For some of us, we spend more time with our families during the last month of the year than we do the rest of it put together. And whether you love or loathe the festive season, leaving behind the sanctuary of your own space to head back to the parental home can take its toll. But, as someone who lives with her parents year round (yes, feel sorry for me), I ‘ve picked up a few tips on how to survive going home for Christmas.
1. Communicate your boundaries
Even when it’s reaaally uncomfortable. Whether this means politely asking someone to respect your pronouns, refusing a kiss from that one creepy Uncle or opting to stay sober over your stuffing and cranberry – it’s best just to be honest. Not everyone is going to get it (especially the ignorant, *ahem* older ones) but remind yourself that this is their problem, not yours. If you’ve told them once and they refuse to at least try and understand, then you don’t have to put up with it. A good tip is to try and communicate these boundaries before you arrive to save on the akward, or to ask some more cooperative family members to stick up for you.
2. Remember: In one ear, out the other
Okay, so heading home for Christmas generally breeds two certainties. One: you’re going to have to account for everything that’s happened in your life over the last year, from work to relationships and everything in between. And two: you will have to listen to some really boring, patronising and crappy advice from at least one grandma who thinks she knows everything. But crucially: you do not have to take any notice of it. Smile politely and say things like “That’s a good point, I’ll think about it,” whilst inwardly pulling out her false teeth and throwing them across the room. You know these people don’t have the first clue about your life, so you definitely know that their opinions don’t particularly matter. They’re old, humour them.
3. Think carefully about why you’re bothering
If you’re reading up on survival tips for Christmas with the ‘rents, then chances are you’re dreading it. It’s important to remember that if you really can’t face it then you are not obliged to. But – if you’re gritting your teeth and going for it, there will be a reason why. Maybe it’s your Grandpa who you actually like, or your old high school friends. Whatever it is, try to focus on that. And, who knows, you might actually end up enjoying yourself.
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