Dear one,
I know what you’re going through, because I am going through it. This time of year is a tough trip that’s not easily explained to those without the same passport stamps on their lives. Take a minute and breathe. Just stop whatever you’re doing, shake out your arms, relax your neck and shoulders, and breathe.

  1. You don’t have to decorate. If you do, take time to acknowledge your efforts, especially if it’s new to you.
  2. You don’t have to send cards. If you decide to, the cheap box you bought on clearance last year is perfectly fine.
  3. You don’t have to like holiday music. If you need a break, turn on a playlist of your favorite feel-good songs and just dance it out.
  4. You don’t have to give gifts. If you do, go for meaning over a dollar amount, and don’t spend what you don’t have.
  5. You don’t have to be a Pinterest star at wrapping gifts. Gift bags exist for a reason, and they’re perfectly wonderful.
  6. You don’t have to be ok all the time. It’s normal to feel awkward and uncomfortable at this time of year, especially if your history with the holiday is a challenging one.
  7. You don’t have to say yes. You are under no obligation to be the perfect guest at someone else’s holiday event if doing so will make you feel more awkward or uncomfortable.
  8. You don’t have to do it. If participating in any part of the holiday makes you feel bad, don’t.
  9. Microwave pizza rolls and M*A*S*H reruns are a perfectly acceptable holiday tradition.

Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.