I learn that my preferred air fryer is no longer in stock. So, I go to my car and try to order the air fryer on my phone through the Kohl’s app. But I don’t remember the password to the app, which means I can’t add my Kohl’s cash discount or use my Kohl’s credit card (for more savings).

I switch to the desktop version where my password is saved. But when I try to add the air fryer to my cart, the webpage reverts back to the app, and I’m back at square one.

Next, I try to look up my password through Google’s saved passwords feature, but the tech gods decide they need their own holiday hijinks and won’t let me in. My meltdown begins to brew.

I race through the parking lot seemingly driving 90 mph, daring cops to pull me over as I speed home. I arrive home, still laser focused on buying an air fryer for my husband, and my laptop takes forever to turn on.

Then it happens: My annual Christmas-induced meltdown arrives. I start bawling.

‘I HATE CHRISTMAS!’ I scream along with some not-appropriate-for-the-holidays profanities.

Christmas Meltdown Aftermath

Every year, after my inevitable Christmas meltdown, I vow to start planning for the holidays in November and schedule my commitments ahead of time. And every year, my ADHD brain intervenes, and chaos ensues all over again.

So, I’m sharing my frustrations to remind myself – and you – that we’re not alone, and we’re not complete failures. We may stumble and have meltdowns over Kohl’s cash and air fryers, but we’ll get through the holidays, just like we do every year.

Christmas Stress: Next Steps


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