My Annual “I Hate Christmas” Post/Share Your Secular Holiday Traditions Here!

Last year I watched my next-door neighbor march all her pumpkins out to the trash can bright and early on November 1st. Later that day she had her Christmas lights up. I just watched out the window and chuckled.

I’m sure our neighbors are cringing this year because it’s December 1st and we still have Halloween inflatables in our front yard. My husband keeps saying he will take them down but at this point, I think we should just throw some Santa hats and scarves on them. 

I’m always irritable at this time of year. I really hate Christmas. The Christmas shit in the stores. The Christmas music playing everywhere. The crowds. It’s the most annoying holiday. But that’s the thing…it’s a holiday. It’s supposed to be one day but instead, it starts in October and lasts until New Year. You just can’t escape.

What’s hard is my daughter is now seven and she’s really getting into Christmas. A couple of nights ago, she wanted to build a “winter house” so we cut up an Amazon box to look like an open dollhouse. She made a Christmas tree, presents, and a reindeer from some of the cardboard scraps from the dollhouse. She’s a very creative kid but Christmas just keeps creeping up all the time.

She asked me yesterday if we can “finally” get a Christmas tree. My husband and I didn’t put up a Christmas tree until our daughter turned three. That year we broke down and bought one and my daughter decorated it with her hairbows. Her idea. Like I said, she’s a pretty creative kid. I guess it’s about time to put one up. I just wasn’t going to do it before Thanksgiving. 

My daughter also still believes in Santa. I’ve always been iffy on the whole Santa bit. When I was little and found out the Santa wasn’t real I was mad that all the adults in my life had been lying to me.

We did buy our daughter a Pokemon advent calendar. She’s obsessed with Pokemon and she was excited to open the first little door today. It was kind of fun.

Anyway, the point of this post is I want to hear how you celebrate Christmas when you can’t get away from it. How do you keep it secular? How do you keep it joyful for your kids when you are irritable and annoyed at a religious holiday that unfortunately lasts for two months? Please share your secular Christmas traditions!



    No religion here. It’s all about the tree and the decorations and the food and the company. My natal family gave up gifts a couple decades ago, so very little shopping except for food. Also do cards, often handmade, as an annual reach out to folks we don’t see so often. And winter solstice is equally important. I cook a dinner for my immediate neighbors, and at the beginning we ritually turn off the lights, sit quietly in the dark for a few moments, light one candle, have a bit of bread and wine in silence, and then bring on the new solar cycle and dinner.

  2. antaresrichard says

    Admittedly, the one Christmas holdover from my childhood, whenever presents are involved, is my hoping for a “toy” like some small electronic or gadget. Please, nothing so sensible like clothing.


  3. Katydid says

    @Rebecca Weiss, are you me? Except for your last sentence, it’s all something I could have written.

    @Ashes; like you, I have neighbors (plural) who put the Christmas villages up on November 1. It’s like National Lampoon’s Christmas around here. Nonstop light pollution, nonstop noise pollution (my next-door neighbor has several light-up animated nightmares that all play different songs on a loop…at the same time). And they’ll all be up until mid-February. On 26 December, there will be overflowing garbage cans at every house, full of non-recycled paper and plastic. And, just like Thanksgiving, anyone you meet will whine too you about how much food they have rotting in their refrigerators, as if there’s no choice but to buy far too much food and then waste it.

    @Ashes again, like your daughter, my kids believed in Santa and loved decorating. They do that stuff in school (don’t get me started about the overwhelming Christianity pushed this time of year), and who doesn’t like getting free stuff, particularly toys? One thing we did with the kids was tell them our gift budget for the local animal shelter and then go out and buy food and gifts together and deliver them as a family.

  4. Ridana says

    I know there was a time when I surely believed in Santa, but I don’t remember learning it wasn’t true. But I do recall hating Christmas once I figured out presents came from my parents (around age 5 I guess?). It was a complicated sense of guilt at them spending money on me for presents I was insufficiently grateful for while trying to appear happy about it. Hell, I still feel guilty decades later, even though they’re gone and it no longer matters. Fortunately my sister is the only one who still gifts me, but I feel guilty about that too, even though I know she can easily afford it and usually gets me stuff I do like.

