Somewhere along the way, somebody decided that holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Chanukah were meant to be spent with blood relatives – with “family.” I think it’s an absolutely great idea if those are the people you would consider your “loved ones.” For many people, that’s the case. These people helped raise you. They helped you become the person you are today. Not only have these experiences with your family shaped you, they continue to have a positive impact on your life.
But a lot of people in families I just described seem to forget that they are lucky. Not everyone has families like them. Some people grow up in a horrid family. Others grow up and realize they have nothing in common with their family. And some eventually realize many members of their family don’t love them unconditionally. These people may not want to spend the holidays with people they’re connected to only by blood. It amazes me how we take the relatively few days we’re given to enjoy time with loved ones and spend that time with people we can’t stand.
We have a choice each holiday season. It’s the same choice we have in our lives that society seems to have forgotten somewhere along the way: We choose who we want to spend our time with. I like to spend the holidays with my loved ones. I just realize that my “loved ones” include my friends. In a lot of cases, they support and love me more than some of my blood relatives ever will. The holidays aren’t for playing pretend; they are for truly being surrounded by love.
This holiday season, remember you have a choice. You don’t have to suffer around people who don’t fully accept you or love you unconditionally. Instead, you can create your own tradition with the people who do appreciate you. All of you. And that’s what make the holidays happy.