How to Stop Chroverwhelm

Say wha?? I know… but stay with me…

Do you start to itch when you spy tinsel?

Are you prone to an eye twitch when you hear carols in the shopping centre?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted at the mere mention of ‘last minute shopping’?

Then you, my friend, are suffering from what those in the biz term ‘chroverwhelm’. Well, I’m not sure who those in the biz are, nor that the term is actually legit, but it sounds like it should be a thing.

chroverwhelm meme
Add a Santa hat and I’m there

It’ll be a formal diagnosis in the next decade. I’m sure of it.

Chroverwhelm is the draining, paining, caining feeling you get when Christmas is upon you. It all just gets.too.much. You can be decorated out, spirited away, or heaven forbid, over-shopped. You get so caught up in the craze that you forget what the hell this time is even for and you just want it to be over. NOW.

Is it any wonder we get Chroverwhelmed with the shops now pulling out all the Christmas stops in like freaking March?? Ok, it might actually be like September. But still. My embellishment stands.

We’ve gotta pace ourselves with this Christmas stuff. You know when you’re SO EXCITED for something and you wait, and wait and wait, and plan, and prepare, and wait a bit more and then suddenly it’s been such a long slog you’re too overwhelmed to really feel the vibe? That.

Chroverwhelm grumpy-cat-christmas-meme
My spirit animal

If we think Chroverwhelm is bad, you can just imagine what it does to our kids. While we can hold in our chroverwhelm, often for them that’s like asking a dog not to pee on a telegraph pole. Impossible. For kidlets, Chroverwhelm is most readily identifiable in the form of tantrums, spoiled behaviour and ‘tude. Those devilish Christmas marketers have them pegged. And in turn they have us pegged.

We’re so chroverwhelmed we often just give in to keep their chroverwhelm at bay. Kids are freakin’ clever like that. They can sniff stress out in the same way dogs sniff each other’s butts. Then they like to knock it up a notch. You know, just to keep you feelin’ alive. I’m sure I could find more pleasant ways to feel alive, thanks kids.

The problem is we think to ourselves ‘oh just this once’ or ‘it’s Christmas’ and we let shit slide. Then when Christmas is over, our cherubs are left thinking they can still have all the things, and in turn are shocked when we say no. We then have to re-program them, which takes a lot of time, and a lot of wine. For us, of course.

christmas ecard

Seriously, who do these kids think they are? Like one day they’re not allowed to do stuff, then they are, then they expect that they can keep doing said stuff? And they have the nerve to get upset with us when we suddenly change our minds but don’t actually explain it all to them? Oh, wait….

It gets even the best of us. But what can we do to stop Chroverwhelm from taking over and having us all think the apocalypse is upon us and send our children into a deep, dark bratty spiral? Shit, I need a wine just thinking about it…..

  • Keep some perspective- it’s just one day. It doesn’t matter if the bon bons aren’t deluxe, it doesn’t matter if the salad is missing tomatoes. The shops will open the next day, tomatoes will be had. And for our chroverwhelmed kids? Help them to understand that they don’t have to have all the things right this very moment. And that there are many worse things that could happen aside from not getting the latest SuperCoolFunHappy toy.
  • It’s ok to say no. I know, it’s freakin’ hard, isn’t it? I myself am a keen no-aphobic. But. Everyone wants a piece of you at Christmas, and you want to be everywhere and doing everything with everyone. It’s not possible. Unless you borrow that fancy time travel necklace thinger that Hermoine has in Harry Potter. I’d give it a whirl…
  • Be present. He he he… present. Get it? Yeah, I know. Lame. But what I mean is just be in the here and now. Don’t fret too much about creating the perfect day months and months out from the event. Don’t pine for the past, or regret things. Just be in the here and now. Enjoy what you have with who you have. Really important for the kidlets to get that.
  • Think outside the box. What can you do to reduce the stress levels and not get sucked into that Chroverwhelm vortex? Oursource stuff? Buy online? Buy ethical gifts and feel like you’re doing a bit of good? I’m sure that earns an extra wine or ten. And you know what? If you don’t want to do the traditional Christmas thing, then don’t. Do what is going to work best for you and your family. Be unconventional.
  • Help kids (and ourselves!) to see that it can be about more than just us. Christmas can have us be fairly insular and get all up in the grills of keeping up with the Jones’ and getting ourselves into debt for this one day. Maybe try and each forgo a gift so that you can buy gifts for less fortunate people. Try and volunteer to help those less fortunate at this time of year, donate perishables to those services that distribute. Even take the kids to volunteer at a Children’s Hospital. The buzz you all get out of helping others really helps with that perspective shaping and seeing that our freak outs about having the Christmas ham sell out really isn’t the end of the world.
  • Why do you do Christmas? What does it actually mean for you? Is it about time with the family? Religious reasons? To eat as much pudding as you can without vomiting? Whatever it is, keep the focus in mind. Helps to reduce the other stress and crap. Have the kids draw pictures or make posters about what Christmas is all about for your family- and if they get a bit chroverwhelmed, have them pop over and take a look at the poster.
  • Reduce where you can. I tells you, I’m a sucker for child joy. It’s my crack. I will go to the ends of the Earth to get a joyous smile or squeal of excitement from my kidlets. But it shouldn’t mean having to re-mortgage the house just to get said squeals. Reduce the amount of junk, reduce the amount of running around, reduce the expectations.
Classic Chroverwhelm. In fact I may be doing this right now. Image source

It might not be possible to get rid of Chroverwhelm entirely, but we can try. I blame my entire Grinchmas on Chroverwhelm. Well, to be truthful I’m just a sour bitch who can’t do festivities all that well, but let’s go with Chroverwhelm, shall we?

