You are under no obligation to spend time with relatives who make you uncomfortable.
Even though you’re going to feel pressure to spend time with certain relatives (by the movies you see on TV and your own family members), remember that you are in charge of who is allowed into your world. If someone makes you uncomfortable, you don’t have to reach out to them. You don’t have to accept their invite to dinner. You don’t have to force yourself to spend time with people who treat you like crap the rest of the year. You’re allowed to build your own family and your own traditions. The holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing, so spend them with people who you actually enjoy.
For most people, this isn’t the happiest time of the year.
It’s the most stressful time of the year. You need to finish up projects that are due before January. You need to shop for presents at crowded stores. You need to come up with a game plan on how you’re going to make next year better. There are a million things on your mind. If you’re feeling unhappy or overwhelmed right now, you’re not alone. Around this time, there’s a lot of pressure to be happy, but you can’t control your emotions. It’s okay if you aren’t in the best mood. You aren’t a grinch. You’re only human. And more people share your sadness than you might think.
Money isn’t the only way to show that you care.
Don’t feel bad about what you have to offer the people you love the most. Baking them cookies or sending a text checking in on them could mean more to them than some expensive present they’re never going to use. As much as you want to spoil your friends and family, you can’t blow all your savings on them. They’ll understand if you need that money to pay the rent. No one is keeping track of how much you spend – and if they are, they’re not the type of people you need in your world.
It’s never going to feel the same as when you were young.
There are probably people you’re missing right now. Whether you grew apart or they passed away, it’s never easy to spend the holidays without someone who meant the world to you. This time of the year might bring up messy feelings. You might feel guilty that you’re miserable when you have plenty of loved ones who still are around – or you might feel guilty you’re having a great time without someone you lost. Remember, your feelings are valid, and you shouldn’t be afraid to share them. Others might be feeling the exact same way.
You’re allowed to spend the holidays in any way you want.
The best thing about getting older is that you have complete control over your decisions. You don’t have to spend the holidays in a certain way. You don’t have to decorate a tree or bake cookies if it feels like too much pressure. Those traditions are supposed to be fun, not an extra thing to stress out about. Skip anything that isn’t bringing you joy. You could always do them next year. There are no rules.