How to Survive the Holidays When You’re a People Pleaser

By Marisa Cohen
December 16, 2021

This time of year, there's so much pressure to create the perfect Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, to buy presents that will make everyone swoon with delight, and to keep everyone else’s spirits bright through New Year’s, that you can deplete all of your own energy (not to mention your bank account!) before you’re halfway through December.

This pressure is even worse for people pleasers—those of us who constantly put the needs of everyone else before our own, often at the expense of our own well‑being. The festive season can seem like the Super Bowl, World Series, and a Ph.D. dissertation all rolled into one when you're driven to make this the Best. Holiday. Ever!

“There's so much pressure this year to make the holidays extra magical and fun,” says Kaitlin Soule, a family therapist based in Petaluma, California, and author of the upcoming book A Little Less of a Hot Mess. “But if we don’t care for ourselves first, we can end up feeling burned out, anxious, and even resentful—which is not how we want to feel, especially around the holidays.”

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