Why Is Christmas So Stressful?

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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It's one of the most recognizable, and well-known Christmas songs of all time: Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin, mother and child, Holy infant, so tender and mild, sleep in Heavenly Peace. Sleep in Heavenly Peace. [Joseph Mohr, 1818]

Do we really believe this?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard these words, sung these words, or perhaps even believed these words deep in your heart at one point. However, between the shopping, the cooking, the decorating, the cleaning, the running, the arguments with family, the trashed house an hour before guests arrive, the gifts you forgot to buy, the scheduling, and the overall hustle that is somehow attached to this season, Silent Night has become just another Christmas tune.

This is true in our family. It seems that it’s this way, regardless of how hard we try to not make it this way. Maybe you’re nodding your head right now because this is true for you and your family too.

Why? Have you ever stopped to wonder….why?

Why is Christmas so stressful?

Why is it that the one season out of the entire year, that is supposed to spotlight peace, tends to be so hectic, rushed, and….stressful?

When I spend time thinking about what Christmas is supposed to represent, compared to what it actually represents, I start to feel sad. If I’m really honest, I’m not saddened by what I see in the world around me (That is sad, though), I’m saddened by my own dissolusionment. As I write this, I’m running through a list in my head of all the things we need to get done before the big day arrives later this month.

It’s a lot and I’m starting to feel stressed! I’m glancing at the clock in the other room, in between each sentence I write, because I need to get going! I need to get this post done and head out to the store. It’s quiet in my house but soon my kids will be home from school, demanding a snack, and milk, and asking to play on the iPad, and stopping me from getting these so-called important things on my so-important list done. More stress!

Then suddenly I’m reminded- this is Christmas! This is the hallmark month of giving, and peace, and love. What am I doing? What am I thinking? Why are you and I so caught up in the rush that we forget the most important things- Peace? Our loved ones? Our incredibly blessed life?

We’ve forgotten what is most important! 

Early on Christmas morning, the most important thing will be that a Savior was born this day, and I’m a recipient, not because of anything I’ve deserved or done, of His grace. A close second to that will be the precious human beings that will flood the downstairs, ready to tear into gifts beneath the tree. The fact that I get to spend another Christmas with each of them, and family and friends, is a true gift.

This is what’s most important. But it’s all-to-often forgotten by me. I wonder- will there ever be a Christmas season where I don’t have to be clued into this reality?

We’ve made Christmas more commercial than spiritual!

Whether you consider yourself a person of faith or not, the reality is, there is a spiritual side to Christmas. The fact that a large part of it is about ‘giving‘ and ‘peace on earth‘ and ‘goodwill toward men,‘ makes this true. Why? Because all of these actions are spiritual in nature. Sure, giving is a physical act, so is goodwill toward men. But they originate from the heart and the soul. What starts off as spiritual translates into physical acts. If they don’t, they’re not authentic actions to begin with.

When we make this season about the best sale, or the nearest parking spot to the mall entrance, or getting the hottest toy for our kid, it just adds to our stress. The reason is simple- we are spiritual beings. We are wired to think and feel and believe in something greater than ourselves. Generosity and goodwill toward all human-beings makes us better people. They change our heart. When these values are missing, Christmas goes from a matter of the heart to a matter of materialism. The physical, material world is here today and gone tomorrow!

We’ve lost the wonder that our children still have. 

When I think about the wonder my kids have over this season, I’m moved. My children do not care about cooking, cleaning, shopping, organizing, or having all the right decorations up. They’re lost in the childlike belief that Santa is coming, love is deep, hope is forever, and a light snowfall is the most amazing thing they’ve ever seen! Last year I glanced over at my 6-year old holding his candle tightly (as we told him to do) at our church’s Christmas Eve service. As the flame flickered and danced, his eyes were alive with passion and wonder. He belted out every line of Silent Night, off-key and all. There I was making sure everything was in order, completed, and organized so we would “have a great Christmas!”

As I reflect on that moment, I think my son got it and I have some learning to do!

The truth is- there is a commercial side of Christmas and we cannot avoid participating in it (unless you live in a cave in the Rocky Mountains or something). And, we do have to make sure the cooking is done, our house is cleaned, decorations are up, and presents are purchased. I’m not suggesting that we throw these things aside. I’m just suggesting (based on my own stress), that we not make these things the most important part of Christmas.

I think our children possess more wisdom than we give them credit for. Perhaps we need to take a cue from them this Christmas season? Perhaps they actually embody the words of ‘Silent Night’ more than we realize?

Do you find yourself extra stressed this time of year? Why is that? Share your story with us.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.