Staff Picks:

Choose Which Christmas Parties Not To Go To

I didn’t learn until sometime during teenagehood that attending four or five parties with the same group of people is not how most families celebrate the holidays. I always grew up anticipating the Christmas Eve party, the Christmas day post-church brunch, Christmas evening, then Nun Christmas a few days later (the religious sisters of the family always spend Christmas Eve and Day with their Order, so we have an additional party for them when they’re available), and sometimes another one thrown in there just for kicks. I’ve attended all of those parties every year of my life. Fortunately, my family is chill and large enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m having the same conversations with the same folks every time—and most of them are really good in the kitchen. That being said, I quickly get my fill of people during the holidays, and so I often reject any other invitations that come my way. Sorry, but I don’t want to participate in your stupid White Elephant/cookie-decorating party when I just caught up with 30 cousins. Even if you’re not from an extensive Irish Catholic clan, the holidays are socially exhausting. So think about which gatherings are truly obligatory, which ones are worth the fatigue and/or social anxiety, and which ones are not and can be avoided with a cute card or something. (Maura Callahan)

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