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Ask HN: How do fellow entrepreneurs deal with the stresses of Christmas?
4 points by dchmiel 1692 days ago | hide | past | web | 5 comments | favorite
With the holidays fast approaching I'm beginning to feel the stress build up even more than usual.

I've been living off my savings as I'm trying to get my startup going which means my budget for gifts is really low. All around me friends and family are cheerfully buying gifts as they have full time jobs. I feel that around me, no one really understands the position I'm in and I feel guilty and truly sad that I cannot match their generosity.

Is this something that other entrepreneurs are going through and feel the same way? Or am I feeling like this is because I've commercialized Christmas by thinking gifts are necessary. I feel that my niece or nephew wouldn't understand not getting a gift from me during this time of year.

I've had some lows with work situations and loved ones always understand that kind of situation. What I've done in the past is get creative and try to still give gifts that are homemade or otherwise don't require money. Most of the time, they are so happy and excited for something so novel.

Further reading: http://zenhabits.net/argh/, http://zenhabits.net/bah/, http://zenhabits.net/giftless/

Xmas gift giving used to be something you did for children and poor people. As the world got wealthier, we commercialized the hell out of it. Or, more accurately, businesses commercialized the hell out of it, as a means to milk their customers for money.

I gave up doing much, if anything, for Christmas years ago. I am not really an entrepreneur, more like a wannabe entrepreneur. But, for more than a decade now, I have been on a giant Quest to get well against long odds. I happen to be homeless this year. I hadn't even thought about how fortunate I am to just not care about crap like Christmas gifts -- until I saw your question. I refrained from my no doubt rude initial impulse to post some gleeful little celebration of how lucky I feel to have opted out of such nonsense years ago.

There is too much suffering in the world for me to feel that the American tradition of spending gobs on xmas gifts -- many of which will be completely pointless wastes of time, money, and energy -- is of any real importance. I am genuinely sorry this pains you and I am also sorry that I have no idea how to help you make your peace with this. Furthermore, I am sorry you have gotten so few responses from other actual entrepreneurs. Had you gotten more support, you no doubt would not be hearing from me and my reply probably won't make you feel better. I tend to make people hellaciously uncomfortable.

Let me suggest: Hit the library. Read some books like "The tightwad gazzette". Consider doing something free or cheap but personally meaningful.

Best of luck.

Thank you for everyone who lent me some support and offered suggestions on this. I don't know the best way to respond on HN so that each of you get a notification regarding this thread.

I took some time to think about this after everyone commented, and took some action.

I took some time to be with my niece and nephew and casually asked them questions on what they'd like to do over the holidays and not WHAT they wanted.

They both said learning to play hockey was something they wanted to do now and next year when registration opens up.

So I went out and bought them a hockey stick each. They both already have skates. And have arranged for a lot of days over their time off from school to take them to the outdoor and indoor rink to teach them hockey. The sticks are about 40 dollars each, and the rest of the cost will be my time. But since I'm spending time with my niece and nephew this will be as much as a gift to them as it will be to me.

I'm trying to apply this way of thinking to everyone else. How to give them something that will have even more value if I can give them my time as well. And I think I can find out just by asking what they'd like to do, or get done, instead of what they'd like.


The sticks were 40 dollars for both, not each.

Depending on how old your nephew/niece are, you can take them to do a cheap, but memorable holiday activity.

For example, you can go to an ice rink and teach them how to ice skate for < $15. Or maybe have a mega ice cream day (with approval from their parents of course) where you go play in the park (make / fly a kite?) and then buy several pints of ice cream and share it.

You can make up for other people's generosity with their $$$ by being generous with your time.

In short: experiences > stuff.

I gave up xmas many years ago and haven't regretted it one bit. Yes, we still have a decoration or two and a nice meal, but that's it. Kind of like Thanksgiving.

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