When you think about the holiday season, what comes to mind? For me and many others it’s loneliness. I know, how depressing. But the unfortunate truth is that too many people suffer during the holidays and now with social media, we’re privy to watching everyone else give and receive love while we sulk around wishing for the family we never had. 

This tradition is foreign for many people. Everyone just assumes their friends have a loving home to escape to for the holidays, or that the person is excited to go home. Lots of people flew the coop and moved far, far away for a reason. Not every mother is loving, not every father is around. Sometimes staying with family causes unnecessary anxiety that a person must shut down to maintain some semblance of sanity. In some families, it’s you or them. And since we have no control of other people, I choose me.

If year after year you find yourself burned by the same behaviors of your family, then why go back for more? Break the pattern. Find a new tradition for the holiday. You’d be surprised how many of your friends’ families will invite you to dinner when they find out you’ll be alone—gasp!  Or maybe you have a s/o and you two can celebrate together. I’ve heard so much of my framily complain about “only having five” people over to celebrate. I’m like, smh. Ya’ll just don’t even know. 

The point is, your crappy family is never going to change. Whatever the issue is, no matter how they treat you, it’s engrained in their brains. That’s not to say it’s not worth trying. There are varying degrees of family dysfunction. Some people would welcome Frank Gallagher to their Thanksgiving dinner, and others would only accept St. Francis of the South Side. Your time is your own to use as you please. 

Science says we’ll never get people back once they die. Nor will we get the time back that we could’ve been happy but allowed someone else to make us feel like driving our cars off a bridge. Now there’s the holiday spirit, don’t ya think?

Just like you are in charge of you, your family and friends are responsible for themselves as well. Especially in the way they treat others, including you. Unfortunately most people only self reflect when the person they are hurting no longer allows it anymore. Notice how jerks always act so remorseful in a family feud or breakup? You’re responsible for creating your own boundaries and communicating what is an acceptable way to treat you. If you find yourself crying on Christmas, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what those are. 

For those of us who’ve learned the hard way and have made the decision to enjoy the holiday season, I hope you continue to spend your time being happy. I hope your relationships grow and mend. Not all will. 

To everyone reading I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Continue spending time with people who make you feel good. They say blood is thicker than water, but water is the source of life and is 60% of our bodies. Think about it.