In December, it's easy to get swept up in the festive atmosphere with the twinkling lights, excessive decorations, sugary treats, gift giving, and cheesy traditions. However, maybe you are in a different place in your life and are trying not to get swept up in all the holiday comparisons. Seeing all the matching family pjs, pictures of happy families on holiday trips, and of course extravagant gifts; it can be overwhelming. It seems like everyone else is indulging in holiday festivities while you're striving to focus on what’s important to you in life at this moment. Here's a reminder that it's okay not to conform to the societal norm of holiday celebrations. Instead, focus on your path and craft your own version of this holiday season.
The Pressure of Traditional Celebrations
The holiday season is often associated with a sense of pressure, both societal and self-imposed. We're bombarded with images of 'perfect' holiday celebrations, complete with beautifully decorated homes, lavish parties, and an abundance of gifts. It's easy to feel as though we're falling short if our own experiences don't match up to these expectations. Yet, what is portrayed online or in videos is not a reflection of reality. Everyone has their own unique circumstances and ways of celebrating that may not involve expensive gifts or elaborate decorations.
The Mental Dangers of Holiday Expectations
Trying to keep up with what you see on social media, in the movies, or even what your friends are doing with their families can take a toll on one's mental health. The holiday season, while often portrayed as a time of joy and togetherness, can also bring about stress and feelings of inadequacy. In fact, constant comparisons and unmet expectations can lead to seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and can impact your mental health significantly. The pressure to be merry and festive can exacerbate feelings of sadness or loneliness. If you find yourself sliding into seasonal depression, remember that it's okay to seek help. Reach out to a mental health professional, talk to someone you trust about your feelings, and practice self-care. Remember it’s in your best interest to create an authentic holiday for yourself rather than trying to emulate what others are pushing as the best holiday celebration.
Crafting Your Unique Celebration
Your holiday celebration should reflect your values and lifestyle. If you're on a journey towards minimalism, consider a low-key celebration with fewer decorations and thoughtful, meaningful gifts. If you're focusing on your health, opt for healthier holiday recipes and incorporate physical activities into your celebration. You could go for a holiday hike or organize a family game of football. If you are not really a people person or are solo this year; maybe spend the holidays working on a passion project, going on a solo trip, or simply taking the time to rest and rejuvenate. If you're financially conscious, remember that the holiday season doesn't have to make you go into debt. Handmade gifts, home-cooked meals, and quality time spent with loved ones can be just as rewarding than costly presents and extravagant parties.
Choosing to celebrate the holidays in a way that aligns with your personal goals and values may make you feel nonconventional, and that's okay. Embrace it! The beauty of life lies in its diversity, and the same applies to holiday celebrations. Your version of a meaningful holiday season might look different from others, but it is no less valid or special. Give yourself permission to celebrate in a way that serves you best. Remember, it's not about keeping up with societal expectations or comparing yourself to others which can impact your mental health. It's about making memories, embracing joy, and staying true to your path. So, craft your own version of the holiday season, one that reflects your values, respects your journey, and fills your heart with genuine happiness!