When There’s More Drama than Peace



Although this one is from last year, and maybe a day late and a dollar short, it definitely ties into the “adulting” theme we are seeing more and more of these days…

Dear Dharma,

Christmas is almost here again. Ugh!

I used to LOVE Christmas. The music, the colors, the lights, the cookies, the suspense! What was there to not love?

Now the focus has seemed to shift and Christmas has become more stressful than anything.  My parents are split and so are my partners, which means we end up spending the entire day trying to cram in visits to 4 sets of family.  I would give anything just to have a quite Christmas at home by ourselves. Unfortunately the family won’t hear of it.

The nagging starts in mid-November… So you’re coming for Christmas morning right? For dinner?

Any suggestions on how to make this year’s Christmas and family visits less stressful?

Ms. Grinchy Pants

Dear Pants,

Ahh, just one of the many Christmas angst letters that Dharma receives…

You realize you’ve already blocked all possible solutions to your problem, right?  And I have to emphasize, my friend, that you are the one standing in your own way of Christmas happiness.

“The family won’t hear of it.”

Until you are willing to give that statement less power and less volume, nothing I say will be of use.

You and your partner are presumably grown-ups, yes?  And as much as being a grown-up often sucks, it does bring with it at least one beauty.


You know the saying parents use – “While you live under OUR roof, you’ll do as we say!”  Well good news, honey bunny!  You live under your own roof now, so you may want to consider living as though that were true.

Talk to your partner.  Together, decide how you BOTH want to spend Christmas.  It may involve family, it may not.  Exercise that grown-up right of yours to set boundaries, and then calmly live by them.  Understand that there will be some repercussion to altering some of the family’s tradition and start creating your own.

How?  Well, take a look at all the things you used to love.  “The music, the colors, the lights, the cookies, the suspense!”

You have so much power here to bring back all the things you enjoy about the season – why wouldn’t you decide to take it?

If you found out this was the last Christmas you would spend on this earth, would you handle things any differently?

Life’s like that, Grinchy Pants.  You never know when it could all tip upside down on a dime.  So instead of going into the Holidays with teeth clenched and a pounding headache, take whatever steps you need to make it as peaceful and enjoyable as you can.

Or continue being the victim of other people’s expectations.  Totally your call.


p.s. don’t forget about Dharma’s draw for a $25 Starbucks card!


Got a question for Dharma? She’s probably got an answer!

To submit a question anonymously, just make up a name and email – it doesn’t have to be real, as long as the fields are populated.


And be sure to follow Dharma everywhere!


Instagram too!

And of course, Twitter…

Oooh, and now on Pinterest!


For more of Dharma’s great advice, click here!



  • I vant to be alooone. says:

    Excellent advice, Dharma. When we were flush with pesos my husband and I would run away for 2 or 3 weeks. We just preferred the quiet and used the ruse that it was the only time we could take a holiday during the year. But finances being what they are, this year my partner and I opted to opt out and do a stay-cation. I sent out an email making it clear that although we were in town we weren’t open for guests (aka cleaning beds and cooking). We needed downtime and desperately needed a break. I closed my email with “I’m sure you understand. Merry Christmas to all!” If they didn’t understand it certainly wasn’t my problem.

    • Dharma says:

      THAT is awesome, an excellent example of setting boundaries… and although I preach it, it’s sure something I need to work on as well. Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you had a lovely and peaceful stay-cation… 🙂

  • Suzie says:

    Yes!! Once you are grown up you can do Christmas however you want 😀
    I did Christmas at friends for a couple of years and it was lovely. I’m thinking next year I may go away for a week 🙂

    • Dharma says:

      For sure it can be hard setting boundaries when others have expectations of you, but once you get the hang of it, it can be very liberating!

      Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and thanks for the comment…

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

%d bloggers like this: