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Christmas Carols From an ADHD Life

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Ever wonder why your favorite Christmas Carols are your favorites?

Thinking about that the other day I discovered the reasons why, over the years, certain yuletide tunes appealed to my ADHD self.

Jingle Bells

I don’t know about you, but when I was little, singing “alternative” lyrics to Jingle Bells was the sign of a rebel. And who amongst us with ADHD (especially those of us in the blurtatious a.k.a. verbally impulsive camp) can’t relate to that?

Bonus points if you were brave enough to sing “Jingle Bells, Santa smells…” in front of a teacher or parent. (Guess who got the most bonus points?) (There’s no point in being jealous; you’ll never catch up to me now. Pin your hopes on your ADHD kids.)

I love you Frosty!
I love you Frosty!

Frosty the Snowman

Lots of kids with ADHD have creative, vivid imaginations. Admit it: there was a brief period of time when you flirted with the possibility that Frosty really did come alive and march through the streets of your town. (Please don’t tell me it’s just me. Or that I got the wrong diagnosis. It’s Christmas; give me a break already.)

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

This one appealed to my deep and abiding love of nature. And of stilted language:

“Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.”

When I was an adolescent, Lo, How a Rose also vaguely smacked of sex and procreation (“Of Jesse’s lineage coming…”), appealing to my naughty side.

Angels We Have Heard On High

How many times in my youth have I stood starry-eyed in front of a stage, beer in hand, looking up “on high” at the rock band’s lead singer/guitarist and desperately fallen in love?

Angels We Have Heard on High is an obvious anthem for every bad-ass ADHD girl with an axeman crush.

(I like how the word “high” works as a double entendre in this one, depending on how many beers I’d had at the concert.)

Angels We Have Heard on High is an obvious anthem for every bad-ass ADHD girl with an axeman crush.

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas! It’s all there: nature, vivid description (deep, crisp, even snow; cruel frost; rude wind’s wild lament  – glorious!); a story; magic / miracles; bravery; Noblesse oblige; a happy (and surprise) ending; and – bonus – it’s as long-winded as I was before my ADHD treatment.

Like my speech, if I belted out the lyrics of Good King W. (which, believe it or not, I actually memorized! Possible for someone with ADHD when we’re passionate about something), I could go on and on and on… What more could an ADHD girl ask for?

Plus, the story reminds me of the many generous people (usually my sister) who bailed me out in my young adulthood when I was broke.

The mood of this story also reminds me of my many solitary, moonlit Christmas Eve treks.

Off I’d go, under a full moon’s blue glow, making my annual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to midnight mass, leaving my atheist heathen family behind me in the warm cheeriness of the family home: fireplace crackling, trays of goodies lining every available surface, Christmas tree lights sparkling.

Not only did I enjoy the walk, which got me out of the house and away from the Christmas madness, but I enjoyed the service, especially singing Christmas Carols en masse.

Plus, as I walked home I cultivated a holier-than-thou stance which I could then lord over my family for the duration of the holidays. (I was more undiagnosed-ADHD-adolescent-with-a-chip-on-her-shoulder than Christian myself at the time.)

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

I saved the best (and most obvious) for last. Rudolph, like several of my other picks, also works on more than one level.

On the dark side

Who amongst us with ADHD hasn’t been laughed at and called names by all the other reindeer? I mean, school kids? Who hasn’t been left out of social circles?

With a higher probability of alcohol and substance abuse, I bet many amongst us can relate to Rudolph’s shiny red nose too. And flying.

On the bright side

On the bright side (and I do mean bright) Rudolph turned his most outstanding unusual trait into an asset. And we can too!

With a tenacity familiar to people with ADHD, Rudolph perseveres and wins a promotion. He excels under pressure, which is when a lot of us do our best work. Hip-hip-hurray for Rudolph!

Just for fun

Just for fun, take a moment to consider your own favorite Christmas Carols. You may learn something about yourself if you reflect on your faves from this new perspective.

If you feel like it, please share some of yours and let us know how they relate to your ADHD.

I’ll compile a list and next week, we could all get together and go caroling. On the other hand, maybe we’d better not: we’d probably just get lost.


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Christmas Carols From an ADHD Life

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). Christmas Carols From an ADHD Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 Dec 2012
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