I disinvited myself from Christmas…It was fantastic

For years now I’ve wanted to forget about the holiday celebrations with my family and just stay home. Trying to pretend that seeing my family with their own little families and celebrate them for two days in a row has become dreary and painful. It’s all about their partners, their kids, their grandkids.

Plus, there’s all the driving.

All the driving to and from their houses, back and forth going farther and farther out of my way. Just like I do, All. Year. Long.

The holiday season has become something less than special to me when it comes to my family. There’s no going home to see relatives in a big festive feast of high cholesterol and boozy drinks. It’s just the same family that I always see throughout the year — at the same houses, where I work to make the small talk all about their lives. “How are you? How are your kids? How’s your work? Do the kids like school? What’s one your summer plans list?”

Go ahead, call me a horrible person. A bad daughter. An ungrateful white woman. I’m cool with those labels.

Sometimes you have to finally put yourself first.

Did I blame my absence on the fact that all the teachers I work with were coming down with COVID-19 and I couldn’t get tested? Sure. Did I actually feel sick and rundown? Yep. Was it because of my depression and lack of wanting to leave my couch; more than my fear of passing a deadly disease onto my family? Oh, 100%.

But this was a moment long coming, because each year I feel less and less joy hanging with the fam. I still love to decorate my own house, burn candles, play holiday playlists like “Have a Merry Inappropriate Christmas” and “El Gordo de Norte’s Christmas Special.” Yet…trucking my way to my see family who dictates when and where and why all the gatherings for the year will occur was just not on my hit list this year.

I tried early on to have something of mine for the holidays, my own little family gathering to start my own tradition in this season heavy on nostalgia and decades of family past times. It was squashed after only two years — deemed too much for everyone else to put on their calendars. The 30–45 minute drive to my apartment was just a hassle for them and their kids. Just come to our place, the same distance, over two days. But leave your dogs at home, we don’t have room.

I’m not stupid — if I had kids and a large house and a husband I’d have clout. Any clout. My life and schedule would matter.

I don’t have any of those things. I’m one of those elder millennials trying to get by in a world where we followed all the old rules and got left in the leaky lifeboat with a broken whistle to hail down the rescue ship and a dixie cup to bail the water.

So this year I took myself out of the whole mess at the last minute. I called out sick to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and spent it alone, with my dogs and cat. I sat on the couch and watched my favorite holiday movies and made my favorite type of pasta and ate in peace and quiet.

It was one of the best Christmas holidays I’ve had in a long time.

I can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Traveler, rebel, science nerd, educator, writer. I write what I want — Don’t box me in.

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Elizabeth M Schap

Elizabeth M Schap

Traveler, rebel, science nerd, educator, writer. I write what I want — Don’t box me in.

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