THE BLOG
12/24/2014 11:35 am ET Updated Feb 23, 2015

How to Survive the Holidays at Home

Joan Vicent Canto Roig via Getty Images

Bah humbug! Who needs holiday spirit? In fact, who can make time for holiday spirit? You barely survived finals and are already bargain hunting for next semester's textbooks. You ask yourself "why is everyone so excited, when I'm so stressed?" But then you remember the smell of mom's cooking, your comfy full-sized bed and cuddles with your pup. Suddenly it's not looking so bad. Wait... is that, nostalgia?

Fast forward to your homecoming, suitcase and false hopes in hand. Six days have passed. You've already run out of shows to watch on your Netflix queue. Between lame bonfires with the high school classmates you swore you'd never talk to again and embarrassing family feuds, you start to wonder, were the holidays always this disappointing? To be honest, they probably were. Nothing has changed. Except for you.

Going to college breeds a newfound sense of independence. You create your own habits; you make your own friends. You re-define your sense of normal and your sense of home. Then, you're thrown back into the time warp that is your childhood home and it brings the back all the feelings of being of child without actually being a child. That makes for one frustrated twenty-something who can't wait to get back to their friends and their "life." But guess what? That life isn't real. Once you realize that college is only a transitional period and that "life" hasn't even started yet, that's when things start to get scary.

Soon, your friends start getting engaged and getting "grown-up" jobs. At first you'll be happy for them (or at least good at faking it) but one day you're sitting in your room and you realize that that past four years have only been practice for the next chapter in life. Some of your friends are well into their stories and you're not ready to turn the page. The experiences you've had were destined for you and are unique to your life story. You've grown in ways you didn't see possible and changed into someone you wonder if teenage you would recognize.

The holidays are a time when you get to bring the "new you" home and with the wisdom you've gained, you're now able to spot the imperfections you overlooked before. You realize that home is no longer a place but a feeling and during college, you're caught in the "in-between." That limbo is frightening and rather than pulling towards the familiar, you're pulling away, trying to carve out a new place for yourself like you did freshman year. But you see, no other experience gives you the chance to recreate yourself like college did. Life just...happens. Each decision affects the next one and unfortunately no really knows what their doing. You don't just wake up with that new job or car and become who you were meant to be. Each day you learn a little more than the last, and that's really all we've got, until we're gray and have seen so many days that it is only then we can try to make sense of it all.

Appreciate those childhood memories but put them away like you have with your old-self. It's time to redefine tradition and appreciate our loved ones for who they are. This is only time during the year that many people can take a break from their busy lives and get together. So whether you count down to the holidays or barely celebrate, enjoy these moments. Embrace them for what they are, real and raw. Over time the people in that house are going to change. As cliché as it sounds, it's the cycle of life. As new family members are welcomed into the world others will say goodbye. Be grateful if you're able to get all of your dysfunctional and awkward family into one room because many people only wish they could.

So I guess that's how you rekindle your holiday spirit and survive waking up to that Twilight poster from junior high. You don't wake up singing Michael Bublé and farting snowflakes, you wake up and realize that each day you spend with your family may be your last and holiday or not, that is a reason to celebrate.

*While you can't actually fart snowflakes, you can still sing Michael Bublé. Enjoy this playlist and your newfound holiday spirit.