There’s already enough stress around the holidays (Did you budget enough for gifts? How will you fit in all those parties?) without throwing in some of the things that are sure to hit your anti-holiday buttons. Below are four common holiday hazards, and what you can do when you encounter them.
1. You get a gift you really don’t like.
You might not like what we’re going to say initially, but it’s just polite (no matter how much you abhor a gift), to smile and thank the gift giver generously. With a few exceptions, most people really do try to imagine what they think the gift getter would like, and the thought really does count when it comes to gifting. As much as you don’t like a gift, try to figure out some way to use it in your life, so that it doesn’t just go to waste, because it really isn’t nice to return a gift that someone put thought into giving you. And look at it this way — at least now you’ll be prepared if you receive a similarly unanticipated gift from the same person next year.
2. Cousin Clara is coming this year, and you haven’t spoken in years.
Family get-togethers can be tough, especially when, for whatever reason, you’ve been warring with family members. If you can, try to initiative contact with the estranged family member before you’re all sitting around the dinner table together, so that you can try to work through whatever unpleasantness there is, or at least agree to disagree, so you don’t make everyone else uncomfortable.
3. You’re a vegetarian, and your family really loves meat-centered meals at this time of year.
The main answer here is simple — volunteer to make some of your own delicious, vegetarian-inspired meals to share with everyone. The tricky part comes when people start to question you about your motives for not eating meat, or joke around about it when you take it really seriously. Try to laugh it off as much as possible, and just say something like, “Hey, don’t knock it until you try it!”
4. Everyone around you is coupled up, and you’re single.
The holidays can be really hard on single people when everyone around them seems to be happy and in love. The good part about the holidays, however, is that it’s chock-full of opportunities to hang out with some of your best friends and family, as well. Try to keep your schedule so busy that you won’t even have time to notice that there’s not a significant other at your side, and plan plenty of get-togethers with the other singles in your life (there are bound to be plenty).
As most of us know, the holidays are filled with fun, laughter … and stress. Just being aware of some of the potential pitfalls, so you can be prepared, will help you make it through the season with a smile on your face.