Holiday Anxiety

Here we will share the IRL stories of women who struggle with the holidays. We often see influencers galavant around talking about their top five items on their shopping list or a new sweater must-haves...but what about discussing the struggles of holiday fear versus all the holiday cheer we see sweep social media and television? It's not that we're not wanting to get excited, but we shouldn't throw a blanket over those who actually struggle with life during all the Christmas whoahs. As a society we fail to listen, but here in our community we want to hear your voices and be your support. Below, you'll find most stories from women here in DC and out of it, that are remaining anonymous, but find it important to speak up about their challenges. We hope that for others who struggle with holiday anxieties, that you see you're not alone and it's important to speak up. What shouldn't be ignored is how real these feelings are and how much courage they needed to write how they truly feel. Let's take a moment to rise for these woman and acknowledge the struggle. I encourage you to have an open mind and heart as you scroll through wherever you are in the world. 

*Comments are ON below. If there is anything that is written harshly it will get deleted. We are here to be support, not weaken a building foundation*


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I totally embody the Danish term “Hygge” shortly meaning comfort, a coziness that brings
about a content feeling. I look forward to autumn, pregnant with anticipation for the inevitable show of jewel-toned leaves, warm beverages enjoyed in cozy sweaters, football games, and deep, solitary contemplations. For an introvert like me, it is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year.


I generally am optimistic in the fall, as it is the precursor to the holidays. These months bring about a chance to see loved ones that live at a distance, the comfort of lazing around my family home with tall socks and leggings drinking tea by the fire, holiday music, and loads of
comfort food. I spend every day from September through December sipping up the delicious colors, smells and moments these months have to offer. It’s sensory overload. With the joy of fall and holidays, comes romance. It’s all around and totally unavoidable. It’s with those glaringly cutesy-love moments that fill my social media feeds and my ears through friends’ love stories, that this time of year is also admittedly one of my most anxiety-ridden and saddening times. I am in my late 20’s and have been practically single my entire adult life. I was a late bloomer, coupled with a fiery focus on building a successful business. I had no time for dating, until I desperately wanted to date. I clung to a depressingly awful situation with a guy who didn't love me but kept me around as a “best friend”. It was always around the holidays that I would feel the painful stabs of our relationship, missing our first year when we were dating and he promised that he would take me home for the holidays to his family’s farm. It sounded so romantic and perfect, and I couldn’t wait to see his mom and grandparents again, who I had come to love so dearly. I was rudely awoken to the harsh reality when he brought another woman home—one he was newly dating and fleetingly told me about, and she got to celebrate my Christmas with them. I sat up in bed, heart racing, anxiety coursing through my veins, wondering why I was so pathetic, and when I would find someone who wouldn’t treat me this way.


The anxiety around love and the holidays has only built with the passing years, leading to an inevitable night, somewhere in late December, where I notice my loneliness. It sits deep in my bones, and it hurts. I realize that I will face my family, once again, with no one to introduce
them to. No one to sit next to me with their hand on my thigh in reassurance. No one to cuddle with on the couch watching cheesy holiday movies after everyone has gone to bed. I catch myself at night, lying awake, tears streaming down my face. I can almost feel his big thumbs gently rubbing my salty cheeks, wrapping his body around mine in a comforting embrace, telling me that I was dumb to ever feel this way. But I feel trapped—out of control. It is the one part of my life that I can’t do anything about besides wait, stay positive, and know that one day, we will find each other. Yet every year, my “singleness” punches me right in the gut. Its blared across social platforms, in every movie. “You are single, and you suck”, is what it all translates to.


Two years ago, I sat at the table with my family, and my 15 year-old cousin asked, “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “You must be ugly or something”. And even though I know not to be bothered by a teenage boy’s words, it stirred up my obvious
insecurities of being a viable young woman with no romantic life. And here I am, two years later, still single. I get nervous that my family is wondering what my cousin asked rudely aloud. That I have a successful business to show for, but can’t keep a personal life together? What is
wrong with her?


I feel anxiety for another year ending with no prospects, losing precious moments to make memories with my person.

I realize that we live in a society where being an independent young woman is a great thing. And I know I am a wonderful person. I live freely, I travel, I am a kick-ass business owner. I come from a loving world. I am so blessed. But the very human side of me wants to share this
beautiful life with someone who will celebrate it all with me. It's in this very magical time of year that I can’t help but feel the obvious disappointment of being single.

