ADD and Christmas too!

An Overwhelming Season for SO Many
(WAY too many To-dos in SO many categories for one short month)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

How does ANYBODY fit everything in?

Even the neurotypical crowd gets a bit of a taste of ADD/EFD overwhelm as Christmas rapidly approaches — especially those who just went overboard on the Thanksgiving extravaganza.

But those of us who have brains that are ALREADY struggling to manage life’s ordinary details can easily go down with Santa’s ship – turning what could be a terrific break from the everyday struggles into the cluttered ADD/EFD version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

So Much to Decorate – so little time!

The days when Christmas decor was limited, essentially, to hanging a few stockings and trimming a tree seem to have disappeared like Brigadoon.

NOT that I’m actually complaining about that, understand.
I would have invented “Deck the Halls” if somebody hadn’t beaten me to it.

But even if I had “start early” genes in my DNA, to avoid public censure one really must wait to start displaying Christmas-y items until the season-long summer heat wave has subsided and the autumn leaves have had their 15 minutes of fame (unless one runs a Christmas Shop, which I’ve actually considered – for exactly that reason!).

In the minds of most people, the day after Halloween seems to be an acceptable — albeit incredibly EARLY — start-date for decking  (though I can’t, for the life of me, understand their objections to a larger buffer as a running start!)

Pinterest helps, of course – sort of

Nobody seems to object or poke too much fun at Christmas PINS – even long before Halloween costumes have become the only vision in the heads of little kids everywhere.

I began pinning inspiration images quite early this year, hoping they would help me develop a realistic game plan for Christmas AS I organized my new digs following my recent move.

Oops – THAT little “assist” has now become part of the problem.
I mean, what ADDer needs help dreaming up new things to do?

A woman who already has FOUR full-sized trees with as many decorating themes (and several more table-tops and minis) has NO business trying to remember to look for a thrift-store colander to spray-paint red as stand for her “visions of sugarplums” kitchen tree.

She shows even less sanity pinning a link to a tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree from a tomato cage.

Does that matter?  NOT ONE WHIT. See the problem?


Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

Garlands and Candles and Wreaths – oh my!

Yep.  My vision of Christmas-Yet-to-Come looks more like the Holiday Lane floor of the NYC “Miracle on 34th Street” Macy’s (and the Pinterest home tours of women who have it A LOT more together than I ever will).

Hall-decking was easier to manage during those comparatively few years of my entire life that have not included a recent, frequently sudden, move – BUT the lack of effective storage is always the stopper.

Where-oh-where do the Christmas dervishes STORE all their Navidad-related objects d’arte for ten or eleven months out of every year?

Help a Girl out here!

If anybody’s in the mood to answer, how about a few tips on the following questions?

What form does said storage take?  Do they take it all apart and box it all up (obsessively labeled, of course) – or have they figured out how to store things as decorated from year to year?  HOW, pray tell?

They can’t ALL have mansions with humidity-controlled storage rooms and a staff of worker-bees to make it possible to get things up and down with ease, can they?

Is the hiring of a Professional Organizer the way they do it?




Or are they ALL Professional Organizers themselves – blogging their pretty pictures to taunt the rest of us until we hire their services? (On second thought, I don’t remember reading one single word about throwing or giving anything away, so probably not!)

More to the point – how do they make room in their houses and apartments for all the totes and boxes and trees during the time they are mid-deck – and during the time they are putting it to bed for another year?

THAT would be a blog article that would go viral in a heartbeat!

 Alas, almost everybody seems to prefer to remain mum about that particular secret.
[Best-friend status and keys to the kingdom for anyone who
enlightens us in a guest-post here on]

MY OWN LITTLE SECRET is managing my pace and mood with an unusually large collection of seldom-heard Christmas music of various types and tempos.

I have curated my life-long collection with the help of iTunes:

Jazz instrumentals, Christmas piano,
Soft & soothing (like Windham Hill),
Up-tempo with and without vocals,
Christmas choirs from around the world,
Wild carol renditions from my pop favs
(like the amazing Pointer Sisters, Mannheim Steamroller, etc.)
– and many other click-once-listen-for-hours playlists that offer me my choice of mood and motivation.

Um, that and a generous helping of eggnog – or brandy – or wine. I need something to take the edge off the reality that I can barely walk through my spaces for weeks on end, both before and after the holiday itself, when life becomes an endless scavenger hunt through an obstacle course.

Extending the Season

Like I said in an earlier Christmas post, “Is it any wonder I leave everything up for ages once it’s all done?” 

ONLY the extreme pleasure I take in staring at Christmas order and beauty in my very own home could possibly motivate me to DO all this in the first place!



What Floats my Christmas Boat

  • I want night after endless night of sitting around sipping my super-secret recipe for FABULOUS mulled wine (in my still clean and presentable Christmas jammies) — like a lady of leisure who is able to hire somebody else to do it all each year.
  • I want plenty of time to share it with anyone else who loves it as much as I do – or who appreciates it even a little bit (Total Grinches, please politely decline – without raining on my Christmas parade in what attempts to pass as “humor” – okay? That’s simply mean and uncalled for – and makes me like you a whole lot LESS!)
  • I ALSO want time to plan and host parties where there is enough going on visually to distract from my less-than-perfect housekeeping skills otherwise – with time left to clean up afterwards, at least to the degree that I can sit and stare without agita for several more days (or weeks!).

