How I’m Going to Survive the Holidays Once Again

Date Posted: October 26, 2015
How I’m Going to Survive the Holidays Once Again

I don’t know about you, but my stress level starts to rise the moment I see the first indications that the winter holidays are upon us. I feel slightly nauseous at the sight of Halloween decorations already scattered on the landscape by the first of October. I’ve barely had a chance to say goodbye to the glow of 4th of July fireworks before I’m forced to say hello to jack-o’-lanterns staring at me from every aisle in the store. If only they knew that their faces made me cringe with worry about how I’m going to dodge the stress from other people’s holiday expectations. Or how I’m going to avoid the tsunami of guilt around gift giving without going into debt, and still avoid feeling like a cheapskate. Just having to work on hiding my humbug attitude from the happy holiday people sucks the life out of me.

The holidays didn’t used to be this way for me. Growing up, I looked forward to decorating my house with scary Halloween decorations and waiting by the door to hand out candy to cute kids in costumes. I became giddy at the thought of the Thanksgiving meal, with lots of family and friends. There was nothing more fun than everyone sitting around in sweats, wondering which to do first: take a nap, eat dessert, or play a card game. I took delight in adding lots of holiday events to my calendar and figuring out the best outfits to wear. I loved dreaming up creative New Year’s resolutions that I secretly knew I’d break anyway. Each and every holiday during the winter season held a great potential joy all its own.

But those days are long gone. Given that leaving the country from October 1st until January 1st is not an option, I’ve decided to take a different approach to surviving the holidays this year. Instead of running and hiding, I’m going to pretend they no longer exist. Yup! I’m going to go about my life, business as usual, and ignore the rest. When people ask how I am going to celebrate the holidays, I will look at them like I don’t know what the word “holiday” means. I’ll say, “Sorry, but I don’t speak Holiday.” If someone tries to explain what the word means, I’ll cock my head and have a confused look on my face, the way a dog looks when you’re speaking to it.

I am going to refuse to join in the insanity. Because, really, aren’t holidays supposed to be a time of rest, fun, connection, and celebration? Besides, I'm not Prince, and I can no longer party like it’s 1999, so this year I am going to celebrate “happy no-holidays!” and see how that works for me.

I will only spend time with people who hate the holidays as much as I do. I will have Thanksgiving with people who think it’s hilarious to roll their eyes at turkey centerpieces and who decline to engage in small talk. I will spend time with people who refuse to pretend they have no problems just because it’s the season to be jolly. I will go to holiday parties with people who will happily and unapologetically complain about the stress of it all, and who won’t buy into holiday propaganda or be bullied by the fear of Santa’s disapproval. I will then finish off the year by spending New Year’s Eve with my head snuggled under the covers by 10 p.m., laughing with my husband at the poor suckers who are spending big bucks in a desperate attempt to have fun. Yup, I expect to welcome in 2016 feeling unstressed and unscathed. Wanna join?

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