"You aren't obligated to match the price point of everyone's gift to you," Forbes stressed. "In fact, minimalism is in — tell people you're downsizing and trying to give small, meaningful gifts this year instead of filling everyone's home with stuff. Or offer to get together for dinner or a holiday outing rather than exchanging gifts."
Skip the stress and visit another time. An unpleasant Thanksgiving visit with some distant relatives put the Christian-based Beliefnet blogger Joan Ball on a mission to "gladly pick up the horns and pitchfork to make my personal pitch for skipping oblications" and, instead, taking self-gratification vacations. "I've always liked the idea of having family around for the holidays, especially since most of our immediate family lives in India. But the reality of it? Well, it was a stressful mix of polite conversation and pandering, at least until one relative got a little too comfortable and started sharing his racist views on the world. At that point it just became a ticking time bomb before I simply lost it." Now Ball recommends that everyone ask themselves ahead of a holiday why they would choose to "travel halfway around the country to interact with relatives I may or may not like." In its stead, Ball makes it a point to see her loved ones, like her mom, at a less-stressed time when they can both enjoy each other's company. "Why give in to this so-called 'holiday spirit' and spend $400 plus, and spend a headache-inducing week being polite?" she asked.
» 6 evenings out for all ages in your holiday family group
Let yourself know it's okay. If you have issues with family members, spending a lot of money on gifts and travel time is a poor way to work them out, according to the What's Your Grief blog. As well as being an advocate for anyone who wants to skip holidays for reasons ranging from their life partner not being accepted at the holiday to their ex being present when he was an abuser, WYG reminded everyone that any decision isn't for keeps. I am not sure if you've noticed but, for better or worse, the holidays roll around every year. Making a decision about this year has no bearing on whether you celebrate next year. If this has been a particularly rough year, you may realize you just can't handle the holidays. You need a break, at least this year. Next year you may feel totally different and that is absolutely okay.