When I tell people that I'm not much of a holiday person, I usually get that "What's wrong with you?" look by everyone else who decorates their house in wintery kitsch and spends that time from Thanksgiving all through December amidst the throngs of deal-crazed shoppers.
I'm not going to bore you with the personal details, but for years, the season to be merry has been the season for depression to kick me in the teeth.
Anyway, depending on the year, things are better or worse. This year is one of the better ones. It's my first holiday season in a happily married couple, in our own house, and both my lovely wife and I have pretty much decided that the best kinds of holidays are those spent with the family you choose and by being our utterly ridiculous, nerdy selves, which has been a lot of fun and has eradicated a lot of the scary expectations that made me loathe the holiday season in years past.
Since I know of many who are having a similarly difficult time during the holidays, I thought about sharing some of my thoughts and coping mechanisms to squish the Holiday Depression in the dirt. Maybe some of these ideas work for you, too. Maybe they make you giggle and shake your head at my ridiculousness, but here they are:
- Spend quality time with people you want to hang out with instead of those you feel you have to be around.This might sound overly simplified and yes, it might cause some hurt feelings, but honestly, what point is there to spend time with people at the holidays just of the sake of the holidays? There is such a thing as a family you choose and it's okay to acknowledge that. There are so many who can't spend the holidays with their families, because they live far away, because they don't accept them, and for many other reasons. Those situations are what things like Friendsgivigng or holiday parties with those you actually like come in and those parties can be the best thing ever, because you can be among people who love you for exactly who you are. I also really love that there are more and more open holiday dinners for LGBT youth or anyone else who doesn't have a place to go during the holidays. It's people like that that restore my faith in humanity.
- Be good to yourself. Especially if no one else is.There is absolutely nothing wrong with spoiling yourself in the holidays. Don't be ashamed of doing something nice just for and by yourself. Not feeling guilty about treating yourself, like going to the movies by yourself, can be hard, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.
- Distract yourself.If all else fails, there is always distraction. Hole up with a good book, play a video game, go for a walk. Whatever takes your mind off of things and makes you feel good about life- now is the time to do it and keep your brain busy. I have totally spent entire holidays before holed up in my reading nook pretending that it was just any other day and honestly it was a pretty good way of spending my time. No regrets here.
- Be ridiculous. Find the happy in the small things.This year we've fully embraced the Nerdy Holiday season. Nerdy ornaments and decorations, nerdy PJs, and Krampus sweaters are the way to go to keep things fun and lighthearted. Do something totally crazy Break with tradition or even better, create your own. We have honestly considered doing a Harry Potter Christmas at Wizarding World, but sadly our bank accounts have had an expensive year, so that's a plan for holidays of the future, but one day it's going to happen. Meanwhile I am typing this in my Grinch PJ pants with a mug of tea in hand and instead of Christmas movies, I'm rewatching all of Sherlock, because I hate Christmas movies, and must rewatch all of this in preparation for The Abominable Bride (so excited!!).
- And finally, fuck everybody else's expectations.No other way to put it, sorry, but take the holidays on your own terms or not at all. Try out something new. Maybe meet someone new. Or do nothing at all. Honestly, my plan for this year involves much nerdiness and all of the Doctor Who Christmas specials, because that's the only way I can take Christmas TV, but if that's not your thing, pick something that works for you and be utterly unapologetic about it.
Obviously, my list is merely what works for me. Honestly, having my lovely wife around and being around friends who love us for exactly who we are helps a lot and for the first time in many years, I'm actually kind of excited about the quiet and chance to hole up at home that the holidays bring.
What helps you to take the edge of the holiday doldrums? Please feel free to share in the comments.