How To Enjoy The Holidays Around Toxic Family Members

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The holidays throughout November, December, and January are special for a lot of reasons to a lot of people.

With the lights, bells, and inevitable overload of Christmas music, this time of year carries a unique atmosphere and set of emotions. When you come from a toxic family though, those feelings are not always great.

Instead of feeling merry or bright, you’re overwhelmed with anxiety, stress, and more.

Birthdays and other celebrations are hard enough with toxic family members, but November and December end up being the worst two months out of the whole year.

Common symptoms of holiday depression include stress, tiredness, sadness, loss of interest in activities and feelings of isolation.

Not exactly like the Hallmark movies.

However, as painful as the holidays and accompanying emotions can be, there are alternatives that can pave the way for new traditions with actual loved ones — away from the toxicity of your family.

What Are Friends For

Karolina Grabowska / Pexels
Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Friend-focused holiday celebrations are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Think about it: You can always pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.

Furthermore, as an adult, we tend to spend way more time with our friends than our family, meaning our friends arguably know us way better than our relatives.

When you come from a toxic household, you can feel completely disconnected from your family, so instead of forcing yourself to be around them for the holidays, host a celebration with the people you actually care about and share a connection with.

Pick a date that works for everyone, even if it’s after the actual holiday, and start your own traditions. Whether it’s watching a classic Christmas movie together or hosting a Thanksgiving potluck, do whatever truly makes you feel that holiday joy.

If you’re ever stumped on what to try, remember there are always plenty of holidays ideas all over the internet — just take your pick.