Struggling Dad Wants To Cancel Christmas Since His Toddler Is Still 'Too Young' To Remember

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Toddler during Christmas
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A dad who is having a rough time and is struggling with the holidays wanted to make a change this year to help him get by: cancel Christmas for his family just this once. Needless to say, his wife wasn't on board on completely ignoring the season, so he turned to strangers online to share his side of the story and find out if he's a jerk or actually being reasonable given the circumstances.

  • As the dad explained on Reddit -- he's in a difficult financial situation, and because his toddler has no concept of Christmas, he was hoping to avoid it.

    In his post, this dad laid out the very bleak state of his current finances. He wrote that he is the "sole provider for family, all credit cards maxed, negative bank balance, upcoming missed payments until my next check, basically destitute for the foreseeable future. My wife and I usually decorate on Black Friday, but this year I don't want to. The thought of putting up our fake tree knowing I'll have nothing to put under it fills me with such a mix of shame, anger, and pain."

    He has a good point -- getting his finances under control is important gift to give his family -- but what about the spirit of Christmas? He wrote, "I would prefer to just let December pass and cut out as many things as I can until I can get my finances under control. Plus, my daughter is 2. She won't know, care, or even remember one missed Christmas."

    Christmas isn't the only thing on his mind, and he's looking at the bigger picture with this decision.

    "I was in the referral process to find a surgeon to do my vasectomy when we found out that despite using birth control, my wife was pregnant again. We're due in February, a little boy this time," he wrote. "Utter shock, disbelief, some truly unhealthy thoughts, and finally acceptance that I was going to have to continue to be the full time provider."

    The emphasis on what he can't provide right now is affecting his mental state, and because his child is so young right now, he thought that skipping the season might help. "So, AITA? I'm already a failure as a husband and father, so what say you here?"

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  • 2.4K comments later, this dad has been flooded with support online.


    Reddit users came out in droves to try to help the dad change his mindset. He isn't exactly a Scrooge, but he's missing the entire point of Christmas by even considering canceling it. 

    "Decorating with stuff you have won't cost anything but will make your wife happy. Christmas isn't about presents under the tree," one user wrote. "It is the memories you make around that tree with people you love. Let her decorate if she wants to.

    "You're also an a--hole to yourself in this post. Listen. Debt cripples people. It crushes them and spits them out so it has room to gobble up another guy. You arent a failure. You gotta be nicer to yourself man. Good luck," the person continued.

    Others agreed: The point of the holidays is to feel grateful and show love, not fret over finances and penny pinch.

    In one of the most poignant responses, another user could relate to what he was going through but had an important perspective:

    "When my kids were 2 and 4, we had a horrible year. We lost our house and had to move into a shitty miserable moldy (literally) rental. We had NO money.

    That year was my most memorable Christmas. I made my kids presents that year. I cut up old clothes and made my daughter a doll. We put together some scrap wood and made the kids a play kitchen.

    We decorated the hell out of the house using the things we already had. We made cookies. I boiled cinnamon on the stove to give the house a Christmas smell. We watched Christmas movies and sang Christmas songs. It was all a little desperate, but I feel like it made my husband and I stronger. The kids don't remember this, they are young teens now. But I like to think I kept the Christmas spirit alive for them."

  • Thousands of responses and a few days later, the dad posts an update. 

    In an update to the original post, this dad explained he has been reading the comments and taking the suggestions to heart.

    "This was not about garnering pity or soliciting charity. It was my insecurity equating gifts with love that warped Christmas for me," he wrote. "I still dread the thought of lugging that old fake tree out of the laundry room, but my feelings have to come 3rd, here and always. My wife and daughter need the love and joy that that old tree will bring, and I need to give them everything I can, even if it's the just the spirit of the season. They deserve to feel the warmth of a festive home, and we already own the d--n thing, so it's literally the least I can do." 

    He even went on to share a picture of his toddler decorating their tree.

    It's been two weeks since the internet labeled this dad as a gentle a--hole and he posted another uplifting update. He wrote, "The messages are still coming in. Thankfully the offers of charity have stopped (here's hoping they were redirected to their communities) but a good deal of them asking whether or not I stopped being a grinch and started being a good husband and father again," he wrote. "So, to get those people placated first, here you go: I DECORATED."

    He went on to say that he has been in touch with a financial advisor to help him get his finances under control in 2020 and found a therapist who he reports is helping him to "realize that I was worth more than the goods I could offer someone."

    As he wrote, "You all have humbled me beyond words, beyond charity. You have given me both the perspective and the courage to seek professional help, both financial and psychological, and hopefully it's not too late for this stupid old man to become a better father and husband." 

  • The best part is the dad's final update and his huge realization.


    In his most recent update, the dad comes to realize the grand lesson here. Spoiler: It's not about money. Like, at all. 

    He wrote, "Thank you to all who reached out and made me realize that I really was an a--hole. I let my personal shortcomings almost ruin a holiday for my wife and child. It won't be as fancy as our last Christmases, but I have a feeling that this year will be very special to me, no matter how little is under my tree."

    And that is what the holiday season is all about.