Holiday Season

November 25, 2015

As a child holidays were fun.

I loved nothing more than visiting my aunts homes and playing with my cousins. I loved who my mom became when she was around her sisters My aunts and my mom seemed happy to be together. I would see my mother grinning and laughing loud.

But when family gatherings became a place to rank and rate and compare I started feeling less and less interested in being involved in family holiday gatherings.

Gatherings some feel obligated to host, and some folks feels forced to attend.

Not only are they difficult to endure, but the holidays are also like a bridge between the fall to the worst part of the winter.

The family holiday events I’ve attended are nothing at all like the idyllic ones I see on TV.

I’m sure no one’s holiday gathering is at all like how it is on TV. Or maybe it is, there’s lots going on TV nowadays.

My Sagittarius birthday is nestled in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the holidays are extra hard for me.

Because birthdays and holidays are pressure-filled events.

I get to get it all over with at the same time of the year, so I guess there’s that to be grateful for.

During the late fall early winter, I feel all this pressure.

Real or imaginary, I feel it.

The pressure to enjoy my birthday. Since it’s happening, and I knew all year that it would, I feel like I should have planned some fun, and I should do something amazing.

Not only should it be amazing but it should be Instagram worthy as well.

Then there is the pressure of gift giving and receiving.

Many of us can agree that there is nothing like giving someone you truly love a gift that delights them.

It’s like getting a gold star, isn’t it?

But then you feel this pressure to get it right and be seen a certain way and it’s draining and distracting.

I guess that is getting to the core of why these gatherings are more of a chore than a treasure for me.

When we step outside of our regular routines, we are looking for something.I think that visiting friends or family is something we do b/c we are looking for and expecting a feeling of warmth. Feeling welcome and that folks are there happy to see you is not something you can hold onto and weigh. It’s just a feeling. And sometimes feelings are good but sometimes even the familiar doesn’t feel good.

If you don’t experience that surge of warmth when you arrive at a family holiday gathering, then you’re just in a room full of people.

Life in NYC already forces us all to deal with lots of people.

So I’m not jumping up and down with delight at the thought of just being around some people who are going to look me up and down pick me apart and talk about me when I leave.

Or what’s more likely to happen is while I am there they will retreat into a corner and talk about me.

Either way I don’t like it.

It’s intimidating enough to be a human out here humaning. I don’t want to answer any questions about my life or my choices. It’s enough to think about, I don’t really want to feel forced to discuss it.

So what I do to battle the holiday blues is on major holidays I stay home and I make dinner. And I invite the loved ones who want to be there.

I invite those who are warm and loving and can refrain from expressing every judgemental thought or feeling of disdain. The holidays are still rough. There is still going to be that aftermath to deal with. Staying home doesn’t necessarily guarantee a disaster free time.

It just makes things a little bit easier for me.

How about you? Are you looking forward to your holiday gatherings with your families? Friends? What about co-worker and colleague gatherings like company hosted holiday parties?

Let me know in the comments!

Until the next time, Shuba.

Ilea Eckhardt

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  1. Claire Boyd

    I can definitely relate to this. I think it is important to protect your feelings even if it means you don’t engage with everyone in the way they expect you to. Why put yourself in an uncomfortable position to please others? I don’t think it’s healthy. Thanks for posting-I think a lot of people would be too scared to say what you have above.

    • Shuba Ilea

      I am happy you found this relatable. Often we get so busy with life and we get distracted and forget that part of loving self care is standing up for ourselves and protecting our feelings. Thanks for reading 🙂


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