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"Don’t be silly", my mom would say when I’d tell her I was stressed. I didn’t realize this feeling, this panic, it was actually social anxiety. “You have no idea what stress is. Just wait.” 

I guess, in a way, she was right. Because this stress, this social anxiety, this crippling fear of judgement, would only get worse.

It’s always bad around the holidays that I want to make everyone happy and give them the world. I never want anyone to feel left out or sad or anxious. So I just keep going — with the gifts and gestures and parties and endless mason jars of homemade cookies and apple cider and mulled wine and holiday cards. 

I guess I simply stress over the thought of judgement. And yes, we (I) need to stop worrying about what others think. 

But it terrifies me. 

“Wow, she’s gotten fatter.” 

“What is she even doing with her life?” 

“Her voice sounds so weird. Is that a lisp?” 

“Her skin looks awful.” 

“Such a shame. She had everything going for her.” 

Oh, and the in-laws. Everything we’ve gone through together. Their endless bickering. Their anger that we’ve not been buying enough, doing enough, being perfect enough. 

I feel this never-ending pressure to just keep on. To decorate. Buy presents. Provide food and companionship. And eat every single dessert shoved my way that was made “especially for you, dear” and still look like I haven’t gone up in jeans size. 

I'm trying to be chill when I realize that I’m at another Christmas party where the only thing I can eat are the pretzel sticks. And I get wasted on. 

I feel this weird pressure to just keep spending on people. I know it’s beyond my means, beyond my limit. But inside of me there’s this weird voice telling me that if I’m not practically going into debt from showing everyone my love for them over the holidays, then I’m a terrible person. 

The endless phone calls... then asking about school, then asking about when we’re having kids. And oh, you’re not pregnant? Must have had a big lunch then. 

And oh, honey, what happened to your pretty face? 

And yes, remember, your goal is to please your husband. 

And pumpkin, if you really want to make me happy this Christmas... 

and oh, if you would just eat a little bit of meat. Just around the holidays. It would make me love you so much more. 

And I’m terrified of people seeing me alone. Of not looking like the life of the party. 

Once I arrive, I instantly smile. Biggest smile ever. Lots of laughs and charm and oh, how ARE you, dese? And the teeth continue to show. And I play with the kids while holding a conversation with adults. And my mom tells me how lovely it is to all get together for the holidays. And it’s all so happy and chocolately and pepperminty and jolly. 

And the second we leave, I break down in tears, falling back into myself. I wasn’t enough. Do you think they liked me? Did I look okay? Was everyone impressed? Do you think I need to get them another gift? 

And so another season is over. 

What about Instagram? Is it mysterious enough? What will people think if our NYE isn’t insane? And if our thanksgiving spread doesn’t invoke FOMO? I bet my followers will unfollow me when they realize that I’ve gained weight...or when they realize I’m not rich...or when they realize that I haven’t volunteered enough." - Washington, DC

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My relationship with the holiday season is complex. I absolutely adore the season for the opportunities to give and celebrate with loved ones, gather around food, and plug into that childlike joy that comes from twinkly lights and the smell of sugar cookies. However, I am paralyzed by anxiety when it comes to the day itself.

My parents separated when I was a teenager and the holidays became the pinnacle of heartbreak. Even before their divorce, we spent the day shuffling from house to house, visiting grandparents, aunts, cousins and then loading up and doing it again. Once our parents also had separate houses, this just added to the chaos. We never sat still and enjoyed the company of anyone because we already had one foot out the door to head to the next location. I remember feeling sick with guilt for being with one parent and not with the other, and as we made our shuffle to the next house, the same guilt would creep up in reverse.

This mess of pain and guilt and anger and sadness has stayed with me from childhood when I thought surely my life was uniquely broken— to adulthood, where I’m now certain I’m in good, anxious, irritated, stressed out company. 

This year’s holiday season is particularly uncomfortable. I am recently separated from my husband and celebrating the holidays alone for the first time in a long time. The idea of sitting solo at the Thanksgiving table doesn’t worry me, but the inevitable conversation about my alone-ness at these holiday events is and will continue to be absolutely crushing. I already feel myself pulling back, declining invitations, and looking for excuses to fill my calendar to avoid these moments. 

Getting divorced has taught me a lot about other people, and one of those things is that they are so, incredibly, freaking uncomfortable with talking about hard things. They either divert to awkward babbling or douse you in pity and sad eyes. Neither of which cultivates a comfortable conversation space. Neither makes me feel good. Throw in the pressure of having a holly-jolly time and too much mulled-wine and it’s a nightmare.

