Traditional or take out: however you celebrate is valid
By Nathan Parin
The holidays are considered to be the happiest time of the year. Loved ones gather together from near and far to celebrate and execute their respective traditions. Picture this: a happy family sitting around the dining room table with a huge feast sat in front of their smiling faces. Now know this: the holidays are never actually that perfect image we see televised on so many commercials and movies during this time of year. It is always wonderful to spend time with the people one loves; however, what that looks like for people comes in all shapes and sizes and different ways.
This holiday season, please remember that however and whatever you celebrate probably will not be the perfect holiday commercial, and that is okay. In college especially, it is not possible to go home for every holiday. So if this year your huge feast is some take out food with a friend and Uno, that can be just as fun and way less stressful, even if it isn’t traditional. If you do go home and have a holiday with the whole schebang, don’t feel too bad if you need to sneak away for a little while to ground yourself. Extended family, conflicting personalities, a lot of stimulation can be stressful and that is normal.
While visits home can mean a lot of good memories, they can also mean stressful moments. To help yourself stay sane, try and remember a few things while celebrating the holidays. Keep calm. It won’t last long, you’re valid in your life choices (I mean, probably) and have a coping mechanism for stress and confrontation. During a hot moment with family, I think the best thing to do at times is separate yourself from the situation to cool down. Having an ally, whether that is the cool cousin or a sibling, can be helpful too.
If this year is your first holiday away from home don’t fret, it can still be a lot of fun! As mentioned before, there are routes completely different than the traditional one. However, it does not have to be that way either. You can still have your traditions without spending them how you normally do. For example, no matter where or who I spend Thanksgiving with, I always watch the Macy’s Day Parade and eat pumpkin pie. It might not be the Frisch’s pumpkin pie that my sister used to bring home, but it is still a pumpkin pie. Being flexible and adaptable can really help alleviate stress during this time of year.
Focus on the fun and your loved ones. You can go all out for the holidays or keep it simple. No matter how you choose to spend your holidays, there is not a wrong way to do it as long as you’re having a good time and not hurting those around you while doing it. Enjoy this time of year, or don’t, but know that whatever and however you celebrate (or don’t), you’re not doing it wrong.