This time of year may be the most magical. The food, the traditions, the Hallmark movies — what's not to love? But, then again, how much do you really love turkey? Or your Uncle Bob? Maybe it's time to jingle your bells somewhere else for a change. When seasonal parties, constant social demands, and other holiday time constraints cause anxiety overload rather than make you giddy with anticipation, then you need a winter time-out.
Here are five signs you should let your family deck the halls without you.
1. You've lost that loving feeling.
The holidays can be magical, sure, but they're also the most stressful time of the year, and both depression and anxiety are widespread. If you get stabby imagining "Feliz Navidad" playing in stores for two months, putting the kibosh on your holiday at home might be what your inner-child needs. Get away, experience something completely different, and get your joy for the world back.
2. You're tired of gift-giving.
If you've found yourself trapped by modern gift-giving expectations, maybe you need a clean break from holiday commercialization. Inform friends and family that you're getting out of dodge and won't be exchanging gifts this year. Chances are they'll be grateful too — after all, that's one less person on their list!
If that seems too radical, make a smaller, more personal gesture, by giving home-baked biscotti or cookies in tins in advance of the holidays, with a little card saying you'll be traveling and not gifting this year, but hope your treats hit their sweet spot.
3. You're kind of a Goldilocks when it comes to weather.
If you wilt and wither under summertime furnace-like heat and you're equally miserable when the weather outside is frightful, the holidays may be the optimal time to take advantage of destinations like Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, and North Africa.
There's no better time to visit Vietnam, for example, than during the dry season when you can eat your way through one of the world's great cuisines, enjoy reduced humidity and cooler temperatures, and, while you're at it, buy yourself a Christmas present of a custom-tailored wardrobe at Target prices.
4. You have recurring dreams of mulled wine and jelly donuts.
Maybe life's pressures have you needing an escape, but deep down inside you're a sucker for the holidays. Imagine strolling the streets of Copenhagen or Vienna on chilly nights, while you sip mulled wine and enjoy the music, lights, and joy of a traditional European Christmas. Or perhaps you dream of visiting Jerusalem or Tel Aviv to nosh on sufganiyot during the Hanukkah Festival of Light.
5. You'd rather Netflix and chill.
When your choices are kissing up to the firm's bosses while negotiating your way through another ho-ho-hum buffet spread or binge-watching Stranger Things in your sweats, it's easy to understand the urge to stay home. But if you'd rather stretch-pants-and-TV the night away at home than go to your best mate's party, life is telling you something.
Atone for your conspicuous absence at your favorite friends' parties by taking a cooking class abroad, then hosting a dinner party showcasing dishes learned during your travels.
Have you ever blown off the holidays? Share with us in the comments.