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How To Get Through the Holidays: A Guide for Scrooges and Grinches alike

Dallas Mercurio '20, Assistant Editor

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Whether you like them or not, the holidays occur every year, and are as irrepressible as the begrudging march of time. Personally, I love the holiday season and revel in the warmth and sense of community that it fosters. However, I was not always so fond of this time of year, and can easily empathize with those who find the holidays to be unbearable. Society often criticizes those who don’t like the holidays, villainizing them in films as Scrooges or Grinches, but at the root of both of those characters is someone who needs understanding rather than alienation. So, here is a holiday by holiday run down of how to make each special time of the year more bearable for all the Grinches out there!

Thanksgiving

With comfort food, family togetherness, and feelings of thankfulness, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But this holiday can easily turn into a problematic nightmare. How does one get through the obstacles of this turkey gobbling sugarcoating of Native American genocide? Read below for fixes to common Turkey day problems:

1.Don’t feel like celebrating because of this holiday’s connection to how the early settlers mistreated Native Americans?

That’s a good reason not to want to celebrate, and if you want to honor the tragedy of colonization instead of chowing down on mashed potatoes, go ahead. Still feeling down though? Another theme of this holiday is thankfulness. Take some time to think of three things you are thankful for. By practicing gratitude on Thanksgiving (and every day) life will seem less depressing and full of more opportunity for change and happiness in the world.

2. The car ride to Grandma’s is unbearably long and boring!

Here are 5 of my favorite things to do on long car rides:

  • A good ol’ game of eye spy never hurt anyone.
  • Sometimes it’s nice to just have an existential crisis while staring out the window, listening to sad music, and pretending to be in a music video.
  • Never underestimate the power of napping.
  • Car rides are excellent times to knit or crochet, or to make a friendship bracelet.
  • Sing loud and proud with your family!

3. Okay, so we get there and everyone is fighting about politics!

In a country as divided as our own, it is more common than not to have a Thanksgiving table full of people on opposing sides. My suggestion is to avoid discussing politics and current events in general, because this often leads to fighting and awkward silences. If a political debate does arise, try to keep it polite and not personal. You are all family, and love unites you even when politics divide.

Christmas

Oh, Christmas time–– this is the big one! I start getting in that holly jolly spirit after December 1st, but most of the OC population begins celebrating the Christmas season long before then. Find Christmas carols in September irritating? I can’t help you get over that, but here are some tips and tricks that might flip your perspective to a positive one this December:

1.Think the whole holiday is overhyped and become about consumer greed?

You are not wrong, but there’s a lot more to Christmas than just presents. Sadly, people lose sight of that fact, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Enjoy this season of giving by leaving a little more joy in your path. This season is a perfect opportunity to do random acts of kindness. Volunteer, make gifts for loved ones, and actively strive to incorporate kindness in every interaction you have.

2. Do you experience sadness in this over-sensationalized time of joy?

The holidays often bring feelings of loneliness and grief to the surface. It’s especially hard to deal with these feelings when everyone around you seems to be giddy with Christmas glee. But in all honesty, loneliness and grief have or will affect everyone you know at some point. I have had my fair share of both of these feelings during the holiday, and there is no shame in allowing yourself to feel a little sad during this “season of joy.” Honor your emotions, but don’t let the negative emotions overwhelm you.There is always at least one good thing in life, whether that be a person who loves you, or your favorite cup of tea, don’t lose sight of the good. If you are struggling emotionally or mentally during the holiday season, or any time of year, don’t be afraid to reach out and find help.

New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day

Oh, the existential crisis hits with full force on this two day holiday. While some may welcome a fresh start, for others, including myself, these days in particular cause fairly high levels of anxiety for the coming year.

1.Feeling bad about not achieving last year’s New Year’s resolution?

Forgive yourself and set a more realistic goal, or if it’s too much to worry about, don’t even set a resolution! While it’s always important to have goals in life, stressing about them won’t help you achieve them.

2. Sad that you don’t have anything to do on New Year’s Eve or anyone to be your New Year’s Eve kiss?

You can still have fun without either of those things. Watch the Times Square ball drop on TV or a good movie (Harry Potter is my favorite to watch on New Year’s.) A relaxing night to refresh and prepare mentally for the coming year is always a good option!

I hope these suggestions help you enjoy and survive the holiday season. Happy holidays!

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How To Get Through the Holidays: A Guide for Scrooges and Grinches alike