Confession: I hate the holidays. (Bah! Humbug) Of course, I haven’t always felt like this. Just like most over children, I struggled to sleep each Christmas Eve, overloaded with excitement. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by and difficult obstacles were thrown in front of me, I’ve found myself dreading December more and more. My desire is never to be ungrateful or unappreciative of what I do have. Which is a lot! However, Christmas acts as a reminder of things I have lost and things, which I will never have. It feels like a chore.
Although I prefer Eternally Elle to be a place of empowerment and positivity, I always want to be honest and raw. Moreover, my aim is to offer guidance where I am able and take my own life experiences and lessons to pass on to my readers. Therefore, if you are someone whom also wished that things could be different and asking yourself how you’ll cope this Christmas, then know that you are not alone in feeling this way. Moreover, what ever your reason may be, you don’t have to justify it to anyone. If this post is not directed at you, I would still encourage you to read this so as to gain a better understanding that Christmas isn’t the most joyous time of year for everyone.
Here are my top tips on surviving the Holidays…
It’s ok to hate Christmas
Whatever your reason may be, it’s okay that you hate Christmas. When everyones singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” down your ear, you can start to feel like there is something wrong with you for disagreeing. With the same songs playing year after year, we become conditioned that we must believe that this is the most wonderful holiday ever and if we don’t, then there must be something wrong with you. I’m telling you now that there is nothing wrong with you. Even if you haven’t gone through some difficult life experiences that has left you feeling bitter about Christmas time, disliking the holiday is completely justified. After all is it not just an over commercialised, all consuming, extortionate holiday that we are pressurised in conforming too? No? Then, you’re one of the lucky ones.
Remember that you have a voice
Christmas is notorious for uninvited obligations. Therefore, it’s important to remember that you have a voice and it deserves to be heard. This is your life and you matter. You are allowed to set boundaries for yourself, say no, change your mind and make choices that abides to your principles. If you know doing something that will cause a great amount of stress or trigger something that is best avoided, then you don’t have to go. Of course, I understand that not all situations can have this outlet and saying no could potentially put one in danger. However, for those whom the results will only cause guilt and or fear, ask yourself if those temporary feelings are more important than the endless, unpredictable amounts of distress caused by certain ‘obligations’.
Use your voice. Set boundaries. You are a human being that is allowed to say no and should be respected. Looking after yourself isn’t selfish.
As I am speaking from personal experiences, most of my advice revolves around being with others but I am aware that many dislike this holiday because they are lonely. Thankfully, the conversation of loneliness is growing each year, creating a good deal of awareness with wonderful solutions that you can follow. There is a campaign aimed to end loneliness at Christmas with suggestions on contacting Community Christmas : get help hosting a Christmas get-together in your community or you could volunteer at your local care home.
If however, this is not your cup of tea, I recommend planning ahead and making your Christmas all about you. Make your holiday a time for ultimate self-indulgence. Watch Netflix, take a bath, paint your nails, turn your music up and dance, read a book, cook yourself an elaborate meal. Above all, celebrate yourself and how far you’ve come. Ensure that your day has an abundance of self-care in it. You deserve it and I know you’ll get through this.
Create new memories
If you’ve suffered from some type of trauma, then I wholeheartedly believe that there should be a huge emphasise on creating new memories over reflecting on past ones. Now is the time to do everything you’ve always wanted! You have the opportunity to make this holiday completely yours. Even if you feel you are obliged to attend certain events on Christmas, ensure you make time to indulge in me-time. You can re-write what Christmas means to you and you don’t have to start in the new year. Do it right now! Make new memories. Meaningful ones. So many new ones you can’t even keep track!
You may feel a little confused as to why I look so happy in this festive photoshoot, i’ve put together, after admitting to hate Christmas. This is to show any trauma survivor, self-confessed scrooge or simple Christmas despiser that it’s possible to smile at this season, even if you are hurting inside. With each year, I’m slowly finding a new appreciation for the holidays. Despite wishing this time of the year away each year and feeling disappointed when it arrives as expected, I am making Christmas work for me and creating happy memories to out weight the unpleasant ones.