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Celebrate the holidays - on your own terms

While we all hoped COVID would be a thing of the past by now, it's stuck around like a shitty houseguest, ruining the good towels and eating cashews out of the nut mix.

So now it's the holiday season and we must adapt AGAIN to life under a pandemic.

But here's the good news: you can TOTALLY use COVID to get out of any holiday obligation, any tradition you absolutely LOATHE.

It's a good time to decide what means the most to you this season. Is it spending quiet nights at home watching sappy Hallmark Christmas movies? Is it shopping online until your fingernails bleed? Is it donating to a local shelter, youth services organization, or animal rescue?

That's the best part - you get to decide what you want to do! You can gracefully bow out of the annual work holiday bowling adventure or Christmas caroling with the in-laws. You can decline holiday party invitations with a simple, "We're not doing that this year" and have it be totally honest!

Here's the thing. COVID has given us the excuse to say "no" to things - without all the guilt! It might actually catch on and we'll be able to say "no" to things we hate even without the excuse of a global pandemic!

Ask yourself these questions when it comes to holiday traditions and celebrations this year:

Is this something I love? If the answer is yes, figure out a way to make it happen. If the answer is no, maybe cross it off the list this year.

Am I doing this so I don't feel guilty? I LOVE this quote by Anthony de Mello. "When you are guilty,

it is not your sins you hate but yourself." If guilt appears as social pressure, check-in with yourself to decide what's going on. Will you feel bad for not participating or HATE yourself (and every moment) if you do participate? If guilt or shame is your reason for doing something, maybe don't do it.

Am I destroying a family tradition? Just because your family spends Christmas Eve sleeping in a freezing barn because it's a tradition, doesn't make it a good idea. Let COVID be your excuse for creating new, less freezing, traditions that involve things that make your heart soar.

What if I like holiday parties and social gatherings? Some people LOVE making small talk while balancing a small plate of canapes and a lukewarm flute of champagne. Good for you! This year can be a fun experiment as you find safe ways to get together with friends and family. It might be a virtual cocktail party or a socially-distanced, holiday dance-off.

As the coronavirus sits atop Mount Crumpit, listening for the sounds of sadness and despair because the holiday has been stolen, we find ways to adapt, love, and celebrate anyway. We reinvent, rediscover, and grow in ways we never thought possible. F*** the COVID Grinch. Celebrate on your own terms.

Peri Kinder is a Happiness Coach, Certified Yoga Teacher, Meditation Instructor, and Humor Columnist.

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