    So yeah, Christmas = guilt to me, and just spotlights how out of sync I am with normal people. And like you, I hate the crowds and muzak and stuff, but I don’t mind the lighting displays unless they seem competitive and/or insanely over-the-top gaudy.

  5. Jazzlet says

    We never had kids, so those complications didn’t arise, but we spent years when we were nearer friends who would otherwise be alone having a group round for a fancy meal. These days none of those friends not any new ones will be alone, so we truly do not do anything different from any other day when we are both at home not working. And we have been very fierce about not wanting presents, particularly not things like “Secret Santa” wherein most people end up with something they don’t want and soon dispose of. I hate gimmicky presents, junk presents, “funny” presents more than I can say without descending into obscenities.

  6. SailorStar says

    When I was a child, the gifts “Santa” brought were so completely wrong for who I was and what I wanted that it was obvious to me that Santa wasn’t real. When I became a parent, one of my family’s holiday traditions was to bring the kids to a yearly train garden in a building that collects canned goods for their in-building food bank. I went just this morning, by myself (kids are grown and out on their own), canned goods in hand. Normally I’m not one for churches, but I like that this one has an active food pantry that only requires people to show up, not to have to sit through a sermon.

    Christmas can be overwhelming with the pressure to do *this* and *that* and *20 other things* for THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS that never exists but people feel obligated to work themselves into exhaustion trying to achieve what they think is mandatory.

  7. brightmoon says

    I gotta hear Jingle Bell Rock at least once and I’m happy . It was my favorite Christmas song as a kid.
    My 2 whined every year about me putting up the 6ft white plastic tree with all the trimmings. I had to put it on the kitchen table (which we couldn’t eat off as the huge kitchen was so poorly planned.) . One year I got tired of the complaints and didn’t put it up. Dec 23rd comes, “Hey Mom when are you gonna put the tree up!” 🤷🏾‍♀️ . I still put up a tree but this one is a 1 ft tall silver one that just I stick on a bookcase . I had always liked decorating for Christmas and used to make a bigger deal out of before the kids were born. I remember climbing a ladder at 6 months pregnant to wrap tinsel around some columns in the living room and hang glass balls on the ceiling. I could barely walk at the time but I was up on that ladder , SMDH!

  8. Katydid says

    In my area, stores like Lowe’s started carrying Christmas stuff just after Labor Day, and it’s all-Christmas-all-the-time from Thanksgiving until mid-January. I’m sick of Christmas carols in the stores before Thanksgiving hits. And yet there’s a non-stop battle cry that Americans don’t *respect* Christmas and how there’s a war on Christmas. That’s my peeve.

  9. Katydid says

    There’s also an ever-increasing list of YOU MUST DOs for “the season” (which, as Brightmoon noted, starts at Halloween). Where I live, various neighborhoods in the state are known for their over-the-top tacky, overstimulating decorations, and people are encouraged to egg them on. Then there are a number of professional, drive-through “wonderlands” set up, all of them supporting a different charity. Don’t miss those! In my current office, there’s a cookie exchange where everyone is expected to bring in a dozen each of 20 different homemade cookie types. There’s also a Secret Santa, a cubicle-decorating contest, a door-decorating contest, and an office-wide “pig-in”, where everyone brings in food and drink and it’s set up in a conference room with mandatory attendance. At least one boss will have an after-hours “morale-building” party at a restaurant or bar, with everyone paying their own way. All that stuff is mandatory. Then, perhaps, there might also be a company-sponsored party at some location, and if you’re REALLY lucky, it will have a ridiculous theme–a couple of years ago it was The Great Gatsby and good luck trying to find a flapper dress on short notice.
    At home, there are the cards and gifts to buy, wrap, and (if appropriate) mail, the decorating to do. If you have kids who take part in any activity, there’s the gifts to buy for teachers and coaches and the kids’ friends, and often parties/concerts/gatherings they need to be run back and forth to (and some the parents are obligated to attend, like concerts). Don’t forget any charities the family supports, and (no snark) something for the garbage and mail folks who make civilization possible.

  10. brightmoon says

    Pet peeve about Christmas is that it starts after Halloween. I don’t want to see, hear or smell anything about Christmas until after Thanksgiving and even that’s too much sometimes

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