Not everyone loves the holidays 

Holidays offer a break from the stresses of our lives and allow many to connect with family, but not everyone enjoys them. Forcing holiday spirit on everyone you know is an insensitive way to celebrate any holiday. Illustration by Van Nguyen/The Daily Campus.

Hey Huskies, welcome back to Inside Maddie’s Mind for the last time before Thanksgiving recess. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome the break with open arms. This semester really do be semester-ing unlike any previous semester, and getting out of Storrs for a hot sec would certainly alleviate some of the constant stress of my junior year experience.  

It also seems like most of campus is in a similar boat – for the past few weeks, all I’ve heard people talk about is the fact that break is coming up. It seems to be a one-size-fits-all fix for any stressful situation or circumstance. My professors have been motivating their students with the idea that we “just need to get through this week and then we’re off,” and my friends and I can only manage to talk about how we’re all just hanging on until Friday when we can all go home.  

This rhetoric often goes a step further, praising both Thanksgiving and the general holiday season as the perfect fix to all fall-stresses. It’s true – Mariah Carrey is finishing up defrosting – we’re about to be bombarded with reminders of “the reason for the season” and “the most wonderful time of the year.”  

But not everyone loves the holidays. We need to be more cognizant of that fact. Even completely setting aside the ethical issue of celebrating Thanksgiving, not everyone looks forward to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade or sitting around a huge turkey – and we shouldn’t act like they do.  

Holidays do not just magically fix everyone’s lives. They can add to stress in various ways and perpetuate uncomfortable or downright unsafe situations. Not everyone has a place to go for that major family meal. Not every family can manage or afford an extravagant table spread either, and the entire holiday season can be a persistent reminder of this. Families experiencing hardship or loss will have a harder time sitting at the table. There isn’t a magical fix to these issues, but brushing them under the rug to save the image of our picture-perfect holiday season isn’t benefiting anyone. 

Unfortunately, we do not normalize or even acknowledge any experiences regarding the holiday season that are unpleasant on any meaningful level. Yes, it’s okay to joke about arguing with your mother-in-law over dessert or Tweet about “Thanksgiving clapbacks,” but only if it’s in a laughing manner. We don’t talk about any uncomfortable holiday experiences with any sense of seriousness, and it’s exclusive. If anything, we make people feel bad for not liking the holidays – which is an unreasonable and unrealistic narrative.  

Not everyone is looking forward to the holiday season and that is perfectly okay. It’s normal, even if we hesitate to talk about it. There are people that dread going home for the holidays for reasons deeper than not getting along perfectly with extended family. This can be an extremely isolating experience, especially considering the pervasive themes of togetherness and unity that are paraded around this time of year. It’s frustrating to know that you are the dissenting opinion on what is portrayed as the happiest time of year.  

This is not my personal war against the holidays and I’m not testing the waters to see how an anti-holiday column might be received in a few weeks. If the holiday season is truly that mythical, wonderful time of the year for you, that’s good. It’s okay to be thankful for that. But assuming “everyone loves the holidays” or regarding the holiday season in general as a magical time or the ideal time of year is not accurate. Perpetuating such a narrative is exclusive. As always, the human experience is vast and we shouldn’t act like it isn’t. 

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