Surviving Christmas with ADHD

December 21, 2022 Michael Thomas Kincella

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Even if you're not especially religious, the holiday season offers people a chance to reconnect with family and friends in an atmosphere of merriment and good cheer. However, for those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Christmas can pose problems.

How to Stop ADHD from Ruining Christmas

Here are a few tips I use to ensure Christmas with ADHD is a cracker--a time when trouble rarely sprouts.

Recognize Stress Hotspots

Christmas only happens once a year. And, in an effort to make it a special occasion, stress can often ruin the day. This stress will manifest in different ways and vary according to type. However, if you have ADHD and are anything like me, stress will appear in a predictable manner.

For example, the volume of entertainment that was available on Christmas day--and over the entire festive period--often worked against me. All at once, I would try to watch films and play with presents and clean the house and check on the dinner. All this behavior led to disappointment and frustration.

If you do something similar, then focus on one thing at a time. If you're watching a film, then watch the film--your presents (and wrapping) will still be there when the film ends. Is the clutter annoying you? Tidy the room after the film ends. I'm not suggesting you treat Christmas Day like a military operation; after all, it's supposed to be a fun time. However, if you have ADHD, you may recognize the futility of multi-tasking and benefit from doing one thing at a time instead.

Make a Conscious Effort to Be Zen

Being relaxed is easier said than done. If you have ADHD and it's Christmas, that's doubly true. What's worse, the desire to make Christmas special can cause enough stress to ensure it's special for all the wrong reasons. So, it's important to breathe and relax and understand that whatever is worrying you probably isn't as big a deal as you think it is.

In between fretting about the roast potatoes, take time to remember the important things about Christmas--family, friends, fun, and great food.

Pinpoint Your Escape Hatch

These tips, while helpful, aren't perfect defenses. Despite your best efforts, there may be times when everything gets to be too much, and you need to put time and distance between yourself and all the Christmas that's happening. When that time comes, you need somewhere quiet you can go to. That might mean going to your bedroom and putting headphones on. Or, it might mean taking a long walk. Whatever you decide, carve out some time that's just for you. This time alone will break the day up, could improve your mood, and might make you a jollier person to be around once you rejoin the festivities.

Do you have ADHD? How do you manage Christmas? Let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Thomas, M. (2022, December 21). Surviving Christmas with ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Michael Thomas Kincella

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