Navigating the Holidays with your Loved Ones

At this point, it’s almost cliche to say that the holidays are “tricky”. And I’m not even talking about the health safety issues that put an umbrella of judgment over winter holidays, but the time old tradition of meeting up with family and friends. Countless pressures to attend social gatherings, gift giving (what do I even buy this person, and should I even buy them something?)reunions with relatives that have publicly shamed one or more of your demographics are all the more reason to check your emotional health and practice self care. We love our loved ones, we really do, but the holidays just seem to bring out the highest running emotions and vocalization of opinions of how our lives are going, especially when it’s unsolicited. That being said, here are some friendly reminders on how to come together for the holidays while still honoring your personal values and making new memories. Because if the holidays aren’t about doing something silly and talking about it the next year, what’s the point anyway?

Make a Plan

If you’re heading into the den of lions, or aunts and uncles, in-laws or such, make a plan for yourself ahead of time. It’s totally up to you how long you stay engaged at an event, and there’s nothing wrong with setting a time limit on your upcoming adventures in yuletide tomfoolery. You can even spring for putting an alarm on your phone for what you think will be your limit of stories, appetizers (some or most of which you won’t eat, if there isn’t a variety) and unsolicited hugs. When the alarm goes off, if you’re having a great time, just silence it and continue listening to Uncle Julio talk in detail about his classic car restoration. If you’ve reached your limit of Tia Melly’s questions about when you’re going to settle down and bring some mini me’s to the next holiday, announce that your pet needs to be let out and graciously dip out for the night. Whatever the case, it’s up to you to set yourself for comfort instead of contempt.

Bring a Wingperson

Asking a friend to join you at your family holiday dinner is nothing short of perfect. You’ll have a partner to throw glances across the room and someone to introduce to your cousin Reggie when you’re feeling like you can’t stand another question like “but how do you make money on the internet?” Wingpeople are the best buffer in social settings because you’ll never be alone if you have to propose a conflicting opinion on a socially conscientious topic to a relative that hasn’t made a new friend in 30 years and hasn’t updated their music collection since CD’s were in. Oh wait, CD’s are back in; disregard that.

Have Fun and Be Confident

You were invited to this event for a reason, these people enjoy your company and they want to hear about what’s going on in your world. Feel free to share with them as much as you’d like to share. You may be the highlight of their night, hearing about marketing strategies for your new cupcake business or how you attract new online followers to your art commision project. You are effing interesting and they are lucky that you showed up with a jug of vegan eggnog and gluten free fruit cake, yes, it does exist, and no, it’s not gross.

These are the holidays, be merry, be bright, and take care of what matters most: YOU!