Christmas Eve this year is a hard one for me. This will be the second year I have missed Christmas Eve with my family. The first year that the only reason is my health and my vehicle. This year we all live farther from each other than we ever have before. This year with my unreliable beater car it just isn’t the best idea to be driving so far. When I have just as far a drive home and back again in the morning. You are not obligated.
Do I feel terrible? Hell yeah, I would love to see my family this holiday season. As much as possible, but I also have to think about myself. And that’s okay, it is not selfish. Even if you feel that way, or your friends and family say that it is, it isn’t. Anyone, and I mean anyone even family. Asking you to ruin your only mode of transportation to and from work to make a living, to ruin your finances. To cause health problems so that they can see you or get the presents they want is selfish on their part. If you and your family want to see each other Christmas and Christmas Eve is not the only time.
You are not obligated to make an appearance at family functions or to hold one in its place. In a world of consumerism. How it has taken over in place of every Holiday this is the year. I realize it is just not worth it. If family wants to see me as much as I want to see them. We can meet halfway, we can plan a coffee date or skype.
You are not obligated to buy family presents you can’t afford.
You are not obligated to drive in weather or a vehicle you are not comfortable in.
You are not obligated to go without a present or whatever you can afford. To sit and feel guilty while people politely smile when they open it and move on.
You are not obligated to hug relatives you don’t feel comfortable with. Or people you don’t know, or anyone this holiday season. Your kids are also not obligated to be touched or touch anyone they are not comfortable with. A smile or kind greeting is enough.
You are not obligated to put your health on the back burner and plan recovery days for the rest of the holidays or risk taking sick days you don’t have to see family.
You are not obligated to explain your illness or anything to anyone.
You are not obligated. In anyway. To anyone.
You are allowed to take the time you need away from family.
You are allowed to spend the holidays with your significant other or just your kids and no one else.
You are allowed to keep your savings safe and untouched this holiday season because no one needs to put you in debt for something they want.
You are allowed to cancel.
You are allowed to change traditions.
You are allowed to have a present free Christmas.
You are allowed to say no.
It may not mean much, but this is me giving the permission that you (and I) feel we need to do these things this year. To say no, to worry about ourselves and to know that we love our family even if we don’t show it the way they want us to. Because this year it’s Christmas Eve, next year might be Christmas. I can’t afford it anymore and I want my family to understand, but even if they don’t, I’ll remind myself I am not obligated, it is not selfish, it is safe, it is kind, it is self care and responsible, it is personal.