Guest Blogs

Have Yourself a Merry Little (ADHD) Christmas

It may be more chaotic than a regular one, but we wouldn’t know. We’ve never had anything different.

Everyone either loves or hates the holidays (and holiday planning), and people with ADHD are no exception. Generally, we hyperfocus on specific parts of the holiday planning from Halloween to New Year’s and neglect other parts or our house or the shopping until the end of the month (oops). We love the holidays; we just can’t pull off the Good Housekeeping version of them.

We really get into carving pumpkins — and forget about them. We buy one or two or possibly three pumpkins for each member of the family. We scoop them out. We dutifully make roasted pumpkin seeds that no one eats. Then we carve, carve, carve like maniacs, probably cutting ourselves in the process, and finally set the pumpkins out on the front porch, where they sit. And sit. And melt into a moldy horror show scarier than anything we’ve carved. We ignore them. They are still sitting on the porch when we bring in the Christmas tree.

We sit down and plan and plan and plan Thanksgiving, all the way down to the place cards and the good china and the sides — and we forget to buy the turkey until Wednesday night. This means we’re stuck with a 30-pound turkey, which is larger than two-thirds of my children and takes forever to cook. That makes it sort of dry. It also makes more leftovers than you can purchase cranberry sauce for. Those handmade turkey place cards sure look cute, though! So do the Thanksgiving napkins and the three-sister display, complete with Indian corn, squash, and beans.

It’s time for the tree! Christmas officially starts the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re ready for it. We spend the weekend dragging the tree out of the attic or purchasing a real live tree. We be-swag it with every single ornament we own (most of them concentrated at the bottom of the tree, thanks to the children), drape it in garland, and decide we need more ornaments.

Christmas means crafts. Even the least crafty among us gets out the hot glue gun and the Mod Podge. This year, for me, it’s been string art ornaments, ornaments Mod Podged with text, and ornament wreaths. We laser-focus on that Pinterest craft to the detriment of the rest of the house, which pretty much goes to hell — dishes undone, laundry in baskets. As we move from one craft to the other, we leave the detritus of the previous one behind us. Hot glue guns and ribbon trail off through the house. This means the holidays have really arrived.

[Get This Free Resource: Manage Your Time During the Holidays]

We realize people are coming over. This means a marathon three-day cleanup encompassing everything from the laundry to the bathroom to all that ornament detritus. The boxes the Christmas stuff was in have to go back up to the attic. Everything but the tree needs to be put up, because we neglected things like stockings and Advent wreaths and mangers. And we finally have to do something about those rotting pumpkins.

We forget to shop. Christmas means giving. But it always seems like there’s plenty of time to get around to buying all those presents until approximately one week before Christmas, when it becomes a dire necessity to buy, buy, buy, now, now, now. We don’t make a list. We try to remember people who need presents and buy them something that is probably too expensive. Not making a list means we always leave someone out, so if we’re smart, we’ll buy a ton of generic tchotchke presents we can give away to anyone.

Let the wrapping begin. Sometimes we get really, really, really into it and turn wrapping into an art form, like those ornaments we spent so much time making. We coordinate bows and ribbons. We add sprigs of pine and tasteful gift tags. Our presents are the prettiest you’ve ever seen. Otherwise we just dump everything into bags in a blind panic and label it all in black Sharpie marker. Whichever we choose, it’s done on Christmas Eve, after the kids go to bed. We could have done it earlier, but that wouldn’t be like us, now would it?

It’s all worth it when we see the kids tear into those perfect presents (bags) under the crazy Christmas tree decorated with wonky handmade ornaments. Sure, we bought the gifts at the last minute. We got distracted over and over by our ornament-making. We didn’t make a list and we forgot people, and, damn it, no one ever remembers to fill up stockings until the night before, anyway, so we’re not alone. But that’s an ADHD Christmas. It may be more chaotic than a regular one. We wouldn’t know. We’ve never had anything different.

[Read This Next: The Holiday Balancing Act]