Emotional Stages of the Holiday Season, as Illustrated by HGTV

There's denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—wait, no, that's the stages of something else. Or is it?

While the natural world takes its time to transition between seasons, human seasons are the polar (no pun intended) opposite: In many places, Christmas candy replaces the Halloween fun packs at drugstores on Nov. 1. Black Friday casts such a long shadow these days that the “official” beginning of holiday gift-listing has started to eclipse Thanksgiving itself. DO YOU OR DO YOU NOT HAVE A SEQUINED OUTFIT AND PLANS FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE YET, BECAUSE IT IS BASICALLY AROUND THE CORNER.

It’s hard to know what to feel, or when to feel it.

We can’t navigate the process for you, but we can assure you that we feel you. The holidays go a little something like this:

When You’re Unequivocally Excited

Hearing those very first notes of holiday Muzak warbling out of the loudspeakers at the mall can be a little exhilarating, especially if you’re one of those people who slips Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” into playlists all year long. (Lindsay, a House Hunter from Chicago, is definitely one of those people.)

When You're Confident About Your "Healthy Holiday" Plan

Someone else is going to hover around the buffet table this year, thank you very much. You’ve got an appointment with a personal trainer every week this December. 

When Your Gift List Looks Manageable

As long as you remember what’s on sale when and follow that list you wrote down...somewhere.

When Your Friends’ “Whew, Finally Got the Tree Up!” Posts Flood Facebook...in November

Their houses probably do smell amazing right now. Cool story, bro.

When You Clash With Your Partner for the First Time

Those Facebook posts hit them pretty hard (their coworkers are such lousy humblebraggers). You’re probably going to have to spend at least a few hours stringing lights around the yard and caroling for an Instagram story if you want to keep the peace.

When Your Décor Doesn’t Look Like the Pinterest DIY

Our theory is that some people give bad instructions because they want others to fail.

When Things Get Even Darker

It’s as if craft projects can smell fear, and they turn on people who aren’t feeling 100% confident.

When a Gift Misfires

Who keeps insisting on these Secret Snowflake things, anyway?

When You Accept That You’ll Be Wearing Sweatpants All January

Listen, everyone eats their feelings at the end of the year. Also, the money you wasted on that personal trainer you didn’t see once this month has definitely taught you a lesson. (The lesson is that sweatpants are better than personal trainers.)

When You Love Your Imperfect Holidays All the Same

How is it that headlessness came up more than once on this emotional journey? Maybe it’s an extended metaphor about not overthinking things. You’re welcome, America.

Keep Reading

Next Up

7 Ways HGTV Could Save You From Family-Holiday Awkwardness

Our seasonal gift to you: Fancy footwork and coping strategies.


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