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It’s December! It’s time to string the popcorn, cut down your tree and do all the beautiful things we feel like December expects from us. We all know that mama conducts this merry Christmas train. But what about when mama loses her merry? Then what? What if mama’s just not feeling it? Losing your merry happens to the best of us.

Ask me how I know. 

I’ve had really wonderful Christmases. And really difficult Christmases too. We all struggle sometimes with things like anxiety, depression, overwhelm, daily stress. We were never promised “easy” and life is full of illness, money troubles, family difficulties, marriage issues, teenage angst. When December hits, it can be really difficult to flip a switch into merry elf-mode! 

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I have my Christmas bullet journal working for me, full of gift lists and reminders. I have done a big chunk of Christmas shopping. But there have been Christmases where it has all felt so hard. 

Decorating felt like climbing Mount Everest.

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And I didn’t feel like the extra work of Christmas. At all. 

SO what can we do when the merriment is lacking? Because more than anything, we all just want to create some magic and memories for our children. We want to enjoy this season with our kids–not to have fun just to have it, but to enjoy this season of Advent and reflection on Jesus’s coming–and to pass all that on to our kids.ย 

We Need to Be Real

I am a lot of things, but one thing I am not is fake. My kids see right through my faked attempts at being fake-happy when I’m really not. The jig is up before it begins. SO instead, let’s get real about how we feel, mamas.

Here’s how I faced my feelings head on.

1.  I realized why I didn’t want to decorate–because there were several looming (small) house projects that I had been waiting to get done and piling up Christmas stuff on top of unfinished projects felt really uninspiring.

The fix: We had a work day the first Saturday of the month. Instead of decorating, we cleaned, purged, and finished the unfinished projects. Just clearing off my countertops made me feel more into the Christmas mode!

2.  I didn’t feel like the extra work of Christmas. But here’s what I decided: no one is telling me I have to do all the things! Nobody but my own guilty conscience, that is.

The fix: I talked to my kids. I told them I wanted to have a really chill December. I took several things off our calendar that were just too much. We normally have this tradition of fun little cards appearing each day with an activity printed on them. This was stressing me out. So I told the kids we would still do fun things but the cards weren’t coming out this year.

Guess what? No one batted an eye.

When mama loses her merry at Christmastime.

Find your genuine merry, mamas.

Here’s some ways to find your merry, but in a really genuine way, not faking your feelings.

  • Remember these seasons are short. Each season flies by so fast. Our kids grow and we can look back a seasons and realize how quickly they passed by. There is something to be learned from each one. God’s plans are for our good. Remember we will come out of hard seasons refined and used by God–what a blessing to know this!
  • Play the carols, softly. When you’re not in the mood for crazy Christmas music, just listen to the calm quiet kind. We’ve been streaming an instrumental Christmas Pandora station for a week now and it’s been lovely.
  • Journal it out. I find that writing about what I am feeling helps me so much. Lately I have been writing out prayers and I really love that too. 
  • Count your joy list. Every. Single. Thing. Thankful people are joyful people. When I journal each day I make sure I’m writing down a list of things–even the smallest things–that I’m thankful for. It creates joy. It really does.
  • Clear–and I mean clear–the calendar. Take off all the things you don’t absolutely have to do. You can reschedule. You can miss things. It’s ok. Really. And slower days with tea and books are probably what you need right now.
  • Watch your kids. Look at their eyes. Their joy is contagious. The other night we watched a Christmas movie and I mostly just watched my kids watch the movie. Their faces were priceless. They were so perfectly contented and joyful. I want to look into their happy little eyes more and more this season.

If you’re not feeling merry this year, I feel you. I get it. This year might look different but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Different can be amazing.

Need some more tips and reminders? I have a printable for you–a tired mama’s Christmas tip sheet AND a page of printable reminder cards you can put on your mirror and tape above your kitchen sink. Get it here:



  1. Alicia, Thank you for sharing your heart with us and helping us to not feel alone in this season. I would love to print the tip sheet & reminder cards, but I’m not seeing them. Are they there? Thanks!

  2. We put the tree up, but we didn’t put up any other decorations. Some of the kids are disappointed, but I think more of them are more peaceful without the extra visual distraction. I know I am. We calendered our basic traditions so the kids would know what was coming and skipped everything else. I’m not merry at Christmastime–our most recently adopted kids have too much baggage that we’re all dealing with to feel merry–but keeping it simple keeps me from turning into the Grinch. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I thank you for the reminder to look to the kids for a sense of peace. Their excited, happy faces truly are a blessing, aren’t they!?!?!

  3. I love this! I have a little tip that helps me! In my planner I have a monthly layout and weekly layouts. I write any event that seems like we would enjoy it/that we need to be at on the monthly. I mean anything (free movies at the library, tree lightings, shows, dinners, cookie exchanges). During the week I flip to the monthly page and add something only if I feel up to it. I like to look at the monthly page at the beginning of each week so I can see what is goi g on and have an idea incase we do feel like going. Its a way of clearing my calendar while having my calendar work for me s

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