Alternatives to a Dysfunctional Family Christmas
Like many of us, you too dread Christmas:
– You maybe completely fed up with consumerism
– You are simply exhausted and need a break from everything
– You don’t celebrate Christmas in your culture
– You are suffering or recovering from eating order or an addiction
– You are single and looking for a relationship
– You still bereaving a loved one
– You are lonely and don’t have any family close by
Or perhaps… Your family is just plain dysfunctional and it is too unhealthy for you to be around them right now.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much self-development work you have done, it’s too easy to get hooked into old patterns and roles.
There is nothing more sticky than dealing with a dysfunctional family. You can spends thousand of dollars and hours into therapy but in 15minutes you can become hopelessly smashed in the same crazy dynamics and start acting and feeling the person you are trying not to be.
All the training in assertiveness, and independence goes out the window and a mere sigh from your family members triggers a codependency so severe you end up signing over your house.
While there are many strategies on how to survive such family gathering and avoid the subsequent mandatory melt down, sometimes the only way to say no to self-inflicted guilt and take care of yourself is to ditch the whole thing altogether.
Here are some things to do on Christmas Day
1. Volunteer at a charity
Check out the Wayside Chapel Christmas Day Street Party. It’s main objective is to bring together the community. Every year, they put on a Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and fill the street with music and dancing. The event is a day for the whole community. Activities include: breakfast, Christmas church service, entertainment and Christmas lunch.
2. Head down to the beach for a swim
A trip to the beach is always a safe bet. It’s calming and relaxing for the mind and soul while the sea air, ocean breeze, warmth of the sun are beneficial for the body.
3. Keep calm and read a book
Use the holiday to take a break from all the busyness of life. Settle down with a wonderful novel or an engrossing reading. You will not need self help book for this one.
4. Check out the cinemas
Checkout the latest serve from Hollywood or a classic rerun that is sometimes played.
5. Stream a movie
Reframe the way you think and feel with a good movie. It can also help you to deal with life’s ups and downs. Watch a movie about dysfunctional family and who knows, you may even begin to feel a sense of gratitude for your own dysfunctional family after watching them. .
6. Spend Christmas with your family of choice
You can choose to spend Christmas with different people, your friends, volunteer group. Christmas doesn’t have to spent with your “birth family”
7. Go to a church service
Christmas has been celebrated for over 2000 years, it’s only in recent times it has become more about presents, consumerism, food and booze. Go back to its roots and check out a Christmas church service the way its meant to be. Hear the church bells ring, listen to the story of Jesus. Find solace and sanctuary. Go with an open mind and connect with something greater than you.
8. Sing Christmas Carols
Sing Christmas carols on Christmas Day. Singing provides a lot of health benefits and helps one connect with other people.
9. Visit the local Zoo.
Zoos are open on Christmas Day – some even put a lunch on. Check out your local Zoo and be ready to be amazed and wowed.
10. Take a walking tour of Sydney
Take a walking tour of Sydney and admire the beautiful city.
11. Go bush for the day
There are many fantastic walks around the Sydney foreshores that feel as though you have gone bush!
12. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
To Sydney-siders, the Bridge is more than a photogenic landmark. It’s an iconic part of the City’s character. Now you can climb it on Christmas day.
13. Enjoy a Christmas Day picnic or BBQ
Enjoy Christmas day with a picnic or a bbq with friends and likeminded people.
14. Host an orphans’ Christmas lunch
Open your home to those who are on their own, those visiting town for work, on holidays or who wish to take a break from their own family! Get the conversation going on social media and ask everyone to bring a plate.
15. Explore the City on a food safari
Check out Yum Cha at the local China Town or other ethnic cuisine from around the world in your local City.
16. Stay at a posh hotel
Enjoy the wonderful views of your City from a plush hotel and be treated like royalty.
17. Take time for solitude
Solitude is about connecting with your whole self without feeling alone or like you’re missing out of something. On this day, practice self-reflection, be creative, start an art journal, a vision board or reflect on your upcoming New Years resolution. Or you could take a warm bath, refuel or sleep if you need to. It’s your day to pamper yourself.
18. Get in touch with your spiritual Self
Engage your will and take your learning back into your daily life on exit
Head somewhere which holds spiritual significance for you; it could be a sacred site or a beautiful garden. Use it to release stress and let go of baggage and receive some spiritual reconnection.
19. Find inner calm, tranquility and sanctuary at a Buddhist temple
Smell the joss sticks and find inner calm, tranquillity and sanctuary surely to be located in your City..
20. Check-in to rehab
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, food, sex, drug, alcohol, gambling or i addiction – check into rehab and start the year anew. Go deep inside, find the real you and connect with others who are suffering with similar issues.
21. Camp (or glamp!) on Cockatoo Island
Camp at the water’s edge on the northern side of Cockatoo Island and experience the magic of the harbour. On Cockatoo Island you will find a place where history and a unique atmosphere have been preserved by an island location. A place to relax and unwind, yet still only 15 minutes from the centre of Sydney.
22. Spend time in silence
Attend a meditation retreat over Christmas. Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills. See if there is a meditation centre near you.
23. Retreat to the Hinterlands
Surrender yourself to the beauty and healing cultures of a Retreat and Spa nestled in the stunning hinterlands of your local City or nearby.
Last Reviewed: 26/01/2021