The proverbial cherry on top is that I do not celebrate the holidays with any religious ties. I float comfortably between the titles of agnostic and atheist, with zero desire to discuss my beliefs or belittle anyone’s opposing beliefs any day of the year. Christmas day is traditionally an occasion spent hiding my tattoos, avoiding conversations about Christ, and now carrying the sinful burden of my divorce around the table with my very conservative family. (Sidenote: I could write a whole new essay on how to awkwardly make it through family prayer/not audibly gag when we 'pray for our president.’)

I don’t have any words of wisdom for surviving the season. I truly believe that everyone suffers from their own unique heartbreak, anxiety, confusion, and frustrations around the holidays, and the best thing we can do is own it—put our stories out there, support and love one another, and take our friends for drinks the minute they make it back from their family’s home. 

To anyone who feels their chest tighten at the thought of the holidays, know you’re not alone, you’re not broken and like any other season, this stressful, hard season, will pass too.

Also, if you’re up for running away to a beach somewhere to avoid it all, let’s freaking do it." - Laramie, Wyoming  

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"Every year for Christmas, I drive to my parents' house in Alabama. I've been doing this for six or seven years now. I love the holiday season. Christmas is honestly one of my favorite seasons because there's just this feeling in the air for me. That being said, my parents are horribly negative people. I hate going to see them at Christmas, and I hate that my siblings are stuck with them, particularly my little sister. My dad complains about the gifts he receives every year, usually within five minutes of us being done opening presents. He'll ask me what I think, trying to get someone to agree with his criticism that the gift is cheap or isn't exactly what he asked for. My mom usually sits around and sulks, barks at my brother and dad, and just can't be bothered all day. I've had conversations with both of them a few years in a row now, saying that at least on Christmas day, they need to act like adults. They need to be happy and enjoy the day and enjoy spending time with family. I don't have the chance to visit often whether it's because of work or school, so when I do, I don't want to listen to my parents be assholes to one another and to know that my little sister is subjected to listening to that, too. 

Last year, my parents got into a really messy series of arguments that they called me about, partially to complain to me and partially to bash one another. It was around Thanksgiving, I think. I ended up asking my mom what she thought about my little sister coming to visit me for Christmas, to give her and my dad space to work through some of the issues they'd been calling me about. She flipped out, refused to acknowledge the problems I literally spoke with her about days before and told my grandmother and uncle that I was disrespectful and never should have spoken to her that way. My little sister didn't come to visit. I didn't bring it up again because I was told that I should treat my mom better and needed to understand what she was dealing with. 

I love Christmas. I love most of my family, and especially my little sister. I like being able to see her and trying to build up her confidence. Being around my parents is miserable, though. They like to infect the entire day with it, regardless of who is around. It's honestly a little maddening. 

I'm sorry it's really long, but it's my Christmas every year. I try to mitigate the spread of misery from two people who shouldn't be married any longer, but spending time with my little sister is more important than any of that to me, so I'll continue to deal with it." - From Nashville, TN

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"I think it was the Christmas of 2006 when I was just 14 years old. I lived in Grafenwoehr, Germany. I don’t recall it being a white Christmas, just a wet one. We spent Christmas Eve preparing dinner for all of the Filipino families to get together and eat before Christmas Mass. We normally hosted Christmas Eve dinner because my family lived just a few blocks away from the chapel. There were always a few essential to these dinners: Filipino Food, presents, and karaoke. We had a few families that were the “normal” crowd, and then a few stragglers who had just moved to the area. My parents took the liberty of inviting them so they had a place to spend Christmas and had a chance to be enveloped by our small Filipino community. My family’s home was always so full of laughter and love. You could just feel the warmth of everyone around you.

I was fourteen. There’s not much else that I recall from this night except the normal Christmas Eve get together before going to church. We would put our coats on, mob through the Grafenwoehr Elementary School playground, and find our seats near the middle of the chapel. Depending on what time we would get there would determine whether we sat next to our family or not. My older brother didn’t sit by us that year. He said that he was going to sit in the balcony, and he wondered what we’d look like from “up top”. I wanted to sit up there, but my mom said I had to sit with them. It may not sound like an interesting story, but this scene replays in my head every Christmas Eve.

