By this time already, my family and I would know exactly what the holiday plans are and how the two-week break would be split up between my divorced parents. My room would be decorated, and I would have every Christmas present for all of my family and friends neatly lined up on the table next to my desk. I would also, most likely, be in the holiday time final preparation mood—a mixture of stress and busyness.
A couple of years ago around this time I had it all planned out: I would study for my finals, pass my finals (hopefully), help my mom decorate the tree, bake some cookies with friends and then spend a week with my dad and then my mom. This year, I’m sitting on my couch writing this and my room isn’t decorated. My friend group isn’t coming over and baking with me, and I’m certainly not seeing my dad since he’s a high-risk for COVID-19.
Things have changed over the past year. With everything going on, it’s easy to forget the spirit of the season. I’m more overwhelmed than ever, and not just because I’m a senior and have a lot going on. Though, there is that.
Today in choir class we watched a recording of the Rockettes Christmas show in New York City from a couple of years ago. In that moment, watching the dancers and the lights, all of my attention came to the screen, and I realized something. It’s the holiday season, and I need to slow down for a little bit.
It’s okay to have a low-key holiday this year. Take a break from everything going on, whether that be the election, pandemic, or school. It’s important to understand this year will bring a lot of uncertainty and it’s okay to feel that way. If you feel unusually stressed about the holidays, but especially this year, your mental health should be your first priority. This could mean ditching certain stressful holiday activities this year and just relaxing instead.
The holiday season doesn’t have to imply extreme planning and stressful gift-giving. It could simply mean spending some time alone or with close family (safely, of course), creating memories. I know, for me personally, I usually spend the holiday break days listening to holiday music and looking forward to a special dinner my family was planning. If you feel like you want to go all out, go for it. But if you feel like staying in and just enjoying the time off, remember that that’s okay too.
And I encourage you to take a break from the books. For just a few days. Make sure to prioritize yourself. Remember the joyfulness of the holiday season. Take a bath, light a Bath and Body Works peppermint candle and relax. You made it through 2020!
The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Ally Horwitz at [email protected]
To read an opposing column by Maddie Kosc about going all out to spend time with family over the holidays, click here.