While some people thrive on the bustle of Christmas, there are those among us who can’t stand even a sniff of long queues or those same old songs. If you’re one such person, then the chances are that you’re half out of your mind by this stage, just wishing that you could shake it all off and get away somewhere that helps you to avoid all of that stress.
After all, for all its joys, Christmas isn’t exactly the relaxing break we all hope for. Even if we’re lucky enough to get a decent chunk of time off work, we usually spend it rushing to the shops at the last minute and debating how much we should spend on certain people, or attending countless parties with those same people and realizing we’ve got it wrong. It’s a lot. The trouble is that, even if you were able to find a last-minute flight somewhere far away, you know how disappointed your loved ones would be.
This is hardly surprising considering that, for most people, Christmas is all about family. But, does that mean you have to suffer with another festive season of commitments that you aren’t committed to? We don’t think so. In fact, we think you should be able to travel where you want, when you want, and not face even a little controversy from doing so. This is precisely why we’ve put together our top tips for getting away this festive season without having to turn your phone off to escape an endless stream of angry messages from your loved ones.
Tip 1 – Share your plans as soon as possible
While it might be a little late at this stage, it’s typically best to tell loved ones about your plans to get away as soon as possible. In an ideal world, this would mean informing them that you won’t be around for Christmas a few months in advance, ensuring that they never factor for you in their plans and so are less likely to dwell on your absence. Even now, informing all relevant people as soon as you book your flights (or discussing things with them before you do), can help them to adjust to the idea of your absence on the day. Admittedly, there’s no guarantee that you won’t still have to fight your corner with this approach, but at least people can’t say you’re leaving them in the lurch. You’ll certainly get by better this way than you would if you just upped and sent them a text message once you reached your destination.
Tip 2 – Be honest about your motivation
The fact that we all have a very different approach to Christmas means that, if you tell them you’re going away without really explaining why, loved ones with a strong festive drive towards family will inevitably take this as a personal slight. After all, they’re the ones you’re ultimately shunning by doing this, and they may assume that you simply don’t want to see them, or that you’ve got better plans elsewhere. This is rarely the case, and that’s something you need to explain to ensure that you aren’t hurting anyone with your decision here. The best way to do that is to be honest about your motivation (unless you are leaving to avoid a certain person…) so that people can see why you’ve made this decision. This is especially true if you find the pressure of Christmas overwhelming, which is something that even lovers of these festivities will be able to relate to. Equally, if you’ve had a hard year and need a more peaceful break, most people will be able to relate to that too. Even if it’s difficult to open up, this honesty is certainly a better way to get people onside than if you leave them feeling like you’re doing all of this to spite them personally.
Tip 3 – Meet up before you leave
While there might be a lot of pressure to meet up with loved ones during the Christmas period, there are no rules against making plans before the event. Depending on how close to the big day you leave, you could even attend a fair few obligatory Christmas parties before your flight. At the very least, making sure to meet with your nearest and dearest in advance, exchange gifts, and generally get all of that stuff out of the way is really going to cut down on the resentment you’re having to deal with. This is especially important because it shows your loved ones that you aren’t just jetting off and forgetting about them (even if that’s sort of what you intend to do), but that you’re instead making an informed decision that they’ll find it much harder to fight against overall.
Tip 4 – Make time to check in on Christmas day
Whether you intend to spend your Christmas day on the beach or relaxing in a local bar, it’s also important to remember that this specific day means a lot to a fair few people, likely members of your family included. To both avoid arguments and keep everyone happy on the special occasion, it’s therefore always worth taking at least a little time out to check in on Christmas day itself. This doesn’t mean you need to facetime for the whole of Christmas dinner, but it does mean that something as simple as a phone call has the power to make someone else’s day. That’s more than worthwhile. If your family is particularly upset that you won’t be around, you might even want to go further than this with a Zoom party in the evening, or even by learning how to host a virtual games night that can truly inject you into the Christmas spirit. This only needs to take a few hours out of your day, but you may well find that you have fun from a distance, not to mention that making this effort means you can spend the rest of Christmas day and the festive period exactly as you wish.
Tip 5 – Alternate your travel years
The chances are that, once you’ve escaped the madness for one year, you’re going to want to do it all again the next, but it’s worth avoiding that temptation if you want to keep everyone onside. After all, going without you for one Christmas is one thing, but it’s going to be a lot harder to keep the peace if this becomes a regular occurrence. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you can never spend another Christmas abroad ever again, but it does mean that you’ll at least want to alternate your years. That way, you can spend one year making other people happy, and another listening to what you want to do, which is a far better way towards compromise. What’s more, once you get into this habit, your family are unlikely to even argue about the years that you plan to go away, understanding that they’ll get to spend next Christmas with you, and so on. It’s a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things (you can always go away for the new year if you want to), but you can bet that it’ll make a huge difference for everyone involved, including your stress levels.
A final word
Christmas can be a fun time, but it can also feel quickly overwhelming with all the pressure to both hit the shops and see everyone over such a short period. If you find yourself dreading your weeks off and feeling more exhausted after the break than you did before it, then it’s hardly surprising that you’re tempted by the idea of a full escape overseas. Unfortunately, loved ones who are used to having you around are unlikely to take this change lying down.
The arguments that ensue as a result can quickly make your escape more stressful than if you stuck around in the first place, not to mention that they can ruin other people’s Christmas in a way that you were never intending. To avoid that, you must approach your escape right whether you’re going away for a few days or the entire Christmas period. Specifically, you need to –
- Take everyone’s feelings into account
- Keep on making time for your loved ones
- Keep everyone informed about your choices/reasoning
- Make it clear that this won’t happen every year
None of this is to say that you’ll entirely be able to remove the upset that your hasty escape might cause, but you can at least get most people onside with this approach. For your more skeptical family members (who often end up being those that you’re closest to), time can heal all wounds, and a decent length video call on the big day itself should ideally be enough to keep their Christmas merry regardless. The good news is that the more commonly you make a break, the less controversial this will be until you find that you’re able to travel over Christmas without even one little argument.