Your Cart

How To Have A Holiday Season That Doesn’t Suck: A Helpful Guide

How To Have A Holiday Season That Doesn’t Suck: A Helpful Guide

How To Have A Holiday Season That Doesn’t Suck: A Helpful Guide

| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

How To Have A Holiday Season That Doesn’t Suck: A Helpful Guide

So, you’re on that wellness shit: you have a membership to at least one fitness boutique, own an overpriced meditation pillow, and can pronounce the hell out of “açai”. But you’ve also got the usual holiday dinner plans with the fam and a desire to ring in the new year somewhere more festive than your living room couch. Whatever holidays you participate in, ’tis the season for shopping, socializing, and having seconds at the dinner table. Personal growth and change are natural, positive aspects of life, but in a season so steeped in traditions it can be challenging to honor the person you’ve become while doing the same things you’ve always done. Just because you’ve got a brand new mindset doesn't mean you can’t still participate in favorite old traditions. This year, why not redefine what “holiday traditions” means for you so your green juice-sipping self isn’t stuck on the sidelines all season?

Though your fear of sounding like a grinch may stop you from saying it, the holidays can be a real bitch. Gift-giving, enforced family fun, and the pressure to enjoy oneself are just some of the stress sources that crop up this time of year. Maintaining your health around the holidays goes beyond watching what’s on your plate at Thanksgiving or keeping an eye on your drink count come New Year’s. With holiday-specific stress in the mix, we need to be as concerned about our mental and emotional wellbeing as we are about our physical health. We’ve written before about the wellthy response to stress, but in the context of this season the question is: what are some ways we can tackle old traditions with a new mindset?

Gift-Giving Help for the Conscious Consumer

Angry articles on the commodification of holidays be damned, gift-giving and receiving is generally considered a mainstay of this season. Growing up, you may have relished writing your Hanukkah or Christmas wish lists, but today it’s more likely the index of people you “have to” buy gifts for is lengthier than your personal want list. Not only can this tradition strain your finances, causing you stress in the process, but for those who prefer to consume with a conscience, shopping for others can pose a unique challenge. Personally, as a plant-based individual I find myself facing an unexpected ethical dilemma this time of year: While I want my dad to have his favorite fancy jerky (it’s a thing) and my best friend to land that cute leather bag she’s been eyeing, I don’t want to support these industries. At the same time, I don’t want to earn a reputation as that gift-giver, the one who presents all her loved ones with donations to PETA in their names regardless of personal beliefs and interests. Whether you’re a passionate supporter of the fair-trade movement, a dedicated vegan, or just don’t want to buy a bunch of harmful crap for your friends and family this year, consuming with your newfound consciousness is sure to shake up the traditional gift-giving process.

You don’t have to attempt to change anyone with not-so-subtle “educational” gifts (your family would likely consider your not trying a gift in itself), but you can seek out presents which would bring the recipient joy while also supporting their wellbeing. The foodie on your list may love some healthy yet decadent treats or eco-friendly cookware, and your current events-obsessed cousin could appreciate a best-seller on a hot topic like climate change or animal agriculture. Essential oil blends and attractive, enhancing crystals make great stocking stuffers for your favorite homebody, and an herbal, fair-trade tea sampler would please even the most loyal java-junkie you know. By approaching this tradition with the intention of supporting your loved ones’ health, you can present a gift that truly keeps on giving. (Remember to also grab a gift for yourself this year, the more indulgent the better— after all, self-care is an important part of wellness).

How To Have A Holiday Season That Doesn’t Suck: A Helpful Guide

Family Fun: Because Fun Is Always Best When It’s Mandatory

Grinch here, again! There’s a reason you’ll see so many holiday cards specifically wishing “peace to you and yours”: Hallmark knows family gatherings can be . . . challenging. Maybe you’re made to engage people you wouldn’t ordinarily choose to, or you find yourself trapped on a battlefield disguised as a dinner table. If you’re some shining unicorn of a person who can breeze through a family party stress-free, great— tell the whole fam “hi” from Wellvyl! But for the rest of us who are looking to maintain our mental and emotional health this season, a Thanksgiving dinner survival plan is necessary.

Showing up to Thanksgiving may be on Mom’s list of non-negotiables, but stress doesn’t have to make this year’s menu. Rather than working yourself up trying to educate relatives or defend your views, focus on enjoying the company of loved ones you wish you saw more of or on relishing foods you don’t often eat. When that ignorant uncle attempts to explain feminism to you or your carnivorous cousin starts in about your supposed protein deficiency, don’t let it stress you out. Eat “cheat day” foods, make Mom happy, focus on the positive, because better times are coming. And they’re called Black Friday.

To make this season that much sweeter, carve out time for loved ones whose company has a boosting effect on your wellbeing, regardless of whether or not they share your DNA. Participating in events like Friendsgiving, where friends gather for a traditional holiday feast with an untraditional guest list, is an excellent way to freshen up old customs with new understanding. From Secret Santa gift-swaps to low-key holiday hangouts, this time of year presents plenty of opportunities to create positive vibes with people you love. What could be more fa-la-la-la-la than that?

Your holiday traditions aren’t ending but are simply changing, evolving, same as you. Expanding consciousness is, by definition, not limiting. This year, feel free to dig into your favorite mashed potatoes and stuffing and sweat it out the next day, go dancing on New Year’s Eve and meditate the morning of January 1st. Start some new traditions and simply tweak some old ones. And above all, have a happy, healthy holiday season.

To borrow from the wise folks over at Hallmark:

Here's wishing you peace, positive vibes, and plenty of Thanksgiving leftovers,