I read your article about spending Christmas on your own. I would like to add that Christmas is not a tradition for everyone, including me, and that I find it difficult sometimes to convince people that I am happy on my own on Dec. 25.
I do appreciate that others invite me to join in their celebrations, but I would not be comfortable and would rather not participate. If you have any suggestions for convincing people that I really am okay with not celebrating Christmas, please let me know.
You raise a good point. There are many different family, cultural, and religious traditions in this world. Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to celebrate our own traditions, we may forget this and assume that others are unhappy if they are not included.
Convincing others that you are just fine with spending Dec. 25 on your own may mean responding with a simple “no thank you, I have other plans” or it may mean sharing the reason why the Christmas celebration is not relevant to you.
How much information you give as you decline the invitation will depend on your relationship with the person issuing it.
Because someone pushes you for an explanation does not mean that you have to disclose personal information that you would rather not share.
Recognizing that their difficulty in being convinced that you really don’t want to celebrate Christmas with them is likely coming from a genuine concern that you not be left out of the celebrations, you may try reiterating that you have other plans and are looking forward to them.
Your letter is a good reminder to us all that while being hospitable and inclusive is important, so is being respectful of differences.
I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday season in their own way.
If you wish to ask a question of the counsellors, for a response in future columns, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consult a Counsellor is provided by registered clinical counsellors Nancy Bock, Diane Davies Leslie Wells, Andrew Lochhead and Sara-Lynn Kang at pacific therapy & consulting inc. It appears every second Thursday in the Record.