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Dysfunctional Families Love The Holidays For A Pretty Dang Sad Reason

Photo: Jack F / Canva Pro
family perfectly posed by Christmas tree with gifts

We all know the holiday season is an intense rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows, from the chaos of in-store shopping to the satisfaction of great-tasting food. 

While this season symbolizes precious moments to express love and gratitude for your loved ones, more often than not, the holidays are hyped up for the wrong reasons. Many dysfunctional families tend to place all of their efforts on making magical memories during this one time of year.

Dysfunctional families tend to love the holidays, but it's for a heartbreaking reason.

While the holidays offer an opportunity to end the year on a positive note, some families place too much pressure on creating lasting memories. 

In a TikTok, Pastor Mark Driscoll shared his perception of the paradoxical relationship dysfunctional families have with the holiday season. He explained how they stress over these Norman Rockwell moments as if they are the only opportunity to spend time together when in reality, healthy families celebrate each other on a daily basis. 



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“My goal is to have dinner with my kids so much that if we missed Thanksgiving, we didn't miss the only open window of relationship and memory for the whole year,” Driscoll stated. “Don't think like most people do, and that is that our whole year rises and falls with the holidays.”

The holiday season is notorious for family drama.

The truth is not everyone gets along with their family or extended family, and tension between certain members may escalate during the holidays. To enforce a mandatory dinner together, faking a smile and normalcy defeats the purpose of the holiday. 



The desire to meet expectations and avoid judgment may also lead family members to spend holidays stressing rather than being present and grateful. Some family members might even feel the need to address conflict at the dinner table, which can lead to unnecessary drama.

Dysfunctional families love the holidays for a sad reasonPhoto: shironosov from Getty Images / Canva Pro

Some individuals would rather spend their holidays with their immediate family or close friends whom they are able to express gratitude for and be comfortable with. I'm from a dysfunctional family that feels I HAVE to come over because of the holiday," one person commented on Driscoll's TikTok. "I'd rather spend [the holiday] with the ones who love me."

Another commenter, shared their family compromise for stressful gatherings, "Thanksgiving became toxic for my family, so we decided to celebrate with just my husband and kiddos. It's amazing. And the next day, we see our family." 



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While family unity and togetherness contribute to the core values of the holiday season, dysfunctional families tend to use these specific days as an attempt to escape their problems and paint a pretty picture of their lives, which is usually unsuccessful anyway. Then, once the year comes to an end, the conflicts and challenges resume. 

Healthy families celebrate the core values of the holidays on a daily basis. 

Especially when families become too caught up in the materialistic nature of Christmas — overconsumption of food, Black Friday deals, and purchasing expensive gifts — people lose sight of what the holidays are all about. 

Dysfunctional families love the holidays for a sad reasonPhoto: svetikd from Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

For many families, the holiday season may symbolize a chance for a fresh start and a temporary suspension of ongoing conflicts and tensions. The allure of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, days dedicated to gratitude and family, can create the illusion of a clean slate.

If the proper efforts are not made and family members refuse to relinquish their pride, then underlying conflict and tension will still linger.



It’s important to not disregard the opportunities to foster gratitude, connection, and togetherness year-round. Having a healthy relationship with your family means Christmas should not be the one day of the year to enjoy dinner together, and if someone can’t make it, there’s always tomorrow.

Healthy families recognize that meaningful memories are not confined to a single day. They appreciate the journey of life as an ongoing opportunity to create memories and celebrate each other regularly.

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.