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Ask Abi: Home for the Holidays

Abi Hilden, staff writer

Hi Abi, 

I want to stay home during Christmas break but don’t know how to tell my family that I want to do that. I know they miss me so I don’t know how to tell them without feeling bad.

Sincerely,

Home For The Holidays

Dear Home For The Holidays,

For many college students, like yourself, spending winter break with your family can bring much more stress and unhappiness than relaxation. However, no matter what the reason for staying away from home for the holidays is, you are completely valid in your feelings!

There are many ways to approach this situation to avoid negative feelings from your family and guilt towards yourself. My first piece of advice is to make sure you are certain that this is the choice you want to make. If you are unsure about your decision, you may be more inclined to give in to family members who try to convince you to come home after all. Either choice is perfectly okay, you just have to be sure that the choice you make is what you truly want to do; if it’s not, you risk having an unhappy break.

Once you are secure in your decision, you need to tell your family sooner rather than later. The person hosting the gathering will most likely need to get a headcount in order to plan food, games, etc., so make sure you have the conversation with your family well in advance. That way it doesn’t seem like a last minute decision and it avoids ruffling some feathers.

When the conversation happens, make sure that you are honest and patient with your family members. As you explain the reasons why you don’t want to travel home, be sure that you are kind about it as this decision may be disappointing to those involved. They may have some less than ideal feelings about the situation and you need to allow for space for those feelings. Do keep in mind, however, that you are not responsible for how they feel. Sometimes, negative feelings are unavoidable and cause some tension for the time being. Just remember that you are making this decision for yourself!

Finally, you can always offer alternatives. With the pandemic, video calling has never been easier! While on a video call, you can play games, open presents, and even make crafts or bake cookies with a little coordination. There are plenty of ways to still celebrate the holidays with your loved ones from a distance.

I hope this advice was what you were looking for and that it helps make your winter break the best it can be. Always remember that you can do anything you set your mind to and that I believe in you!

Sincerely,

Abi