Do you hear yourself asking how you can be happy during the holidays? When someone asks you “how would you like your life to be different,” do you answer, “I wish I was happy”? Trust me, you’re not alone. And forget about trying to be HAPPY during the holidays, the most wonderful(ly stressful) time of the year.  There is SO MUCH TO DO and prepare for.  Presents to buy, lists to make, cookies to bake, the tree to decorate, the lights in the yard, keeping up with the neighbors, visiting god-forsaken relatives that you purposefully avoid the rest of the year to keep your sanity.  Someone told me that they purposefully would WORK on the holidays to avoid the stress and family!


Before You Ask Yourself How You Can Happy During the Holidays, Ask First Who Came Up With This Chaos

Yet, we all participate in this holiday chaos.

I’m pretty sure everyone is just envisioning sitting at home with their favorite people, drinking their favorite beverage, enjoying time relaxing and being in a peaceful environment.  But how many of us are actually experiencing that?

If you did, would you be happy?


Here is what the holidays look like for many people BEFORE they start doing coaching with me:

A Holiday Party You Don’t Want to Go To

You have been invited to a holiday event at a friend or family’s home with people who don’t exactly understand you.

  • You know that if you are your wildly, weird, authentic self, that these people are going to judge you.
  • You wonder if you should just try to be something that you’re not so that they don’t all feel uncomfortable.
  • Your mind starts going crazy, wondering if you SHOULD help with the dishes to make your mother-in-law like you, even though she will probably criticize everything you do, or do you sit out in the family room and talk with people you don’t know, about things that you are not interested in at all?
  • If you “disappear” to the back room, you are going to hear about it later from your spouse, so you try to decide if the ‘sanity now/ abuse later’ is the better choice, or the ‘abuse now to hold it all together for everyone else’ is the answer.

It’s exhausting.  It’s hardly ever festive.

You dream about it for months, but once you are there, it’s the same old family drama you’ve always known.  So you may as well figure out how to escape it, in whatever way you can.

Do They Like Me?

You think to yourself, who can actually handle the real me?  My rebel side?  Some people just cannot handle who I am.

It’s easy if they accept you and you feel loved.  But as soon as you cannot be yourself, the pressure starts.  You want to be a good girl/boy.  You don’t set boundaries with people.  You allow them to disrespect you, and then blame them for being so terrible.  You do this year after year because you want to belong somewhere.  Maybe the first year, it’s ok, but year after year you start to realize that you need to set some boundaries or it’s going to happen again.

Can you relate?

What Does It Take to Be Happy During the Holidays and How Can I Really Create Peace Within Me?

#1 Having expectations

We have too many expectations during the holidays.  Think about it now.

  • Do you expect yourself to do Christmas cards?
  • Decorate?
  • Put up a tree?
  • Make cookies?
  • Buy presents?
  • Wrap presents?
  • Have people over? Clean your house?

What about who you are “supposed” to be with or invite over or buy a present for?  What about how you expect people to act during the holiday?  Expecting people to love you, who usually treat you like shit.  Why do we do that?

Why do we think that they will be lovely during the holidays when they are usually abusive, critical, demanding, controlling, drunk, etc…?

Very quickly all of that becomes OVERWHELMING.

Letting Go of the Expectations You Have of YOURSELF and OTHERS is Very Helpful During the Holidays

If you don’t expect the person who is usually a jerk to be nice, it will be easier when they are a jerk!!  Let’s try to just accept people right where they are.  They aren’t being a jerk TO YOU.  They are just simply a jerk.  See if you can let it go.f

#2 Having boundaries

  • When people are jerks to you and disrespect you, you get to set boundaries.
  • When someone criticizes you, you can say, “please don’t talk to me like that.”
  • When someone asks you to do the dishes and you don’t want to, you can say, “I don’t want to do that right now.”
  • If someone wants you to come over and you don’t want to go because you know it’s going to be a terrible experience, you can simply just say, “no thank you.”

You do not need to give a million reasons why you are saying NO.

People that you usually say YES to, are possibly going to question why you are saying no.  It is appropriate to just simply say, “Because that is my decision.”

Don’t let people hold you hostage.  

raindeer hanging on the flower pot, how can you be happy during the holidaysWhat you are thinking, or why you are doing things is none of their business.  And what they think about what you are doing is none of your business.

If someone tells you that they are hurt “because” of you, just remember that we are all in charge of how we respond to everything in life.  You can then decide is this is something that you are willing to “budge” on or not.  You do not need to explain yourself, but it generally helps with connection and feels loving when we express what is going on for us in a vulnerable way.

