What Christmas is all about?

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photo by Ahilyn Aguilar

Sophomores Cameron and Nicholas Smith walk together having a brother-to-brother time. The Smiths had most of their relatives over for the holidays for a week and a half.

Ahilyn Aguilar, News Editor

Junior Destiny Maisonave found herself walking away from her family arguing about dinner. As her mom started yelling at her, she decided that locking herself in the bathroom, sitting down and having a moment to herself was exactly what she needed.

For some students, having to deal with family coming over for dinner once a month can be pretty easy. However, the game changes when the holiday season comes around and students find themselves having a hard time dealing with their families for two weeks.  

During the holidays, students are surrounded by fighting cousins, having to choose sides over which aunt is the best, being criticized by older family members and hearing arguments about who’s making which food.

“You always have that family member that brings up last year’s problems, that annoying cousin who snitches on you and the usual three hours of fighting about what seasoning goes on what,” senior Tony Romero, who has three aunts and five cousins staying with him, said.

 

However, there are strategies that students use to cope with family conflicts over the holidays and help them have a relaxing two weeks of break. For students like sophomore Devaki Sharma, who has 10 family members stay over during the holidays, setting boundaries is one the top ways to keep calm with her family during break.

“Saying no to things you don’t want to do or don’t agree with is important, even if it’s hard to say no to your family,” Sharma said. “By saying no, you set boundaries, and boundaries help your family members know what you like and what will piss you off.”

For sophomore Jacqlene Rosu, unsolved problems from last year’s holidays tend to come up during dinners, starting family arguments. For her, having a “clean slate” with no grudges every Christmas helps her be patient with her family members.

“My family always brings up things I said or did last year, [and] this always brings out the worst in me,” Rose said. “What helps with this is starting a new slate every holiday – I forget and let go of all of the grudges and remember what Christmas is really about.”

Most students agree that having most, if not all of their family members all in one room can be stressful. To keep their cool around them, students like Romero and Maisonave tend to practice mindfulness by escaping to a quiet room. This prevents them from snapping at a family member. Romero takes walks to a store near his house, which allows him to think and “release” his mind when his family says something upsetting.

However, for those who find it hard to not blow up over family comments or are not able to escape, they develop the habit of planning out responses ahead of time. For Sharma, thinking of questions her relatives are prone to ask her and the answers to these questions is a way to avoid starting a family argument and keeping peace.

“I’m the type of person that will blow up when someone says something about me, even if it’s a family member,” Sharma said. “That’s why planning out my answers helps me because it gives me a sense of readiness to any upsetting words they might say.”

For other students, the only way of getting through the holidays with their family is simply thinking that it’ll all be over before they know it, allowing them to ignore all of the fights and laugh them off.

“Every year my family can annoy me so much, especially since most of my relatives stay at my house,” sophomore Olivia Eldridge said. “But learning how to cope with them and enjoying these moments is what Christmas is all about.”

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