For the past ten years, my family has spent Christmas without my older brother. He committed suicide in July 2007. There weren’t many signs or symptoms that I saw, but I was fourteen, and I didn’t know what to look for. My brother acting that way didn’t mean anything to me. He was seventeen, and he was dating back then. It was a normal teenage thing to withdraw a little from your family and be more focused on your friends and your high school sweetheart. We thought nothing of it, because like I said, the warmth of everyone we were with masked what ever feelings my brother had.

This will be my tenth year without my brother. It has gradually gotten easier to celebrate the holidays without having a strong sadness built up inside of me, but I can’t help but wonder what he meant during our last Christmas mass together when he said he “wondered what we looked like from up top.” Ten years later, and he’s still viewing us from “up top”." - Germany

 

"Mentally during the holidays I’m like a huge pot of boiling emotions that evaporate over time and continuously gets refilled. Honestly, life is generally like that nowadays but during the holidays it’s enough to fill a big pot and a small pot. Please excuse the cooking analogies; I spend my time working in the kitchen when I'm not with my family. My family. My family and the events that have occurred since 2014 are what have made my "mental boiling pots" that are full of happiness, sadness, joy, melancholy, and grief. 

Four years ago, my husband and I were expecting our first child, a beautiful little boy named Anthony. On February 8, 2014, our little Anthony was born still at 37 weeks and 6 days, just a few weeks before his due date. Everything that has followed his passing has been bittersweet. We were blessed in March 2015 with another little boy named Terrence, and recently graced with the presence of our little Maia who was born July of this year.

Both Terrence and Maia have enriched my life beyond words, but there's always an unusually loud silence of space due to the absence of my Anthony. His absence is loud every day as I watch Terrence and Maia grow in their own ways, but it's even louder during the holidays. The memories, the new traditions, the pictures, the big family gatherings, and small immediate family outings.. I'm missing him dearly during all of it. Losing a child makes you constantly wonder "what if", "how would they be?", and "who would they be?". It makes you wonder how different your family dynamic might be. Losing a child just makes you wonder about everything. During the holiday season my mental boiling pots are sometimes manageable and on other days, the grief seems too much to handle so a glass of wine, a good cry, and a lengthy prayer to God are required to keep my focus on everything else.  Seeing other children who would be his age experiencing life in their own way is bittersweet. Christmas is my favorite seasonal holiday and it burns a little that I'll never be able to share that with Anthony except for in my heart. My continuous goal is to keep and share my new way of seeing and appreciating life within my family while keeping his memory alive, especially during the holidays. He has to be remembered. Terrence and Maia will know about Anthony, and if they're ever excited to hang his ornament on our Christmas tree in the future I'll consider that a job well done." - Maryland

 
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"Remember that commercial from the war on drugs in the 90’s? “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.” As someone with anxiety, my mind around the holiday is a bit like that fried egg: searing, messy, and on the verge of burning beyond recognition.  My anxiety surrounding all things The Holidays is rooted in the feeling that those circled dates on the calendar are a magnifying glass on my daily insecurities, worries, and fears. 

This is your life. This is your life on holidays.

Suffering with infertility? It’s hard every day. It’s even harder being the token childless couple at Thanksgiving dinner. You really do have to get low-key drunk on table wine to proactively prevent probing question on the current state of your womb. Even that, though, won’t be enough to fend off queries about the plans for the future state of your womb.

Lost a parent? There’s nothing like hearing the choir belt Ave Maria at midnight mass to open the barely-healed wound of grief. Oh, but it’s been 15 years? No matter. The holidays resurface sadness as fresh as it was that first year. Except that there is no bereavement period following the holidays, so you get to go back to work on December 26 feeling as though you’ve just come from your father’s funeral.

Moved away from home? Sitting in traffic, inching across three states on a major national holiday will easily extinguish any and all desire you have to ever go back. Except. The guilt. When you finally make the decision not to travel, your family will say they understand, but will also text you multiple group photos with “wish you were here!” all day. So which is it? Do they understand or do they still wish you’d made the trip? Can it be both? Should you have just taken one for the team and gone even though you really, really, really didn’t want to? The guilt…

Struggling at work? Worried about aging parents? Wish your relationship with your sibling was better? The holidays, the holidays the holidays. A season for “catching up.” More like dredging up. The embers that burn in my brain on a day-to-day basis get stoked out of control by well-meaning friends and relatives dredging up thoughts and feelings that I’ve worked hard to get a handle on the other eleven months of the year. Topics so sensitive, innocently brought out in the open during dessert, can land like a punch to the anxious gut. I recently related hard to a meme that read:

                  Friend: So what’s new with you?

