Here's Why the Holidays Can Be a Tough Time for Me

You can't deny the magic in the air around this time of year, but that doesn't mean it's filled with holiday cheer for everyone–especially those with strained family relationships.


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My parents got divorced when I was about 10 years old (the same year I found out Santa Claus wasn't real), so the holidays sort of lost their luster for me then. My favorite part of the holidays has always been the tradition—baking cookies and getting our decorations up Thanksgiving weekend, a long lazy day of opening presents in pajamas with my family, and the Christmas Day feast my mom and dad would prepare while my sister and I finished up our yearly holiday puzzle. All of those traditions seemed to just wash away, and although my parents tried to each replicate the traditions of yesteryears, it just didn't feel the same… for years.

Flash forward a decade or two and I do love the holidays again, but they come with a different set of challenges. Over the years, my mother and I grew distant. We see the world in very different ways and have contrasting beliefs that always seem to get magnified in intimate family gatherings that take place during the holidays. I know we both go in with the best intentions, but ultimately sometimes people just don't click—even if you're related to them.

I speak for both of us when I say we go into Thanksgiving and Christmas really wanting the day to go well, but then somehow, our opinions get in the way and we end up fighting—or worse, someone's crying. And what makes me personally feel the worst of all is the uneasy climate we create for the rest of our family and loved ones. It's not just our holiday we ruin, we ruin their experience as well. We've tried for years to get along, and sometimes we do, albeit briefly. It's one of those things that's easier said than done, which is why, for me, the holidays now come with their fair share of anxiety and uneasiness.

But what I've learned as an adult is that you don't need to force relationships that don't work. My mother now lives in a different state, which means paying for airfare and traveling to see her, which is something I simply choose not to do anymore. I do get sad, specifically at this time of year, because who wouldn't want to have a great relationship with their mom? It's definitely something I've never had that I've always wanted, and I envy other people who do have that. But I remind myself that I'm lucky in so many other ways—I have many amazing relationships in my life that I'm so grateful for.

So, if you struggle to get along with a parent, know you're not alone. Do your best to be kind, but don't sacrifice what you believe in to make anyone else comfortable. And when the time comes, you'll ultimately have the power to keep or release those who no longer serve you.


Speaking of arguments, HERE's why not having to always win will take you farther in life.