Festive or Flustered? The Reality of Getting Triggered over the Holidays

The lights are twinkling, Mariah Carey’s on repeat, and oh, is that cinnamon I smell?

The festive season is upon us. But not everyone is vibing with the seasonal cheer in the same way.

Putting it mildly; Christmas can be triggering!

But it’s not just about what triggers our own emotions. While we all bring our own fair share of baggage to the table this time of year, what we might not realize is that we might unwittingly become triggers for someone else.

Unwrapping the Triggers – from both sides

Social Media Comparison

Oh boy. The scroll through Insta’ turns into a trip down the “Why don’t I have a grid-worthy Christmas?” rabbit hole. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s not real life (it’s not though). Most holiday tables do not resemble a Martha Stewart level spread.


Instead of falling into the comparison trap, we can instead, curate our online experience this year. Limit the scroll time and when we see others’ celebrations, let’s celebrate their joy without measuring it against our own.

In this season of sharing, could we share genuine happiness, not virtual perfectionism?

Gifts, Gifts, and More Gifts

Can we talk about the pressure? The cost of living crisis has piled a tonne of stress on the shoulders of families and individuals again this year. The struggle is undoubtedly real.

Gifts are wonderful, but they aren’t a measure of our worth. Even in the moment of gift shopping triggers can crop up. Money worries, fear of judgement, the list goes on.

While we would all love to be as generous as a newly converted Mr. Scrooge on Christmas morning, we could instead redefine the narrative, focusing on meaningful gestures rather than financial ones.

If you’re feeling the squeeze, communicate openly with loved ones. Afterall the value of a gift lies not in its price tag but in the thought and care behind it.

Whether you’re giving or recieving, be mindful of others’ circumstances. The joy of gift-giving should never become a burden.

The Rest of the World

Then there’s the guilt. Feeling joy while knowing others are struggling. You want to spread love, but chomping on chocs leaves a bitter taste when the 9 o’clock news clicks on.

The truth is—we can’t solve every problem in the world, but we can make a difference in our own way. Instead of guilt, could we channel our energy into small acts of kindness?

It could be volunteering, supporting local charities, or simply spreading awareness. By acknowledging the reality around us, we transform guilt into purposeful action.

The Family Drama

No list of seasonal triggers would be complete without mentioning Family.

The holiday season is often hailed as a time of joy and togetherness, but it can also unearth deeply rooted emotions, especially within the complex dynamics of family relationships.

Returning home often means slipping back into familiar roles, where old habits and unresolved tensions resurface. But it would be insensitive not to acknowledge the fact that not everyone has the privilege of heading home for the holidays.

People find themselves estranged from their families or have experienced loss. The ache of being away from family, whether by choice or circumstance, is a poignant reminder that the holidays can be a source of stress and pain for many.

Family dynamics can be tricky, but they also hold the potential for healing.

Could we approach family gatherings with an open heart this year?

Instead of replaying old scripts, let’s write a new one. Communicate openly, listen actively, and be willing to let go of past grievances.

Healing takes various forms, and for some, it involves navigating the complexities of familial absence with grace and self-love.

If you need a little breathing space and some guidance to choose love in these moments, take a look at my collection of guided visualisations here.

I raise my hands up and openly admit that it’s naive to think one little blog post can help you to avoid all the seasonal triggers! But navigating them with grace and understanding is something worth aiming for, don’t you agree? 

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My book

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to take this journey further, check out my book The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”.