                  Me: Please don’t make me think about my life.

Holidays, please don’t make me think about my life. But that’s what you do best. You can’t help it. I can only control my reactions. Maybe? Probably not. I have anxiety.

An anecdote: My husband and I have been together for 16 years. Last Thanksgiving was the first holiday that we stayed in DC, just us. I was dealing with an injury and couldn’t make the long drive back home. Our family said they understood. We had an excuse, after all! So, for the first time in our marriage, we celebrated a holiday as a family of two and with that, felt a little family unit in our own right for the first time. It was, in a word, glorious. We slept in, binged The Office; we barely left the apartment except to find a barren hiking trail that would have been tourist-ridden any other weekend. We avoided the questions about growing our family, didn’t have to fake-smile through over-told stories of holidays-past when Dad was still around, and gained 15 hours of vacation that otherwise would have been spent on an interstate. I cannot stress enough how wonderful those four days were. It was truly restful, and we entered the Christmas and New Year’s season rejuvenated and ready for the hustle. So why am I feeling so guilty about wanting it again this year? So anxious over making the final decision? So dreadful of the inevitable guilt of letting down family? I probably currently have four or five unanswered texts on my phone from friends and family asking when we’ll be home for the holidays. Because it’s so hard to say, so definitively, “we aren’t.” This year, my injury has healed and we don’t have the excuse to stay put. But why do we need one? Shouldn’t it be enough to just want to spend time together, alone?  With anxiety, it’s not enough to just make a decision that’s in my own best interest, or simply that fulfills my own wishes. It has to be justified in my mind from all angles.  And my anxious mind has many corners, angles freshly sharpened by this, “the most wonderful time of the year.”" - Washington, DC

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"My relationship with the holidays has never been great. For starters, I have memories from when I was only a few years old of being sexually assaulted during a Halloween party at our house.

At age 5, I inadvertently found out that Santa Claus isn’t real. Granted, I shouldn’t have been snooping through my parents’ closet where they hid all the gifts that I asked Mall Santa for, but still. Even at that age, the magic was gone pretty quickly when I saw how stressful it was for my parents to put presents under a tree when they barely made ends meet on a normal day.

Thanksgiving doesn’t even get a pass on my holiday angst list. When I was 20, I lived in Spain for work. I was single and hadn’t made many close friends, except for dudes I got drunk and slept with to feel less lonely. But I never thought I’d spend Thanksgiving weekend secretly flying back to the States to have an abortion. I lied to my very conservative Christian family about why I was in the States during the holiday and not visiting them. I ate a frozen turkey dinner alone in a hotel room, recovering from the abortion, and wanting to die.

Even the good years were full of so much freaking stress that if the holidays were a person, I would have friend-dumped that bitch back in high school. My mom always became a stress-case about hosting family gatherings, and formed my belief that if everything wasn’t perfect then it was shit. Even when I moved away from home at 17, I felt like I had to fly back home during the holidays or risk being the undutiful daughter.

For a long time, I tried to push aside my terrible feelings about the holidays and power through.  Especially once I had a kid of my own. I felt like I should be doing all this holiday crap because that’s what I’m “supposed” to do as a good mom. As if by not lying to them about an imaginary fat guy with an unrealistic backstory, I’m somehow depriving them of an important childhood experience.

I realize not everyone has had the extreme experiences I’ve had during times that are supposed to be about celebration, friends, and family. But even the people who DO love holidays feel anxious about them. If you don’t feel some level of anxiety about the holidays, you’re either Martha-effing-Stewart or you’ve achieved Buddha-like holiday enlightenment.

So how do the rest of us make peace with the ghosts of holidays past? How do we get past the commercialized bullshit that has taken over our holiday celebrations? What do we do when we reach a point where our families still expect us to spend the holidays with them, but we’re grown-ass adults who have our own lives and our own people?

As I’ve come to terms over the past few years with my anxiety and realizing that a lot of it stems from unrealistic expectations, I’ve realized that the idea of holidays being perfectly Hallmark-worthy belongs on my “fuck it” list. Even if it means disagreeing with family or opting out of lifelong traditions that I thought I would pass on to my kid.

