The Outsider's Christmas Carol: A Different Way to Survive the Holidays
When you wish upon a star...
You don't have to spend all your money on the biggest, fanciest, most expensive presents. You don't have to have the prettiest tree. Your value as a human being isn't depending on how many cards you send out, or how happy you look in the picture.
You don't have to give presents to people you don't even like. Heck, you don't even have to spend time with people you don't even like. You don't have to pretend to be happy if you are not. It is not selfish to take care of your own needs first.
There is no need to clean the whole house from top to bottom if you don't have the energy. You don't have to cook all the food that is just bad for you anyways. You don't have to buy into the collective spending craze.
You don't have to follow all the traditions. You don't have to pretend that you're one big happy family.
You don't have to sacrifice your own happiness to fit into the image of a jolly, merry, polite and fake debt-machine.
How you want to spend the holiday this year is YOUR choice.
It is okay not to particularly like Christmas. It is okay to not particularly like the society we live in where we are blowing off all our hard-earned money in just a few weeks. It is okay not to particularly like the invasion of Christmas everything everywhere. It is okay to not particularly like your family. It is oaky to not particularly like red and bright green. It is okay to not particularly like the feeling of comparing yourself to all the perfect bloggers and Instagrammers out there.
It is okay to feel like Christmas has lost its childhood magic.
Instead of turning into the Grinch and hide in a cave for the next couple of weeks, though, I want to encourage you to take back the control of your own life.
Instead, try this:
1. Before you get sucked into the Christmas mayhem, ask yourself do I really want this? and if yes, why? If not, Why not? Own your own feelings around the different elements surrounding the holidays; the gifting, the parties, the spending, the company, the food, the traditions, the family members +++.
2. Stand up for yourself. Decide that your happiness is worth more to you than society's expectations. Don't do something you don't want to do. Don't trade your soul for peace of mind, you will only end up being an empty shell.
3. Be open and vulnerable about your choices. There is no need to offend anyone or to create a conflict. Explain the reason behind your decisions to the people in your life. Tell them why you opt out this year. Focus on your own needs and wishes for yourself. Be nice, don't put yourself higher than them. Explain that you don't think different means better, that it is just the right choice for you.
4. Take one step back into the ring. Consider where it is worth to make a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. Will someone be hurt if you don't show up? Will your kids be devastated if you don't cook their favorite cookies this year? Sometimes peace is better than being right.
5. Make this time special for yourself. If you opt out of everything you don't want to do, what do you want to do? What would a perfect Christmas look like to you? What would you like to spend your time on? Who do you want to be with?
I think it's time we go back and look at what this holiday really is about. It's a very personal thing, what we believe in, what we value, what we find meaningful. It's well worth the time to stop and really consider what that means to you.