Sometimes, it’s best to opt out of holiday festivities

What you need to know:

You can choose to opt out of the holiday entirely or celebrate within your means

Until much later in my life, I was an obsessive people pleaser and lived with fear of losing out. This is a draining and exhausting combination to live with. As you might imagine, the holidays were my most exhausting time of the year. I had to do things just because everyone was doing them and I wanted to make everyone happy. Whether I could afford or not, I had to buy gifts for people who could not be bothered whether I went hungry or slept on the street. I had to throw parties based off what everyone said was the in-thing. I tell you, it was as exhausting as it was financially crippling.

One day, I got one of those moments where everything becomes so clear. It was as if a light had gone on in my mind and realised I did not have to do anything I did not want to do. It was such a liberating feeling and my holidays are now a time of relaxation and reflection.

I know so many people are where I used to be, doing things they should not be doing because they do not want to feel left out or let others down. But the gift I am giving you this holiday is the knowledge that you do not have to do anything. You can choose to opt out of the holiday entirely or celebrate within your means. If you are going through the following experiences, the best thing for you is to postpone the holidays until you are fully able to celebrate.

This is the time most people travel upcountry to celebrate with their families but if you are recently divorced or separated, travelling to your former spouse’s country home to check on your children or catch up with your former relatives is not a brilliant idea, especially if there is another partner in the picture.

Another group that I would advise not to partake in the upcountry trek are those who owe money. If for one reason you owe someone money, for example money you borrowed as transport fare back to Kampala last year and you have failed to pay it or if you pledged money at church in the heat of the moment and you have neglected to fulfill your pledge, trust me that debt will be called in. This can be very embarrassing, especially if you have not got the money to meet your obligations.

I would also encourage any family with toddlers and infants to stay behind until the babies are older. However comfortable the means of transport you intend to use are, travelling with a baby is stressful. If you have not done it before, let me assure you, the few days you will spend with the family are not worth the pain and inconvenience you will put yourself, your baby and your family through.

I would also encourage anyone who has had a misunderstanding or a quarrel with their family to stay away since absence makes the heart grow fonder. Your family will realise that Christmas without you is no Christmas and in future, they will refrain from pestering you to do things you plan to do later.

If you are the kind who only celebrates Christmas with food and drink, why not stop stressing yourself with travel? Just stay in your home, relax and enjoy all the food and drink in comfort. This way, not only will you save money you would have spent on travel but you will enjoy your Christmas without the hustle of having to sit in traffic jam for hours on end.