It’s been a long process. Like, years of feeling crappy about it followed by years of half-assing it and then finally figuring out that my happiness is more important than what someone else thinks I should be doing for the holidays. It helps that I have a partner who isn’t into the holidays either, but even if you’re doing this on your own, you can set boundaries and decide what makes you happy this year, and for years to come.

Here are some things that are working for me right now:

1) Staying Home. This might be an extreme first step for some people, but it’s worth it! When I see the news coverage about holiday travel delays, traffic jams, and airport cluster-fucks, I have zero regrets about staying home. Holiday travel is for suckers. Being in the city during a major holiday feels like being in a secret club of people who were smart enough to stay home and enjoy the quiet.

If you feel the need to engage in some holiday-ing, I can guarantee you’ll find something wherever you are without enduring a six-hour road trip or a TSA security line. Save your vacation time and money for a trip you’ll actually enjoy instead. If you’re really that into spending time with the fam, pick a non-holiday weekend to visit them. I’d be willing to bet a paycheck that you’ll find it a frillion times more relaxing.

2) Making Dinner Reservations. Okay, I know this one isn’t a new idea, especially if you grew up in a non-Christian family. But until my (non-practicing, Jewish) partner introduced me to the joys of eating out on holidays, I had no idea what I was missing!

Whether it’s a mom and pop café, a Chinese buffet, or a fancy-schmancy sit-down, call ahead and see if they take reservations a few weeks in advance. We like to do mid-afternoon holiday meals so we can sleep in, eat brunch at home, and then get dressed up to go out. We take a car service to the restaurant, drink and eat until we’re ready to food coma, and then we catch a car back home to the couch and pajamas. No shopping. No cooking. No clean up. You’re welcome.

3) Not Giving Store-Bought Gifts. My friends know that when it comes to giving gifts at birthdays and holidays, I’m not that gal. I’ve always hated the pressure-y forced feeling of finding “that perfect gift” for someone at the same time of year when everyone else is trying, too. I also have a December birthday so I might still be a little salty about all those years of birthday/Xmas gift combos.

What I do instead is buy things throughout the year when I see something that I’m inspired to get for someone. If you’re set on giving gifts at the actual holiday, you can save them up and wait for the special day. But if you’re like me, you’ll be so excited to randomly give someone an unexpected gift that you can’t wait. Also, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like super-thoughtful gifts out of the blue.

4) Giving Something Made. I know that holiday gift-giving is important to a lot of people. It’s not that I’m all bah-humbug about the concept of gift giving. I’m all bah-humbug about the over-commercialization and ridiculous pressure of it all. If you really feel the need to give something tangible, use the hours you’d spend at a store (or shopping online, or repeatedly mentally freaking out about how few days you have left to shop) to make something instead.

My grandfather has made little wooden Christmas ornaments for the grandkids every year since I was a kid. Maybe you like to knit – hey! most people like to wear warm fuzzy things made by someone they love. You could easily print a memorable photo of a special moment with someone you love, and write them a card about what they mean to you. You don’t have to be an artist or even that creative to do something memorable.

Every year, I plan to make a bunch of delicious holiday treats to bag up and send to friends and family. So far, I’ve only gotten through the step of making the treats. Then I spend the holidays eating them instead of mailing them because going to the post office in December seems like a terrible idea. Maybe this year will be different…

5) Saying No. There’s a lot of lip service paid to the power of saying no. It’s a popular topic these days, because we’re all overloaded all the time. But how many people are actually doing it, especially when it comes to the holidays? Based on how anxious most people are from October through early January, I’d say not very many.

Saying no can feel super-difficult and can be anxiety-inducing in and of itself. Speaking from experience, it’s even more daunting when you’re not married or don’t have children and your family expects you to participate in the holidays like you’re still a kid. At some point, you must decide for yourself what your personal traditions are going to be, and then you communicate that to others. Start by thinking about what you really want this holiday season to feel like, and say no to anything that doesn’t give you that feeling.

I feel like the silver lining to all this holiday madness is that we’re talking about our experiences more and shedding some old beliefs and ways of doing things. Just like figuring out what you want personally is a process, it’s a process for our society to move towards a healthier culture around the holidays as well. By taking a stand against unnecessary holiday bullshit, and creating your own loving holiday practices, you can help shift things back to a focus on what’s truly important.

Wherever you find yourself this year, I wish you self-love, happiness, and the ability to say “Happy Holidays!” without a twinge of anxiety." - Washington, DC

 

 

Leah BeilhartComment