Six Things Not to Say During the Holidays
Image drawn by: Kenzie Hebert
With the holidays quickly approaching and some having already passed, many of us are ready to go and spend as much time with family as possible. With that being said, sometimes during the holidays relatives can say things which may not seem so holly and jolly. So here is my list of six things not to say to your female relatives (or anyone for that matter) during the holidays:
1. Anything concerning weight
This is in regards to anyone, no matter what their body may look like. We all probably already know that the comments such as “have you gained weight?” or “you should stop eating so much”, have never been a fun topic. However, comments concerning someone looking “skinner” or losing weight are not appreciated either. This can make people happy, but it can also cause them to eat less (or more) and dislike the way they look. So if you’re thinking about commenting on your relative’s weight, just keep it to yourself, because if they’re happy with the way they look, you should respect it.
Side note: If you are genuinely concerned about a relative’s weight, perhaps if they have gradually been eating less, find a better place to talk to them than the Thanksgiving dinner table. Also, if you please, find a more respectful way to bring up this topic, because it is a sensitive one that most people don’t want to talk about.
2. Their appearance (ex: clothing, makeup, or even lack of makeup)
During the holidays, some people get royally dressed up, and some don’t, which is ok. No one should feel obligated to wear clothing they don’t feel comfortable in, and you shouldn’t feel the need to make them uncomfortable. Comments concerning clothing, makeup, lack of makeup, or anything else about a person’s appearance should not be welcomed during the holidays. People are with you because you’re family and they feel comfortable being themselves around you, so don’t give them a reason to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
3. “When are you going to….”
This phrase can concern things like “When are you going to finish that project?”, or “When are you going to stop being so childish?”, or anything else that concerns you as a person. Phrases like this can really stress people out. It can make them doubt their skills and abilities. The holidays should be one of the least stressful times of the year, and yet, for some, they can be some of the most stressful. Aside from the pressure of getting all the presents wrapped on time, people shouldn’t have to feel stressed during the holidays. All they want is to have a calm time with their families, so don’t ruin that time by making them stress.
4. Bad things that occurred during past holidays, or even the past in general
Imagine that you just sat down for dinner with your family. The talk is lively and everyone is enjoying their food. Now imagine that one of your relatives makes a negative comment. A comment concerning a bad thing that occurred in the past. A thing no one wants to talk about. See how quickly this can change the mood? How quickly it can cause a happy holiday to look kind of sad or depressing? No one wants to relive the fight they had with their Grandpa last Thanksgiving, so just forget about it and enjoy the holiday. There’s no reason to bring it up, so please just keep it to yourself.
5. Relationships or lack thereof
When you’re sitting down, talking with your family, please do your best to avoid the topic of relationships. It can be uncomfortable for some people, or maybe even trigger some bad memories. Also, not everyone has time to be in a relationship right now, especially during the pandemic, so let’s just avoid this topic altogether. Not everyone is eager for a relationship, maybe they just haven’t found the one yet, or maybe they don’t even want a relationship. So let’s all work together to avoid talking about this, and make everyone’s holiday a little less uncomfortable.
6. “Are you sure that’s a smart idea?”
Not everyone dares to share their thoughts and ideas with the family, but when they do, you shouldn’t question them. Questioning your relative’s thoughts and opinions can cause them to doubt themselves, their independence, and their ability to make decisions. Now if your relative’s idea involves something like robbing a bank or committing tax fraud, by all means, oppose their decision and steer them in the right direction. But if they’re talking about their future, or maybe the college they were thinking of attending, don’t oppose them, support them. Not everyone has the ability to make decisions on their own, so when they do, you should give them what they need, your support. They don’t need your personal opinion or opposition, so please, just give them a happy holiday by supporting them.
The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time filled with laughter, love, and joy. But negative comments like these can cause stress, worry, and sadness. So let us work together to avoid these topics and instead focus on having a happy and healthy holiday.
Kenzie Hebert, TeensForWomen Co-Editor