Anyone who comes from a toxic family can understand where I’m coming from here. Holiday gatherings were usually full of dread, and not just because you have to answer a million questions from your Aunt Edna, but because when toxic family gets together, it gets so much worse.
In this post I’m going to go over a brief summary of how Christmas was growing up, and what I’m doing this year that I’m celebrating the holiday without visiting family for the first time. Keep reading if you want to take this journey with me.
Updated: 12/26/2019 (update is at the bottom)
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Spending Christmas Alone When You Don’t Like Christmas
Way Back When…
Back when I was younger, I always knew there had to be a reason I really didn’t like visiting family, but it wasn’t until I was much, much older that I realized why.
No one really liked each other and when my grandmother was still alive, she was the only thread keeping everything together.We would go to her house to open presents but everything seemed to switch focus to my aunt’s children as they were younger. I always felt left out because it’s a lot easier to get kids a lot more presents that are cheaper and apparently once you hit 12, no one knows what to get you and you just get gift cards.
Once she passed in 2007, holidays fell to being at my aunt’s house. I usually left that event feeling so incredibly drained from the chaos and immense amount of social interaction.
However, my mother’s side of the family are children of a narcissist. When you have children in that kind of household, they can come out as narcs themselves, enablers, or somehow managed to escape relatively unharmed. This is how the toxic family mentality is handed down generation to generation.
So of that toxicity is still running in my family. Sometimes you need to set boundaries for your own mental health, and sometimes skipping family gatherings is the outcome of that.
Because Christmas and any other holiday became a silent one-upping contest between family, the bitterness of just being handed gift cards year after year, and just the toxic situation of it, Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. It’s actually, probably my least favorite.
I have the luxury of working on Christmas Eve. I know that probably sounds sarcastic, but it really isn’t. Going to work gets me out of the house, it gives me some social interaction (I don’t think I’ll be alone this year!), and most importantly of all, it gives me two monitors to work off of.
But besides going to work, I will most likely take the day to relax. Even if I have to go in for about half the day, I’ll be getting out around 1-2PM. I can use the rest of this time to tidy up my apartment and maybe even bake some cookies!
Unfortunately I won’t have any presents to unwrap, but that’s because I bought all of my gifts myself during Black Friday or before that. I will, however, continue the tradition I have had of ordering Chinese take out and watching movies with a warm drink. Maybe I’ll splurge on some fancy teas!
I started this tradition a few years ago because while I always went to visit family for the holiday season, it was never actually on Christmas unless that fell on a weekend. I usually took the weekend before Christmas to visit so I had the actual day to myself. One year I didn’t want to cook and found the only restaurant in my area that was open was a Chinese place.
I’m also trying to warm up to the idea of Christmas because if I ever get married or even have children, Christmas will most likely be a big thing. I can’t be a scrooge forever.
I haven’t decided on any movies to watch, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments! They don’t even have to be Christmas related. In fact, I’d probably prefer non-Christmas movies over Christmas-y ones.
- toxic families lead to toxic situations
- sometimes setting boundaries means skipping out on family holidays
- I’ll be working Christmas Eve and that’s not a bad thing.
- I’m ordering Chinese take out and watching movies on Christmas Day
Well, I spent my Christmas playing video games, watching a YouTube series, and eating Chinese food and chocolate chip cookies.
Unfortunately family kind of tried to get in the way again. The family member I tried to set boundaries with tried to pretend to want to reconcile, but still isn’t listening to the boundaries I’ve set. The only reason I’m skeptical about this is because a different family member seems to be blaming them for my not coming to visit this year. Something I dealt with a lot as a child is apologizing to people just because they were mad, not because I actually did anything wrong.
I tried to move past the drama and just enjoy the day for what it was.
Do you have any non-conventional Christmas traditions? Are you spending this holiday season away from toxic family as well? Let me know in the comments below
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