You are allowed to wish you had someone to kiss beneath the mistletoe. You are allowed to feel awkward when your aunts ask you about your love life and when your grandmother calls you a heartbreaker even though you haven’t been on a real date in over a year. You are allowed to be jealous of the cousins celebrating with engagement rings on their fingers and babies at their hips. You are allowed to check your phone every few minutes to see if your crush has answered your Merry Christmas message. You are allowed to feel lonely, even though you are surrounded by people who care about you.
You are allowed to spend the holidays missing the people who are no longer in this world, whether they passed away months ago or decades ago. You are allowed to wish Christmas felt more like it did back when you were a kid. You are allowed to think back to the times when the dinner table was more crowded, when the conversations were livelier, when your family actually felt like a family. You are allowed to be upset over the holidays. You are allowed to acknowledge the fact things have changed.
You are allowed to get frustrated when your family makes you feel like there is something wrong with you. You are allowed to get annoyed with ‘jokey’ remarks about how quiet you are or how you never come out of your room because you are always on the computer. You are allowed to sit in the corner of the room with your phone, ignoring problematic conversations from your family while texting the friends who actually understand you and respect you.
You are allowed to have a shitty Christmas. You are allowed to count down the hours until the holidays are over. Do not feel like there is something wrong with you for being unhappy on the ‘happiest day of the year.’ You are allowed to have a bad day. You are allowed to get annoyed with your family. You are allowed to feel differently than the couples on Instagram posting pictures about how thankful they are and how they have never been happier.
Of course, even if you are forced to see family members you would rather live without, even if you are not in the mood to fake smiles and laughs, even if you do not have enough money to hand presents to everyone you love, you should try to make the most of the holidays. Try to have fun. Try to make it a good day. Focus on the positives. The dinner. The desserts. The time away from work. The conversations with family members you are actually excited to see.
Make the most of this Christmas — but do not stress if the day does not go according to plan, if you feel anxious and depressed, if you cannot get yourself into the holiday spirit. It is only one day. You have a whole new year ahead of you. You have 365 chances at happiness.