Jill Layton
Updated December 23, 2015
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The holidays are all about spending time with family and the people you love. Regular life basically stops over Christmas break, which leaves ample time for eating, drinking, playing games, laughing, shopping, seeing movies and filling your heart with all things family. But if your family isn’t around, then the holidays are about spending time with your SO, if you have one. And even though you love spending time with your SO, not having your family around can be a huge bummer, especially when everyone else you know (aside from your SO) is with their own family.

If you happen to be without family this holiday season, chances are you’ll go through some emotional stages that are pretty unexplainable to anyone other than your person. So lucky for your person, your feelings will probably be the topic of Christmas time conversation. And your person might be feeling the same exact feelings.

So here are the emotional stages a family-less holiday season may cause:

You’re bummed that you’re not with your family, enjoying your old traditions.

When you find out you won’t be able to spend Christmas with your family, you’re obviously bummed. Not only because you’re the only family member who won’t be there, but you NEVER miss Christmas, and now life will just never be the same from now on.

You find out that your SO isn’t going home for the holidays, either and suddenly you’re flooded with relief.

You tell your SO about your bummed-ness, and they tell you they won’t be able to see their family for Christmas either. You’re so relieved you won’t be spending the holidays all alone.

You’re excited about this awesome step in your relationship.

OMG your first Christmas together with your SO! You plan your Christmas dinner, pick out a tree together and decorate it while listening to the holiday hits and eating whatever baked good your co-worker gave you.

But then: Sadness. This is not what the holidays usually are.

You’re not decorating the tree with your family. You miss your family.

All of your traditions are slipping away and now everything irritates you.

Wait, you seriously have to buy all new ornaments because your childhood ornaments are at your parents’ house? Why didn’t they offer to ship them to you? Do they even love you anymore? Being an adult is dumb.

But then you realize that you’re making new traditions and that’s okay too. Finally: Acceptance.

But look at the tree. It’s so pretty and perfect. You even hung some of the ornaments you and your love bought together on your trips. You’re so in love and maybe this is even the person you’ll marry.

Until the new traditions go awry and resent boils up.

No. Your SO is doing everything wrong. Your stocking is still empty, and they’re spending too much time watching movies that aren’t even Christmas themed.

Now you’re regretting everything and longing for a last-minute trip home.

You miss your family. They do everything right. Why didn’t you just fly home? It doesn’t even matter anymore. You just want to be home.

Then, suddenly, everything happens at once and you’re too overwhelmed to feel anything else.

There’s so much to do. The house is a mess, you still haven’t started cooking and you haven’t wrapped any gifts. Who’s idea was Christmas anyway?

When the storm calms and things start going right, you actually feel thankful.

Your SO always knows the right things to say to make you feel better. They cooked a delicious dinner and you watched Christmas Vacation together twice. You even went for a drive to look at pretty Christmas lights. Staying in town for Christmas isn’t so bad after all.

When the new traditions start to feel like real traditions, you start to feel content.

Not only have you made the best of not being with your family, you’ve realized that spending Christmas with your SO is something you want to keep doing for always.

Excitement. Just excitement.

Because Christmas presents. Duh.

(Featured images via Giphy and Shutterstock)