Juanita MORE! reflects on surviving the holigays

Some years I decorate my apartment with all the holiday knick-knacks I’ve collected. They are buried in a box at the back of the closet. But this year I’ve decided the only decorations I’m putting up are the beautiful cards people have sent me.

I have sent out Juanita-holiday cards for over 25 years and appreciate it when someone takes the time to send out a personalized card with a thoughtful message.

My mom always sent out cards and it was a process that I always enjoyed. After shopping at our local drug store for a box of affordable cards, she would clear the dining room table and take out her address book, where she would start from the beginning. It was a very organized process that put what normally happens at the dining table to a halt.

One by one she would read the names of the recipients out loud as she wrote their addresses on the envelopes. Each family name conjured a story or a memory from the past. That was the part that struck me the most. That in remembering someone even though they were not there was important. That was the ritual we were creating, smiling and laughing as though for a brief second we were all together.

It seems like a small thing nowadays, when few people send cards in the mail. But the small things matter as much as ever.

It can be hard to enjoy the holidays. But trust me – it can be done!

Here are some a few tips that can help make that happen:

1. Don’t give in to the retail world’s gift buying pressure.

Throughout the year we all do something genuine for the people in our lives (and even some strangers) – that alone is a gift. Make your best effort to get out there and buy someone something if you must. But don’t feel guilty if you come home with nothing or only things for yourself. People appreciate love and friendship much more than material things.

2. Spend time with people you love.

Don’t feel forced to be with your biological family if you don’t want too. The greatest joy of being queer is that we get to choose our own family. Surrounding yourself over the holidays with the people you care about is more important than blood.

3. Don’t give in to family boredom.

Take the family pet for a walk! Offer to do the dishes and help take out the trash – in other words, make yourself useful, busy and distracted. Find some time to locate a secret Santa or elf on a hook-up app in your hometown or your family’s. They just might have a present for you. And you can be back in time to stuff the turkey, too.

4. Eat what you like.

The dining room table will probably have a smorgasbord of family favorites that arrive from kitchens far and near. However, all the sentiment in the world does not make it edible. Eat only what you like and make no excuses about it.

5. Worst case scenario.

No matter how bad it gets as crazy Uncle Joe regales you with the glories of all things Trump, just remember, if the Grinch survived Christmas, so can you.

6. Look forward to New Year’s Eve.

Come celebrate the first day of the year with me as The Midway and Goldenvoice present Fresh Start – where we will dance from sunrise to sunset with the best house and techno, delicious food, art installation, interactive performances and the House of MORE! Drag Stage with shows all day from Noon – 6 PM.