Instead of saying, “I don’t want to be with you for the holiday,” you can say, “I am feeling very run down. I am afraid that someone will attack me.  I don’t have the mental energy to deal with that right now.”

#3 Creating your own traditions

Instead of doing what everyone else in the family wants you to do with your time, money, emotional wellbeing and energy, decide for yourself if you want to create family traditions of your own?

Traditions are very personal, and every person is creative enough to come up with something that feels peaceful and happy they could do for a new tradition. Click To Tweet

#4 Deciding what is really a priority

Letting go of Christmas cards.

You get to decide what the priorities are for you.  I remember the year that I let go of Christmas cards.  They were stressing me out.  Every single part of them was stressing me out.  Getting the photo taken in time, buying or making the cards, writing in the cards, addressing the cards, stamping the cards, getting them to the post office.  It was just too many steps, and if any step was thwarted, those things wouldn’t get out.  I can’t tell you how many times I had a pile of Christmas cards ready to go that never got finished.  Some already written, no stamp, no address … or no address, stamped, no phone but letter written.  I got so frustrated and stressed out about such a little thing.  I grieved the year I let them go, and felt guilty when I received others cards, but eventually, I realized how much time I had saved myself and I allowed myself to experience a sense of RELIEF.

Only half of the Christmas tree was decorated.

tree half decorated, how can you be happy during the holidaysI remember one Christmas I was so stressed out, I ended up with a tree that only got half a strand of lights decorated around it!  One of the bulbs had fallen on the hard, tile floor and burst, and I just sat down on the floor and cried and left it there.  No one else cleaned it up or fixed it, it just stayed there for the rest of the season until I got healthy enough to clean it up.

The Holidays just become another duty on your to-do list.

We have all been there.  We have all been at the place where the holidays were just too much.  Too much stress all at once.  I learned that year I cannot always be superwoman.  I cannot do it all.  I get to ask for help, and get support, or I get to let something go.



#5 Who are your people?  Who do you WANT to belong to?

Instead of just doing it because you feel obliged to, or because “family is thicker than blood” or whatever stories you have that hold you doing something that makes you MISERABLE, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where would I be if I was 10 times bolder?
  • Who do I REALLY want to be spending my time with?
  • Where would I go if I REALLY wanted to have fun, experience joy, peace, love and connection?
  • Which people suck the life out of me, and how do I avoid them during the holidays?

#6 Stop feeling GUILTY about everything

I hear many of my clients complaining that they feel guilty about not doing what their family wants them to do.

Do you feel GUILTY about something? Let’s talk about guilt for a minute. The Oxford definitions are: “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.” OR “a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation.” Click To Tweet

What a ridiculous emotion.  I don’t usually judge emotions.  As a body-mind coach, I am usually showing people how to TAP INTO their EMOTIONS.  But guilt is such an interesting emotion because it is all about others CONTROL of you.

Feeling guilty about not feeling festive.

Guilt isn’t something we feel ALONE.  It is a perceived emotion that we literally MAKE UP about what others think about us.  Shame is an emotion we think about ourselves, that we are personally bad/wrong/defective (which, is also pretty ridiculous once you get down to it).  But guilt happens because we believe we have wronged others.  And we feel it because we actually CHOOSE to do WHAT WE WANT, instead of what others want, and them we feel BADLY about choosing ourselves.  People who experience guilt, especially the “implied” offense or crime (not an actual crime) do so because they want to believe “I am a good guy” but do something that makes others think “He’s a bad guy.”  The conflict between these two judgments is actually what creates the guilt!

So, next time you are experiencing guilt, ask yourself if you think you matter?

  • Are you worth standing up for yourself?
  • Are you worth being loved and taken care of?
  • Do your feelings matter?

Because, if you say YES to ANY of this, you will not feel guilt!!

If you feel guilt often, you may want to seriously consider starting coaching with me so that you can increase your self-confidence, self-esteem, and know that you are lovable and that you matter!

#7 It’s THEM, it’s not you.  Don’t take it personally

What are you taking personally?

When someone upsets you, it is because you are taking something personally, as a personal offense.  Check it out – this is the crazy part:  You only take personal offense to it because it is TRUE! HA! And you get upset because you don’t want to admit that it’s true about you!!

Being upset about the truth.

Here’s how I know.  Let’s say you are a SUPER MOM.  You are on the PTO.  You work full time.  You cook homemade dinners.  You do homework with the kids.  You attend every game.  You schedule your work around your kids.  You read with them.  You tuck them in.  You bathe them.  You make them meals for lunch.  You meet with teachers.  They are getting good grades.  Their friends come over.

If I called you a BAD MOM, what would you feel?

