It usually begins around the end of September. School has started, the beach trip is over and the air has started to chill ever so slightly. You try to avoid the subject all together, but inevitably thoughts and conversations begin to turn toward… plans for the holidays.
Yes, some may very well have visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads, but your only visions are of potential escape routes out of Aunt Edna’s holiday house of horrors. All across the country, and possibly the world, people just like you are desperately seeking asylum from the antiquated traditions of days gone by. But fear not my weary reveler! Here are 3 options to help you:
Option # 1: Don’t Go! Yes, this option could lead to potential exile from the family, but if your situation is desperate enough, would this really be such a bad thing? Would one less conversation (or argument) you loathe, fruit cake you won’t eat and pointless gifts you can only hope to return be something you miss? It is okay to stand confident in the fact you have better things to do with your time and have other people in your life you want to spend your time with. So plan something else to do that day and report, “I will be unable to make it this year due to another event,” and enjoy every moment of your positive choices!
Option # 2: Be Entertained! Let’s face it, the family circus can be far more entertaining than whatever collection of musically-challenged pop culture icons the networks choose to prop up with “holiday specials.” Does it really get any better than show and tell with the kid fresh from rehab or the story of the second cousin twice removed, who not only survived his fourth heart attack, but was miraculously saved by the aortic valve salvaged from a pig’s heart? Go ahead, show up and enjoy the drama, while you stay grateful that you only see them once a year.
Option # 3: Start a New Tradition! Regardless of your family’s traditions, you are at a place in life where you can steer your own proverbial ship. There is no script that can’t be re-written. Commit to yourself and your closest loved ones to plan a holiday in which you can all relax, have fun, and be grateful. If the family traditions you have been practicing in the past don’t fit this definition, powerfully choose not to do it this year.
The holidays represent a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your deepest relationships. Duty and obligation are commendable attributes, but not at the expense of your sanity and happiness. With a little confidence, planning and creativity, you really can make this your most memorable holiday season ever.