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Don't Feel Guilty If You Appreciate This Quiet Holiday Season

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The holiday season is a complicated time of year. It’s a season that can come with a lot of high expectations and all sorts of baggage.

This year, perhaps oddly enough, with all the COVID restrictions, the holidays may be a bit easier for some. If this is you, I’d like to suggest that you don’t need to feel guilty about it.

Let’s take a bit of time to think about some of the reasons you can choose to be guilt-free if you have welcomed the “COVID changes” of this season.

1. It will be less frantic.

Let’s face it, this is the year of “canceled.” And this has certainly carried over to the holidays as well. Perhaps most years you’d be attending all sorts of parties, events and concerts. Even if you are into that sort of thing, it can get tiring going from one event to the next.

If you are enjoying the less frantic nature of the 2020 holidays, that is OK! Don’t feel guilty about it! Put on some fuzzy socks and enjoy some free evenings. This may even be an opportunity to see what doing less is like for you, and if you like it, that will help you to prioritize in the future.

2. You can avoid “those” people.

Chances are if you are having any type of gathering, it will be with a lot fewer people — which may mean you won’t have to see that annoying cousin or nosy old neighbor. If you have family-related trauma, you may have all the more excuse to avoid the source this year.

If you take some small delight in avoiding certain people, you aren’t a bad person! This can be a great lesson in boundary setting, and it may help you plan to keep up certain boundaries in the future.

3. Take a break from tradition.

Usually, if something is a tradition, it’s because we enjoy doing it — but not always. For some folks, it’s quite common to dread certain activities or ceremonies, but they are done anyway — usually for the assumed benefit of others. Or for some, there’s just a feeling of “it must be done.”

This year a tradition may not be possible or could be considered unsafe. By avoiding it, you may learn that the world doesn’t come to an end if the whole family can’t make a gingerbread house, or whatever you usually do. Another neat thing might be the creation of a new tradition that wouldn’t have been thought of without these circumstances — something you actually enjoy!

4. You can save money.

Let’s face it, Christmas is expensive! It’s a very regular thing for folks to rack up quite the credit card bill. A bill that comes in January is a very high burden. Even if like myself, you don’t have much money to begin with, you always end up spending more than you planned.

COVID has already been hitting many of us hard financially, and because of that many of us do have a stricter budget. With canceled events and expectations this year, it’s going to be easier to keep spending under control. And hey, you shouldn’t feel bad if saving feels good.

It may be that this time of year has never been a problem for you. Depending on where you are in the world, there may be lower COVID numbers and things may not have significantly changed. And lastly for some, the spiritual aspects of the various winter holidays may be of high importance, and COVID has not taken anything away from the joy you get from your faith.

On the flip side, this time of year could be naturally hard for you. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, can’t afford to give your family the gifts you wish you could, or you are required to work through this busy season. COVID may not have brought any holiday improvements to you.

If you fall into any of these categories, or any mixture, you may not be dealing with some of the same emotions as other folks not in your circumstances — and that’s OK too.

One thing is for certain — this is going to be a different time for most, and these changes will bring on a wide variety of emotions. Some of which may even be positive! I’m here to suggest that guilt doesn’t need to be one of them.

If you’d like to follow along with my journey, you can find me on Instagram as @mentalhealthyxe.

Getty image by Adrian Vidal.

Originally published: December 23, 2020
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