Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
An older woman posing like the Atlas sculpture but instead of a globe shes holding a Christmas ball.

To Decorate or Not – Holiday Dilemmas

I am facing quite the dilemma this holiday season.  My husband and I recently moved and we are still settling into our new location, home, etc.  As a result, I have not yet done any holiday decorating and I cannot decide what to do.

Should I put up holiday decorations?

On the one hand, this would be the first year in my life (I am 65) that I would not be surrounded by holiday decorations in my home.  How important is that to me?  Will I regret it if I do not decorate?  Why do I feel guilty about even considering not decorating?

I can’t decide if it’s worth it

On the other hand, how crucial is it to decorate when I will only have them up for a few weeks, one of which I will not even be home?  Is it worth the chaos and work or should I just relax this year?

Why am I so indecisive about decorating this year?

I am normally quite decisive.  I examine options, then make a decision.  Yet, this time I find myself vacillating, unable, or unwilling, to commit one way or the other.

I can’t decide if it’s worth it

I think it is partly due to the fact I am in a new space, and I don’t feel I have had or will have time to really consider how best to approach my decorating.  I also think that I am just plain tired from all the work of setting up and decorating our new home and to now disrupt all of that with holiday decorations seems like too much right now.

I’m still recovering from my recent move

I also feel like I am just recovering from the fatigue and discomfort that accompanied the move itself.  I spent weeks packing then unpacking, getting used to a new routine, getting to know a new part of the country, meeting all new medical folk and I think my mind is trying to tell me to let it go this year.  Can I do that?

The pressure of the holiday season

Do you feel that pressure to decorate?  Or, to do some aspect of the holiday preparation that feels like a huge burden? I do believe we feel this pressure, both culturally and internally, overtly and subtly.  With all the demands that accompany holiday preparations, there is often the potential for an RA flare. 

Not only because of the physical demands but, just as importantly, the mental and emotional demands of the holidays. Happy activities and the chaos of this season can be very stressful.  Despite the fact we all know this to be true, we still seem to get pulled into the demands to the point of exhaustion at least, and likely a nasty flare if we let it go too far.

Letting go of holiday demands and pressure

Maybe it makes sense to let go of just one of those demands.  For you, it may be doing a lot of cooking, or hosting a party or wrapping gifts versus using gift bags.  No matter which one, maybe we can make our holidays a lot less likely to induce a flare if we just let go of one demand we place on ourselves year after year.

I think I may have the answer then.  I will let go of decorating this year and that will be the demand I release from my list of preparations!  I feel better already!  Try to let go of one of your tasks and see if you have a better holiday season.  It is worth a try.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Patricia Darstein
    2 months ago

    Oddly, me and my family just moved also! First and foremost just know that no one is going to chastise you (except yourself) for not decorating. If it really bothers you…just put a couple of window sillouettes up for the outside world to see! Trust me, in my old neighborhood I was the “queen” of holiday decor. Always had my windows and home decorated for every holiday.
    My move has been extremely tough on my body. I even suffered a 2 weeks flare shortly after so I guess stress plays it roll.

  • Piggles
    2 months ago

    Merry Christmas all!
    I too have experienced the frustration vs. the want vs. the just can’t trying to decorate for my favorite time of the year. With all my crafts to display (which I worked hard at when the pain was so bad), xmas tree, wreaths and decorations I figured the ONLY way was to start sooner, pace myself and get to the point where I was satisfied!
    I have learned with RA, it is not my mind that defines my activity level, it’s my bodit’s last word.
    But I made a promise to myself after I was diagnosed, that this highlight of my year was not to be tucked under the rug like so many other things that I do “tuck and wait” throughout the year…..waiting for a feel better day to come.
    Its always something that takes my MOJO away……but not for the Christmas holiday….not this time RA!
    I wish you all a very wonderful and safe holiday!

  • sommerdyke
    2 months ago

    I am in the same place you are this year, except that I didn’t move recently. I have ALWAYS had decorations every year since I was born. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. I even won third place in a decorating contest a few years back.
    I just didn’t have the energy to do it this year. And like you, I agree the season is so short. I should have started decorating outside before Thanksgiving, and I didn’t.
    I had knee replacement surgery in June, and it has not healed well. It is constantly clicking and popping, and it even feels like it slips out of the socket every once in a while.
    I decided not to decorate. A part of me feels bad about it, but the other part of me is grateful that I don’t have to take everything down in a couple of weeks.

  • catlady51
    2 months ago

    i always decorate because it’s still christmas even though i spend the holidays alone. even so, this year i was indecisive. i have a multitude of chronic illnesses, including RA and recurrent meningitis, which makes monster fatigue a constant companion.

    today i simply threw up my favorite decorations because i am worth being able to see the lights, etc. i’m glad i did.

  • Debbicakes
    2 months ago

    I am 68 yrs old and had mixed feelings due to my overall health. Lifting, carrying, inhaling dust from glitter and fake snow, facing skin and eye infections from the scratches caused by the new limbs of the Christmas tree, wreaths and garland. I chose to only decorate my living room and simply gentle touches of Christmas throughout my home. I love decorations and trees in every room but that has become more of a challenge than a comfort of joy. I find weighing out risk against the benefits in mostly all issues. Do it until you feel good, then let the rest go. The end result is “what goes up, must come down!” So save up some energy to truly enjoy your efforts.

  • jdaph
    2 months ago

    I totally understand the indecisiveness, with what to do and not do during the holidays.. I am at that point now as well,, and I used to do literally everything that needed to be done for Thanksgiving and Christmas,, but,,, not any more, and deciding what to give up and try to keep doing is hard, every year it seems to get harder because Im able to do less and less.

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    2 months ago

    I totally gave up decorating. Unfortunately Sheryl has not. Which means all our decorations are up and I did nto even have to help. I am guessing they will all come down and I will not have to help either.

    Unless, of course Sheryl decides to leave them up year round.

    Yeah, no chance of that.

    rick- moderator

  • Louise1024
    2 months ago

    Hi Nan, we moved close to 3 years ago. I was diagnosed with PMR, and RA, and advised that I needed both hips replaced. When Christmas came around, we put a few decorations outside, and poinsettia in living room, dining and kitchen. My health was more important than trying to maintain a tradition. We also have grown children, and we went to their homes.

  • Jo J
    2 months ago

    I get ya! I will only be home Dec 11-17. I just couldn’t get the gumption to climb under the stairs and pull the boxes out. I went out and bought 2 small pre-lit trees one for inside, one for outside. I put some red berries from the craft store on the indoor one and called it good! I’m going to move it into a window in the front of the house so its not so obvious no one is home.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 months ago

    Sounds like a great compromise Jo J. Give yourself a little bit of the holiday flare to look at, without much exertion. Also a good idea to make it seem that someone is home. Best, Richard ( Team)

  • Poll