But we haven’t even GOTTEN to the rest of the Christmas tasks!


Christmas presents must be purchased and wrapped (and possibly mailed!)

Christmas goodies must be shopped for (and usually baked or prepared in some fashion – AND stored in an already impossibly crowded pantry, ‘fridge or freezer)

Entertaining plans must be drafted, and invitations and confirmations handled in some manner

Party-clothes, shoes and accessories need to be located and made ready for the season – with maybe a bit of time left over for a decent haircut and a mani-pedi?

. . . but let us not forget the biggest Christmas decision struggle of all: what to do about Christmas Cards and how to manage whatever we decide!!

ELVES, we need elves!

Of course I suppose I could decide to simplify it all, personally – or to confine the serious decking to one or two rooms.  That, however, would end up making me feel as if Santa has forgotten me once Christmas Eve arrived.  I know myself well.

SO, as I type, still up and at ’em e-a-r-l-y in the morning of Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, we have ONLY 14 days until Christmas Eve – with a sensible but finite buffer of another 12 until Twelfth Night.

Holy Moley!  I can’t imagine that many of you are in better shape than I am – even those of you who have had the under-appreciated luxury of staying put for many years.

Enough of this blogging – I need to get back to some SERIOUS decking until next week’s offerings.  Leave me a quick Christmas-flavored comment (and a “like”) before you rush back to yours, pretty please.

Tell me – how do YOU decorate for the holidays?

  • Are you a minimalist or of the “too much is never enough” persuasion (like the late Charles Faudree, decorator to those for whom money is no object and yours truly who, by necessity, has a DIY obsession)?
  • Do any of you decorate for Christmas AND Hanukkah?  What about anything special for New Year’s Eve?
  • How do you handle Advent and stockings?
  • Anybody on the decorating committee at church?  What additional church-related activities must you plan for during each season?
  • What do YOU do about off-season storage?

Again, how do YOU give and receive gifts at your house? 

Does anybody give gifts for all Twelve Days of Christmas (from Christmas Day until Twelfth Night, January 6th)?

How do those of you with large families handle the exchange of gifts?

Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve written about any of these topics on your blog or website, leave us a link (only one per comment or you’ll be auto-spammed).  Let’s SHARE our traditions and coping strategies in the spirit of good will toward ALL.

AS ALWAYS, comments are encouraged and eagerly awaited – EVEN from Grinches – as long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).

© 2014, 2017, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs ALWAYS okay, and much appreciated)

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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

COACHING LINKS at end of all posts

Related articles here on

Other supports for this article – on

A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on

A FEW of my twelve now FIFTEEN Christmas-themed
Pinterest Boards

ADDCoach Christmas Boards on Pinterest Below

(Go Take a look for some SERIOUS Christmas inspiration)
(hover before clicking for brief description)

Related Articles ’round the net

BY THE WAY: Since is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous, Christmas appropriate come-from.

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

4 Responses to ADD and Christmas too!

  1. Pingback: ALL I want for Christmas is . . . | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Pingback: The REAL Christmas Elves | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  3. janetkwest says:

    I’ve chosen to opt out of most of the activities, which seems like mean to some. But I’ve just caught up from Thanksgiving and working overtime from my job. I value my sanity over everything else. Priorities. I say, pick a holiday and enjoy it. Thanksgiving is my favorite because it’s when my family gets together. I hope you enjoy yours.


    • Thanks! I am wondering if I’m actually going to maintain my Deck-the-Halls sanity this year myself!

      Following my serious disappointment when my Christmas/birthday present to myself suddenly fell through at the last minute, with the help of the original breeder I JUST located a Shih Tzu puppy that I pick up tomorrow! Peggy Ramundo and I are taking a day trip by car to go get him.

      I am frantically puppy-proofing like a mad thing, and seriously regretting my decision to dig out everything all at once (as I make repeated trips back down to my basement storage unit to remove a great many things likely to pose a danger to a less than 9-week old TINY dog!)

      Even if, for the entire month of December, I have to close off the living room (which currently looks like Macy’s Christmas storeroom after an earthquake) and hastily move a great many items of decor to the shelves in my office (not the prettiest presentation or conducive to the best of functioning), the joy of being a Shih Tzu mom once again will leave me radiantly happy this Christmas.

      Thanksgiving Day has always been quiet for me, since my family is not particularly “chummy” – and THIS year my disordered chronorhythms left me sleeping through the entire day.

      Since I don’t wake to sound, each of my other Shih Tzus have been a HUGE help toward chrono-regulation.
      I can’t WAIT until this new baby has been trained to awaken me with a puppy kiss so that he can go outside!

      Back to the bathroom before the water in my tub turns to ice!

      xx, mgh


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