Why Christmas is stressful and how to deal with it

Christmas Eve here and makes me think of all the different traditions in different countries. Even within a country, there are so many different customs!

Christmas is all about family…or is it?

I have a bittersweet feeling about this time of the year. See, I like the idea of Christmas. I would anticipate up to the day, feel excited about spending the evening with the whole family and have a good time…only for the whole ordeal to be extremely stressful.

Christmas: not as perfect as portrayed on social media

 Seeing so many Instagram photos from people who are so happy to go home for Christmas made me feel even worse. Is something wrong with me? Am I the only person that doesn’t actually #LOVECHRISTMAS? That feels this time of the year is more stressful than blissful? I can’t be the only one dreading the Christmas Eve small-talk at dinner, can I? 

So I did what I always do when I want to know something: I researched. Buzzfeed alone has two articles on how to get deal with Christmas stress! And other bloggers also spoke out about this issue. To me, it was always hard to talk about it, in part due to me being scared to do so. I was accused a few years ago about talking crap about my family on here. It wasn’t true, yet it still stopped me from writing about my feelings and opinions.

Don’t let poor excuses stop you from being yourself

There’s a saying in Portuguese, roughly translated to having fame without the benefit. I know this person keeps talking crap and spreading rumors about me and what I write. I’ve spoken to others in my family about this and always get the same excuses: that the person is “old” or “resentful” or “has poor health”. But they are all poor excuses. Why should I keep excusing someone’s vile and evil behavior, based on their age or health? If it were someone else coming to me with this problem, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell them to confront said person! So why am I letting someone who clearly does not care about me, dictate how I feel and act?

Stand up for yourself and your beliefs!

I was never allowed to speak my mind – unless it was the same as my family’s. Whenever I tried to say something my parents deemed wasn’t “appropriate”, I would get my mother’s elbow on my ribs or my leg squeezed. And it was hurtful, not being able to speak my mind! I once tried asking her to stop doing it, receiving the answer that she was “protecting me”. Even though I asked her multiple times to stop, she still to this day tells me why I should “ignore” certain behaviors/comments and/or “let it go”. While I do love my mother, I also think she is wrong. And it took me a very long time to understand that just because you love someone, that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them or they can’t be wrong.

Some fights are worth fighting, some are not. What I am trying to get to is: if during Christmas Dinner someone says something hurtful, offensive or plain rude to you – stand up to yourself. That doesn’t mean starting a fight, but telling that person you don’t feel the same way or don’t share their opinion. You don’t need to get into a discussion about it. It is totally ok to simply say “I don’t want to talk about this any further with you” or say “That was really offensive and I ask you to please not repeat it”. And if they want to start a fight or feel offended (like my family would), simply tell them you want to enjoy their company and have a nice family time.

It is important for us to speak our minds! If we don’t, things will stay inside of us and create a hole filled with issues that we’ll have to eventually deal with. Christmas time is family time. But that doesn’t mean you should accept being disrespected by those who are supposed to love you unconditionally.

And with this, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with as little stress as possible!

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