Mindset Tips for Hallmark Holiday Syndrome

Sam Saenz
3 min readDec 25, 2022

Life isn’t always a holiday movie.

No matter how you spend the holidays this year, I hope you rid yourself of what my therapist and I call the “Hallmark holiday” syndrome.

That is all the pressure and expectations that come with this time of year. We’ve been programmed since birth by our family and the media (especially the media) that the holidays have to look a certain way, they have to cost a certain amount, and they have to be spent with certain people.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Many of us feel like the holidays have to embody visions of perfectly wrapped presents under the tree, matching pajamas with your significant other and kids, Christmas cookies baking from scratch, big family gatherings, mimosa brunches at home, all while Christmas music plays, and everyone gets along.

And if it’s not like that, it means we’ve failed or we’re not good enough, or the holidays aren’t special.

But for many people, the holidays are not a holiday movie, and they certainly aren’t the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’

Some people don’t have family or have chosen to remove themselves from toxic family dynamics.

Some people just moved to a new city away from their friends and family, while others are experiencing divorce or a breakup and may find themselves alone.

Some people are experiencing a loss, whether it’s the loss of a job, a partner, a pet, or a family member.

Some are struggling with addiction, abuse, illness, or with people in their lives who are struggling.

Some simply do not have the financial means to have an extravagant instagrammable Christmas. Let alone any Christmas at all.

For some, the holidays bring up bad memories from their past Christmases, such as childhood or early adulthood.

Others want to opt out of all the holiday madness and relax without feeling guilty or being questioned by others about their choices.

Sam Saenz

UX Content Designer (https://samsaenz.com), Travel & Food Writer (https://eatwelladventureoften.com), and NLP (mindset) practitioner in Miami, Florida.