Tricks for Surviving The Holidays with Adult ADHD

by | Nov 28, 2019 | ADHD Symptom Control | 4 comments

Surviving the holidays with adult ADHD can be challenging enough to be almost painful. There’s so much to do! Where do you start?

Also, I don’t know about you, but sometimes being cheerful throughout it all is more than I can manage!

We’re overwhelmed by day to day living as it is. Suddenly, Thanksgiving rolls around to burden us with a cartload of extra tasks and activities.

Worse yet, we expect ourselves to juggle it all with style and an even temperament.

It’s torture. At least for me and most of my ADHD coaching clients.

No matter how many lists we make or how organized we are, it’s still too much.

Other than huddle in a fetal position in a corner, what can you do? Let’s get up out of that corner and dust off our ADHD holiday survival skills!!

Tricks for Surviving the Holidays With Adult ADHD

Surviving the holidays if you have adult ADHD is possible. The trick is you need to be smart about it. Simplify and focus.

Here are some holiday survival tricks:

Cut out the extra stuff; the things you do because you feel you should. One of my rules in life is no shoulding on myself. Cute, eh? I’m saying no to things I don’t like. No, I should NOT go to any ornament exchange parties!

Instead, center your holidays on the people and things that bring you joy and meaning. I holler a happy YES to all the Christmas caroling I can manage. Singing is my thing and it makes me very happy.

Yes, it can be difficult to let go of the shoulds. But, if you have ADHD you probably have a reputation for being eccentric as it is. Revel in it.

Simplify and focus. Create a holiday that’s meaningful to you. That’s the trick to surviving the holidays with Adult ADHD.


  1. Cheryl Siebert

    Great reminders and suggestions as always, Dana! I needed this today, especially to remember to keep it simple and focus on the few things that truly bring me joy.

    I always love to have a few home baked cookies to have for drop-in friends (yikes to drop-in). I enjoy the time in the kitchen with the kids, listening to soft music of the season and smelling the wonderful scents of cinnamon and cloves.

    My plan this year: Pick one easy and classic favorite recipe, and put a note on my calendar for “possible cookie day”. Plan B: Select a yummy cookie from the bakery isle or even *gasp* some packages of Oreos to have on hand. I have some lovely plates to use and can toss on a candy cane or two for display. Who knows? I may even just pass around the package, shared with love.

    Simple is the word of the day!

    • Dana Rayburn

      Now you’re thinking, Cheryl! Simple is best. Why just last night I served Candy Cane Jo Jos (Trader Joes version of Oreos) to my ukulele group. Not one complaint! Bake when you can, but don’t stress over it.

  2. Marrianne

    Hi Dana! I feel the same as you do!!! Thanks for sharing. I have ADD and also an increase in life challenge with a health issue that so far doctors have not been able to diagnose, yet leaves me much the time weak in my all my limbs and chronically fatigued, making getting around and doing and thinking harder. This is my second December with both.

    I have learned to cut down on the decorating by putting out my most loved things only, using a Christmas color all year round so I don’t have even more things to store and reduces some of the getting ready stress. I’m using red as it works for me in every season and is a pick-me-up cheerful color. I started that because of my ADD to help me to enjoy this season more and reduce my seasonal overwhelm. From the delight of seasonal lighting I like using some of the light strings in vases and gathered together and gathered some for up lighting darker spots in my rooms, and candles (battery operated ones when it’s hot), creating more ambiance on those long dark night evenings. I’m savoring all year round, and find it uplifting and nurturing to my soul for both challenges. ~Marrianne

    • Dana Rayburn

      Marrianne, I love the idea of intentionally using red as your decorating base color to reduce Christmas decorating! And, the lights in vases. We lay lights out along our baseboards. Easy Peazy!! Blesssings to you. Enjoy your holidays.



  1. Your ADHD Holiday Survival Guide - Dana Rayburn ADHD Coach - […] the deal. With awareness and insight you can almost calmly survive the holidays with ADHD. (Yes, almost. We’ve gotta…

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