You’d be like, “you’re crazy, I’m amazing, you have no idea what I do for them!!” or you’d just simply LAUGH because you know that’s a ridiculous sentiment.  You wouldn’t take it personally.

But, if you never bathed the kids, and ran through drive through like a chicken with your head cut off, and they yell at each other and give each other black eyes and they have failing grades and I say, “You’re a bad mom.”

What do you think you would feel?

You would definitely take it personally, because deep inside, you know its true.

So, how do we avoid taking things personally?

We get honest with ourselves.

Yep, I’m a shitty mom.  I drive the kids through the drive through.  I don’t tuck them in.  I really hope they don’t work at McDonalds when they grow up.  I don’t know what the F I am doing.

It’s pretty hard for someone else to attack that.  When we are vulnerable about our soft spots, most people back off.  If you are dealing with a true asshole who just really wants to hurt you, you get to realize that.  You are dealing with a true asshole.

Find out if you are dealing with an asshole.

If you get vulnerable when they tell you something shitty about you, and you say, “yep, that’s true and I’m really struggling with it,” and they don’t respond “Oh man, that sucks, how can I support you,” and instead keep poking and teasing you, you know you are dealing with an asshole.

At that point, you don’t have to take it personally because you’re dealing with an asshole!!

  • They have MUCH bigger problems than you.
  • They make it their job to go around making other people feel bad about themselves.

At this point, you can stop taking whatever they said personally, and just feel compassion for them, for the fact that they probably don’t really know how to connect or have any true friends.  How sad.

#8 Take it with humor

This really cool thing happens when we actually learn to stop taking things personally. When I stop taking things personally, and I realize that I have my own shit-storm in some areas in my life, and I am able to be FULLY RESPONSIBLE for what I have created, when someone points it out, I can just simply laugh at it.

Pointing out what I already know.

I can also laugh at the fact that they feel the need to point it out to me!  I can laugh that it’s so obvious.  I can laugh at the fact that “if you spot it, you got it” meaning they probably have the same exact problem within themselves.  (It’s always easier to point out others flaws, isn’t it?  That’s why we gossip.  To avoid ourselves).

Laughing about life.

  • We can laugh at how silly life is.
  • We can laugh at how sensitive we are.
  • We can laugh that we think we can control this crazy thing called life.
  • We can laugh about thinking we are in charge.
  • We can laugh about others trying to fix us.
  • We can laugh about being imperfect.

There is really quite a lot that is very amusing about humans, and even ourselves, when we allow ourselves to stop taking OURSELVES so seriously!!

Live a little.  Play a little.  Let go.  It’s not all so fucking serious.

Go with the flow.

Stop judging yourself and folding your underwear or whatever other OCD things we do to manage our out of control anxiety.

Once we start really learning to GO WITH THE FLOW, all of this anxiety and control starts to fall away.  When we start learning how to CREATE FROM NOTHING and get results, all of the things we were so worried in our minds about are gone.  It just becomes fun and play.

man kissing woman in christmas hat


#9 What makes you happy during the holidays – what beliefs?  Could you HOLD them throughout the holiday gathering?

If we take everything we just learned, letting go, laughing at things, not taking it personally, letting go of guilt because we are worth doing what we want, and we brought that to the (proverbial Holiday) table, could you be happy during the holidays and how would your holiday interaction with your family and others go?

  • What if you were able to hold on to thoughts that made you happy?
  • What if you were looking for all of the wonderful things about Grandpa Joe, instead of that he’s always such an ass?
  • What if you were looking for how people are trying to SERVE you and LOVE you, instead of how they are trying to control you or manipulate you?

These simple shifts in mindset can sometimes be THE THING that changes EVERYTHING in your relationships with those who have traditionally driven you mad.

  • What if you asked for Love?
  • What if you looked for Love?
  • What if you behaved from Love?
  • What if you loved yourself first?
  • How would your life be different?

If you have NO IDEA how to be happy during the holidays or create any of this above, and would like support and accountability creating DRAMATIC PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SHIFTS in your life to have EXPERIENCES and RELATIONSHIPS that are OUT OF THIS WORLD FANTASTIC, then sign up here for a breakthrough session with Heather right now!


Heather HundhausenOver the years, I have been a serial learner and practitioner, taking in information about psychology, religion, spirituality, science, medicine, quantum physics, relationships, parenting, and overall, general happiness and work-life balance.  I’ve been fascinated in what it takes to and have created my life of pure joy, happiness, balance and peace. It is my mission to spread what I have learned and practiced to you in ways that are simple, easy to understand AND implement.  I have served people in achieving realignment in their bodies, relationships and purpose for over 20 years.  If you liked this article, and you want to read more, please visit one of the links below:

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