I used to enjoy the holiday season, with my young kids, and when my parents were alive. Thanksgiving was a favorite for me because it was my mother’s favorite holiday. However, since they are gone the last few years, and the kids are grown, the holidays have become a major drag. Since I have no family of my own to spend them with, it is all my wife’s family. It’s not that we don’t get along - we are just indifferent. Family gatherings are generally forced, and no one does a lot of talking - it’s so uncomfortable. It seems the get-togethers around the holidays are more out of obligation than desire. At work there are a host of activities. I used to enjoy them, with the interactions with colleagues outside the office. However, like with family gatherings, these also hold little interest for me now. I much prefer solitude, or the company of close friends that I trust.
I feel like I cannot avoid every event, much as I would like to. My main problem is I have become somewhat an introvert since my parents died, avoiding most social situations. Hanging-out for the day with my wife’s family who I see once or twice a year, or with co-workers at a holiday party, make me want to run away. I just cannot do the small-talk any more, and the thought of participating in these activities is making me feel stressed already! Especially if I am forced (which is usually the case).
Online, there are articles dealing with holiday stress management, but they seem to focus on people who may be lonely, or biting-off too many responsibilities, spend too much, etc. I assure that being lonely is not my complaint, and I am not one for piling-on additional holiday tasks (I just kinda do the minimum). I do not look forward to the holidays at all, other than getting some extra time off from work.
So, if you know the approach of the holidays will add some stress to your life, how do you handle it? I am interested in introverts, but welcome any advice.