The holiday season is in full attire and, amongst the majority who relish this most celebrated time of year, there are those who would rather take a sabbatical off the coast of Fiji. Holidays aren’t fun for everyone and, most importantly, it’s not that uncommon to feel that way. So, if you have already discovered that your stocking is full of doldrums, then pay attention, this is your salvation from a hardened holiday heart.
Most notably those who decide not to participate in any holiday festivities, whether religious or secular, are almost always labeled a “Scrooge.” Whether or not this is true is dependent upon what side of the coin you most often find dangling on the tree. Chances are, you appreciate all the libations but would much rather concentrate your time and money on another cause for celebration (i.e. Spring Break in Miami). And if that’s the case then you’re definitely not a habitual martyr. So, how does one break free from the drone of yuletide cheer? Of course, there are the obvious and most unattractive methods: drinking spiked eggnog until mid January, overeating and spending most of your Christmas savings fund on that little black dress for all those holiday parties. Even though the notion is tempting, you should remember that one season spent unwisely equals one lifetime of regretting. With that said, here are some ways to bend the rules without making a nod at self destructive mal behavior.
First, pick a day that you have completely off; if you can’t find one, then make one. This means no chores, appointments or obligations. Suit up in your favorite lounge wear and then choose a few favorite movies to rent, I always find teen ’80s flicks to do the trick. They’re fun and timeless, not to mention what a thrill it is to look back at what you thought was so cool, NOT! Then select a non-traditional holiday meal to indulge in the entire span of your day. Something overtly in protest of anything remotely kosher is fun, like BBQ or Chinese, maybe even Tikka Masala, and of course something sweet (deny yourself the right to eating chocolate on this occasion is almost sinful). Listen to music that’s the antithesis of joyous and celebratory like Marilyn Manson, Lincoln Park, System of a Down, 50 Cent or Gretchen Wilson. Who knew aggression could be so accommodating. If you’d rather take your experiment outdoors, consider a brisk walk on the beach or through the woods. This is a great way to rid your soul of the overindulgent aggression you’ve placed on anything that has to do with Christmastide outings. And ask the powers that be to forgive you for shouting obscenities in your head at the Salvation Army volunteers in front of the mall. If you’re still not convinced, I recommend a long bubble bath, or reading that book you received last Christmas, and never got around to reading. The more time you take to indulge in life’s freebees the more back to normal you’ll feel. It might sound rather obvious and redundant, sure it can even sound absurd but the moment you take time to grant yourself a pity party is the moment you can get over it and move on. Relapse? Repeat the process. It’s safe to try again as long as it’s not adding up to more time off than your annual vacation.
Consider taking a weekend off, spend more time with your friends or get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and start exercising. I know, the latter you’d rather do later but it’s well worth a shot. Don’t ignore your feelings of anxiety and sadness; immersing yourself in holiday hoopla is not a sure way to desensitize. Instead, you may permanently check yourself into the holiday trauma wing at the mental ward. Stop and smell the pine, and then plant a row for next year’s crop. This season is about giving to others but you can’t do that if you can’t give yourself a well deserved break. Now, look forward to what the New Year has in store for you. Make a list of accomplishments and goals, reflecting on your life can be fun. Besides, we’ve all been there so there’s no use in trying to be the only nut nobody likes.