Every year, I face the same holiday dilemma: mom’s holiday turkey vs. dinner with people I just met?
While I am the first to pack my bags and head to the nearest airport, anytime, anywhere, there are some worthy pros and cons to consider when it comes to deciding where you will have the merriest of times during the holidays.
- New perspective. One of the things I cherish most about travel is seeing the world through a different lens. The way we celebrate Christmas in the United States can be very different elsewhere. On Christmas morning in Caracas, Venezuela instead putting on boots to go walk through the snow, they don roller skates and head to the streets. In Germany, they hide a pickle somewhere amongst the branches of their Christmas trees. Whoever finds the pickle gets a present! The Finnish pay homage to their departed ancestors by stripping naked and taking a long reflective sauna.
- A change of pace. The holidays may be the perfect and only time that you can genuinely take a break from the stresses of your daily. There is a recent study proving that the effects of a vacation can last for weeks afterward, improving people’s mood and level of anxiety. Why? Because travel recharges your batteries, therefore lowering your stress.
- Strengthens Weak Bonds. The holidays can be a rough time for those on the rocky shores of a relationship. You find yourself around family and friends, who can pull your triggers and cause even further upset. While getting away to a neutral environment, just the two of you, gives the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time to talk out your differences as well as express what you appreciate about each other.
- An unhappy family. Your family may not be happy with you. There can be a lot of associated guilt by not going to see your mom and dad or spend time with your grown-up kids. Though only you can decide if your mental health, self-care outweighs the guilt.
- Stress of travel. Delayed planes, lost baggage. Depending on where you go, you may be with more people than you care to be around. All that can be not so fun. The suggestion is to choose a less crowded destination.
- Same old holiday routine. Doing the same thing year after year, eating the same food, exchanging gifts at the same time, having the same disagreements over who does what. Maybe it is time to mix it up.
My past holiday dilemma solutions
- Instead of visiting my family at Thanksgiving, I saw them for the Fourth of July.
- Instead of spending Christmas with my boyfriend’s family for the fifth year in a row, I went home to mine.
- Instead of spending New Year’s with anyone, I took myself to Bora Bora.
The real question in all of this is “what do you want your holidays to be about?” Family and friends? Exploring new horizons? Both? Or, maybe something entirely different. The choice is truly yours.