So, you are grieving and thinking about skipping the holidays altogether. Let me assure you, you wouldn’t be the first and you won’t be the last. When you are struggling with grief the prospect of dealing with holidays can feel impossible. The rituals, the traditions, the shopping, the cooking, the music, the decorations, the cards, the family, the parties . . . I am starting to feel a bit ill just thinking about it. No surprise there are moments when the best option feels like skipping the holidays completely. We have said it before and we will say it again: we totally support that plan. That said, we thing there are some requisite considerations everyone skipping the holidays should consider, with visual support from Mean Girls.
It’s Okay to Skip the Holidays
Really, it is. Let’s say it together: it is okay to skip the holidays. Now, there are some other things you should consider (don’t worry, we’re getting to those) but assuming you have really thought it through it is absolutely okay to take a break from the holidays this year. That said, there will inevitably be some people who will make you feel like crap about your decision. You may need to remind yourself again and again (and again and again) that it is absolutely okay to take a break from the holidays. No matter how many people try to shame you into coming to the holiday party or having everyone over for Christmas dinner just like you always have, remember your own needs and stay strong!
Skipping This Year Doesn’t Mean Skipping Them Forever
I am not sure if you’ve noticed but, for better or worse, the holidays roll around every year. Making a decision about this year has no bearing on whether you celebrate next year. If this has been a particularly rough year you may realize you just can’t handle the holidays. You need a break, at least this year. Next year you may feel totally differently and that is absolutely okay.
Are You Skipping The Holidays for the Right Reasons?
Figuring this out can be tough. The important thing to consider is whether it is you who wants to skip the holiday, or is there pressure from external factors? We all grieve differently, so it can be tough when some people want to have a traditional holiday and others do not. Do your best to sort out your own wants, while giving yourself time to stew on the decision. In one emotional moment it can be easy to throw in the towel and decide to skip the holiday, but it is important to give yourself time to assess and reassess whether that is the right decision for you. It is also important to make sure that giving yourself a break from the holidays isn’t straight up avoidance. You are going to have to face these holidays every year and there can be a big difference between ‘I just need a break this year’ and ‘I am absolutely never willing to leave my home in the month of December ever again’.
You Might be REALLY Glad You Skipped the Holiday
Sometimes skipping a holiday is a huge relief and it is just what you need. If this happens, that is great. Try to embrace that you did what was best for you and don’t let yourself feel guilt imposed by others. You assessed your needs, you took action (even when it was tough), and it worked for you. Own it!
You Might be REALLY Unhappy You Skipped the Holiday
Sometimes skipping the holiday backfires. Maybe you decide to fly to the tropics and lay on the beach, maybe you decide to hole up in your bed and watch movies all day. Whatever you do, sometimes you end up feeling even worse than you think you would have otherwise. Sometimes skipping the holidays sounds a lot better than it actually is. If you skip the holiday and realize it might not have been the best decision, cut yourself a break. You can always do it again next year! You were trying to take care of yourself and, unfortunately, we don’t always know what is best for us. We do the best we can in the moment and, when we make the wrong choice, we just do it better next time.
Decide What You Will Do
It is easy to decide what you won’t do for the holidays. It can be far more difficult to decide what you will do instead. When everyone else is planning for their standard holiday cheer, it is important that
you consider in advance your plan for the day. There is no right or wrong for your not-holiday. Do whatever you want, no judgement. But don’t let the day creep up on you without a plan. For some inspiration in planning to skip a holiday you can check out my post on how I make actual plans to sulk for Father’s Day. It is just as crazy as it sounds, but whatever works, right?
When You Just Can’t Skip the Holidays
As much as we support self-care, taking breaks and tending to your own needs, the reality is that sometimes you will have to suck it up and get through the holidays for other people. If that is the case, we do have some tips. Check out this post on getting through the holidays for the kids and check out this index of all our holiday posts!
Skipped the holidays and it was great? Skipped the holidays and it sucked? Planning to skip the holidays this year? Leave a comment to keep the conversation going!