Do you suffer from Chroverwhelm? What do you do to keep your kids in check over the apocalyptic crazy festive season? Or festive half year as it’s fast becoming…..


  • Such top advice! I frickin’ love Christmas but I think that’s because living on the other side of the world from our family we don’t have all the busy or more importantly all the buying. And is it just me or is Christmas getting more commercial every year?! I think Choverwhelm is totally a thing. I’m trying to embrace the FOMO and say no, because although I can do anything I want, I can’t do everything I want. And besides… there’s always January!

    • You are SO right sweets. I think it is getting more commercial. It’s just saturated hype. But we all get caught in FOMO and then get Chroverwhelmed. Saying no is liberating, love your work! x

  • Such great perspective here. We invest SO MUCH in one day- time, money, alcohol… :)

    • We really do! It’s getting to insane proportions now! But hey hey lady, leave alcohol out of it! What did it ever do to you? Aside from possibly seducing you with it’s relaxing and intoxicating ways, and then slam you hard the next day like the hussy it is. 😛 x

  • I love Christmas but it’s kind of sitting on the back burner this year given everything we’ve got going on. Luckily I’ve got out of hosting Christmas Day as the house won’t be finished (there is an upside to that!). Both girls have birthday 4 weeks either side of Christmas too so it’s an obsene frenzy of gifts and then nothing! I am going to get into the spirit today though and take them for their photo’s with Santa

    • I think a low key day will be great right now for you guys! Settling into a new town and finding your groove takes time. But at least you’re in the most chilled place possible to do low key ha ha! My girl’s b’days are like 4-5 weeks after Christmas so it’s one big mad time- I so get what you mean! x

  • I’m so chroverwhelmed right now I don’t even know where to start. Having 20 people to my house for christmas and I’m due to give birth just days later… although my doctor has just told me there’s little chance I’ll make it to my due date and I should be preparing to have the baby BEFORE christmas…. so what happens on Christmas day? Everyone has lunch at my house while I’m sitting in hospital? Breakdown in 3…2….1….

    • Oh love if anyone has an excuse to cancel you do! Get someone else to host! Say you’re worried you’ll get amniotic fluid in the pav, works every time 😉 xx

    • Lady you don’t need to start anywhere! Outsource, outsource, outsource. That is one of the last great bastions of pregnancy- having everyone else do shit for you. Make it as low key as possible, and if bubs comes, then no one will give two shits about bon bons for Christmas I’m sure! And you know, my obs was 150% certain that Pops was going to come early, like her sister… and look how that turned out….! Girls are stubborn minxes ha ha. x

    • merilyn

      NO! I can’t believe this lauren!
      I too have cooked Christmas lunch for 20 people but I wasn’t expecting to have a baby!
      hellooo hun! … definitely need to pass it to someone else!
      sorry but this crone had to step in and say it is not worth the stress to you or your baby!
      much love m:)X

  • Hugzilla

    Yeah, we are generally pretty chilled about Christmas. We aren’t hosting this year and are off to a “take a plate”type family scenario, so the load is shared and no biggie. I can err towards the grinchy side of things, but for some reason I am loving it this year. Saying “no” to shit is great – so liberating. I urge anyone to try it.

    • You know, without sounding like a creep (which I’m going to anyway…), when I was writing this I actually thought of you and I thought to myself that you’d be totally chilled at these times. Why the fuck did I think of you? I don’t know. It must be the sparkle in your bum bag that has stuck in my mind. I love the approach you guys are taking to Christmas. You’ll enjoy it so much more!

      Oh and on an unrelated note, did you know that L7 WILL BE IN AUSTRALIA IN JANUARY? Performing at a festival, but they might do a side gig! x

  • We keep it low key – simple lunch that everyone contributes to, Kris Kringle gifts for the adults, and just a small pile of pressies for the kids. This is the first year my eldest has really been into it so it’s kinda fun singing carols and putting up decorations, I wouldn’t usually bother!

    • Love it lady! That sounds like my kind of day! No big expectations or stress or pressure. It’s so cute when the kidlets get into Christmas in full, isn’t it? Still doesn’t stop my Grinchmas entirely though ha ha. x

  • We are low-key when it comes to Christmas too. The most important thing is just getting together and having fun, so are all pretty good at not stressing too much about it. I always try to start the Christmas shopping in October too, which makes a real difference.

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    My tornadoes are doing a bang up job of making me feel alive this silly season! We’re starting our acts of Christmas kindness activities next week. There’s so much “me me me” from my kids and I want them to see it’s not just all about what stuff they get. All the marketing around Christmas started way too early this year for my liking. Just as my Chroverwhelm will subside after Christmas day, it won’t be long before things crank up again when I spot hot cross buns and eggs in the supermarket on new years eve (I’m not kidding – I saw them at that time last year. Gahhhhh!)

  • And this is why Easter is my fave holiday. Less pressure and it’s not at the end of the year so I feel fresher! Less pressure and feelin’ fressha. I could go into marketing.
    I think you’ve just explained why my toddler is in major meltdown mode at the mo. Now I get it….. Thanks!