Not home for the holidays

Monday, November 11, 2019 - 6:39pm

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Sam Beasley via Unsplash

It’s that time of year again: the period after Halloween and the beginning of November where individuals start playing holiday music like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” completely surpassing Thanksgiving. And although Thanksgiving is not something that everyone celebrates due to the literal unacknowledgement of a Native American genocide carried out by English settlers, it is a time where some students gear up to go home and spend time with their loved ones. Anticipating the home cooked meals is one of the best parts of the days leading up to Thanksgiving break; students book their plane or bus tickets months in advance to make sure that they are able to be home and get that much needed break. Unfortunately, some tend to forget that not everyone is able to go back to a family home and thus have to spend the holidays alone. 

 

Some do not want to go home to their families because the holidays may bring up bad memories, or they are not on good terms with their families. Surely we have seen the tweets where common scenarios play out during this time of year: There is an uncle that sits at the dinner table during Thanksgiving, says something homophobic and you have to sit there in silence to protect yourself because it can be dangerous to speak up. These scenarios actually happen, making some not want to go see their families over the holidays because they feel that their life could be in jeopardy if they do so because of the identities they hold. Normalizing the choice to not go home to avoid situations such as the one mentioned will make the Holidays much more enjoyable for everyone; still post pictures of your delicious plates on social media, but keep in mind that not everyone has this privilege. Furthermore, financial constraints can prevent students from traveling to see their loved ones.

 

It is okay to not want to go home for the holidays. It is not strange, but instead it is a choice one has to make when thinking about their security and mental health because the holidays are not enjoyable for everyone. Here are some things to remember when deciding if being home during this season is the best option for you: 

 

  1. It is your choice whether or not to spend the holidays with your family. 

  2. If you are able to choose an alternative place to spend time with your family, do so: Family situations can be complicated, and thus planning out different places to congregate can relieve some stress. 

  3. Be honest with your family about your presence during this time. If they are unable to accept that you are on the fence about coming home, consider the kind of relationship you would want to have with them in the future. 

  4. Don’t feel guilty for feeling the way you feel. It is valid, it is normal and if family members respond with disappointment about your absence, your decision is still valid.

  5. Make the decision, and be confident in it. Know that you did the right thing. 

  6. Start your own holiday tradition! Make it what you want it to be to make the holidays more enjoyable.