Managing ADHD During the Christmas Season: A Practical Guide

Master organization for Christmas with spreadsheets, diaries, and self-care routines. Prepare thoroughly and manage uncertainties with expert guidance.

Written by

Jacqui Walker

Published On:

Dec 11, 2023

Kids with ADHD helping their mom build  a Christmas tree
Kids with ADHD helping their mom build  a Christmas tree
Kids with ADHD helping their mom build  a Christmas tree

The festive season can pose challenges for individuals with ADHD, as the various elements of Christmas demand organizational skills, time management, changes in routines, and participation in social events.

These factors may trigger anxiety or exacerbate behavioural traits that are typically manageable.

If you find the festive season daunting, here are a few tips to navigate it more smoothly:

Organizational Skills

Organizational skills, though challenging, can be developed. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. 

Consider using:

1. Spreadsheet.

2. Action plan notepads.

3. One-page-a-day diaries.

4. Sticky notes.

5. Journal.

Be Prepared for Christmas

Be Prepared for Christmas

Utilize your preferred organizational tool to create a list of tasks based on your Christmas activities. The earlier you prepare this list, the better. Set recurring reminders to complete the planning process by the end of November each year. 


1. Christmas card list with names and addresses.

2. People to buy presents for, including contacting them for a list or noting gift ideas.

3. Non-food shopping list (e.g., tape, wrapping paper, cards).

4. Food shopping list.

5. Date for decorating your Christmas tree and home.

6. A timeline for completing tasks, such as wrapping presents or sending out social invitations.

7. Set a target to respond to requests within 24 hours.


Maintain as many of your normal routines as possible, including exercise, which helps regulate energy and mood levels. Treat yourself to downtime for recharging, whether it's watching a film, meeting friends for a meal, or opting for a takeaway.

Eat Well

Eat Well

While it's tempting to overindulge during Christmas, balance rich foods and alcohol with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a seasonal walk after festive meals to aid digestion. Remember to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated.


Stick to your nighttime routine to avoid sleep deprivation, which can negatively impact individuals with ADHD. Allow yourself guilt-free rest or naps following late-night social events.

Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with Uncertainty

Christmas can be a time of anxiety due to disrupted routines and encounters with new people and situations. Try to concentrate on the aspects of the festive season that bring you joy.

Consider creating a list or poster highlighting the elements you enjoy the most. If you feel overwhelmed or anxious, refer to the list to remind yourself of the positive aspects of the Christmas season.

Explore new places to familiarize yourself with routes and environments, reducing uncertainty. A prior visit can provide familiarity for the day of the event.

Reflect on past instances when you successfully navigated new people or situations, focusing on the positive feelings associated with those experiences.

If you find yourself at an overwhelming event with many new people, shift your focus to the room and the outfits people are wearing.

This redirection can help alleviate internal feelings of anticipated anxiety. As you concentrate on the environment, realize that people are not scrutinizing you, and their eyes are not passing critical judgments.

Above all, remember to breathe deeply from your diaphragm to keep your body relaxed and prevent hyperventilation and panic breathing.

Most of all… HAVE FUN!

If you would like some further guidance and support on managing your ADHD over the festive season, then please contact us via