In just a few weeks, my partner and I will pack up our car and begin our annual road trip south for the holidays. It has become our tradition and something that I just couldn’t imagine not doing. But when I tell people that we are doing this, the very first question I get asked is, “oh are you going to go visit family?”. Well, let me just preface this by saying, my partner and I are a family. For us, Christmas isn’t a time for visiting our family. It is a time for us. We go down there because we love it, it gives us a chance to relax, do whatever we want without any obligations and simply to have just a total and complete reset.
It’s funny though the looks you get from friends and acquaintances who just cannot imagine ever not spending the holidays with their family. It is almost a moral obligation. We are outsiders, again, straying from the norm. Here’s a familiar term within my blog, I am once again an outlier in the way I do things. Just because you have always spent time with your family does not mean that you have to continue to do that.
In my immediate family, the holidays were about obligation, and stress. It was about dividing time between families, and scheduling dinners, and basically pleasing everyone but myself. I was informed that I was only allowed to make my own holiday traditions once I had children of my own. Until then, I was on everybody else’s clock. And for a while, I was compliant. I spent my 20’s just driving from house to house, having quick little visits and then heading home craving that celebratory drink, thankful that I survived another year without tears or having huge blowouts with certain family members. Writing this, I honestly cannot believe I actually tolerated this way of spending the holidays for so long. Especially knowing what I know now. The holidays can actually be really fun, relaxing and completely drama and stress free if you choose to do it that way, and you better believe that I do.
I love many things about Christmas. I love watching movies, baking cookies, and drinking all the Christmas cheer I can get my hands on. I love getting dressed up for the parties, and wishing happy holidays to strangers on the street, and just the general joy that seems to be in the air. It has a sense of wonderment and magic that makes me so happy. But I also appreciate that I can do all those things completely obligation free when I am far away from those that have kept me locked in tradition for so long.
Last year, we had our entire campground to ourselves for Christmas and spent the morning drinking beer, taking sexy photos and just enjoying each other’s company and the sunshine. In the evening we got invited to a potluck for all the people who didn’t have family that year, and my goodness it was amazing! Everyone was so thankful to be there, that Christmas cheer was overflowing. There was absolutely zero dinner stress. There was no bickering, no drunk aunt that was going to say something offensive and possibly ruin the rest of the night. There was no secret sign between partners as to when the appropriate time to make your leave was going to be. There was absolutely zero, and I mean zero drama or even a hint of it.
That is how I choose to spend my holidays. That is how I want to celebrate this joyous time of year. That is why I have zero qualms about driving for nearly 30 hours at a time to arrive at this little peace of tranquil perfection. I firmly believe that the relationships in your life should enrich you in some way. We cannot choose our family, but we absolutely have a choice in how we spend our time, and with whom. Even if you feel the overwhelming obligation or guilt this year, try and remember to take a little time for yourself. Spend authentic time with those that are important to you this holiday. And perhaps you will be lucky enough to have the mindset spill over into the rest of the year.