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Those Damn Holiday Commercials…

It’s that time of year again and the onslaught of Christmas advertising has begun. Every store’s aisles are stocked full of shiny new Christmas toys and decorations for the tree, holiday toy catalogs are hitting our mailboxes, television stations are already playing Christmas movies all day every day, and just yesterday one of the radio stations in the town I live in started their yearly tradition of playing Christmas music all day every day.

I don’t mind being reminded that Christmas is coming; I really do love the holiday. I love the decorations, I love the fireplace crackling in my living room while my boys and I hang ornaments and I love having a Christmas movie playing in the background while I’m in the kitchen baking a fresh batch of cookies. I absolutely love the smells, sights, and feelings of Christmas; until I begin to hear those damn “feel-good” holiday commercials.

Those “feel-good” holiday commercials that you don’t even quite know what they are selling, but they are meant to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. The ones where a mother and daughter are spending time together baking Christmas treats in the kitchen or the commercials where families are all seated together around a large dining room table enjoying a beautiful holiday meal. Those commercials that make you want to go give your Mom and Dad a big hug and feel the same close-knit family bond as the people sitting around the table on your television set.

Unfortunately for me, all those commercials do is remind me of what I don’t have and what I never will have.

One of the hardest things I have ever done was cutting my mother completely out of my life and it is during this time of the year, when I am reminded constantly of what I don’t have, that I begin to question my decision and doubt myself. I yearn to have the same mother/daughter relationship that I see in the Betty Crocker commercials or the same “love” shown around that dining room table during the Stovetop Stuffing time slots. I begin to crave that feeling so much, that I am tempted to pick up the phone and give Mom just one more chance, one more chance to be the Mom I always wanted her to be and have the relationship with her that I always wanted.

That is the tough thing about removing toxic people from your life; it’s very difficult to stay strong all of the time and it’s very easy to forget for a moment exactly why you removed those toxic people from your life in the first place. It’s easy to get caught up in a nostalgic moment during the holidays when there is so much focus on family and togetherness, and end up forgetting every reason why you made the life changing decision to cut a toxic person out of your life forever.

Some of you reading this blog might be wondering why I don’t give Mom another chance and why I don’t pick up that phone and just call her. If I want that relationship and that family so badly, and if I get that upset and hurt over seeing a commercial, why keep punishing myself?

Because on December 26th, Christmas is over, and Mom would be the same manipulative woman that I cut out of my life in the first place. The Christmas feeling would be over, the cookies will have been made and eaten, and the plates from the warm & fuzzy family dinner would be put back into the china cabinet until next year.

Because on December 26th, Mom doesn’t have to pretend anymore. There are no more family gatherings, no more presents to open, and no more dinners to cook. There is no reason for Mom to pretend to be something that she is not and it wouldn’t be long before her narcissistic and abusive ways would penetrate my life once again.

It’s easy to get caught up in a fantasy, especially during this time of the year. It’s easy to pretend that you can have the same family relationships that you see on television, feel the same feelings, and share the same joy that they do. It’s easy to slip and let toxic people back into our lives because it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving and you are craving closeness and love. I have almost slipped; more than once.

But I have always been able to stop myself and I look at who I have in my life right now; my children, my fiancé, his family, and my close knit circle of friends. I have the love, the joy, and family I always wanted right under my nose. Imagining the dark cloud that would overtake my happy family home if I tried to have my “fantasy” made my skin crawl and my stomach flip over.

So before I start getting too sad or whenever I feel the urge to pick up my phone and dial her number; I remember that Christmas comes but once a year and that the fantasy I see on television on those damn commercials is just that; a fantasy. I remember December 26th and look at the family I have right in front of me. And sometimes; just turning off the television helps.

Love yourself.

Those Damn Holiday Commercials…

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2016). Those Damn Holiday Commercials…. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Nov 2016
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