Christmas is almost here, and spending time with family can be the best - and worst - part of the holidays. Cramped quarters, conflicting personalities, and childhood baggage means tensions can run high, especially when you don't have any time to yourself. But with a little creativity, you can find ways to squeeze in alone time, and avoid a meltdown. Here are a few:
Offer to be the errand-runner: If you're craving a little time to yourself, speak up when your mom mentions she's out of sugar. Even a few minutes in the car blasting music (or just sitting in silence) can be enough to pull you back from the brink.
Go for a walk: Can't take another second of togetherness around the fire? Suggest a brisk after-dinner walk. True, you usually can't get away with doing this one all by yourself, but even the most grating of family members can be more palatable outdoors in the crisp air. And if all else fails, walk fast.
Put on your dishwashin' gloves: Offering to take on clean-up duty is a double whammy. You'll earn brownie points for pitching in, and since only so many helpful hands can tackle a sink of dishes, you'll get a little QT with just you and the suds.
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Be an early bird (or a night owl): Your holidays may be packed with togetherness from dawn to dusk, but there's probably a window of time each day when you have a shot at some quiet time. Be an early riser to enjoy your coffee and paper in solitude, or burn the midnight oil and catch up on a favorite show or book after everyone else has called it a night.
Wrap it up: Save your gift wrapping until you arrive at your holiday destination. It'll give you the perfect excuse to hole up in a room for a few hours, just you and a glass (or two) of wine. Bonus: your gifts won't look quite so sad and bedraggled under the tree after hours of travel.
Put in your time when it really counts: Know when it's important for you to put in face time with the fam, and do it. If you're there when it really matters, no one will notice - or judge, at least - if you disappear from time to time.
How do you find time for yourself around the holidays?