While we may have one family-centric holiday down, many of us are still looking forward to the festivities and traditions that December holidays and winter break will bring. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or neither, traveling home from school or work means that we will be seeing much more of our families-- sometimes more than we would like. You can pretend all you want that you never hate a moment with your family or friends from home, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes, the ones we love the most can get on our nerves.
Going home for Christmas will be my first time being on the west coast since August, and my home has definitely changed. So have I. However, know that it's inevitable that there will be some disconnect when you haven't seen someone for many months. The easiest way to deal with this is to acknowledge that people change and grow-- and that's not a bad thing. Maybe you've grown apart, but if you both still care about those relationships, then you can work to get back to the place you were at before.
Another stressor of going home is facing the different views and perspectives of your family. Maybe you have a clear idea of where your life is going, but they just don't agree with your vision. Don't let little disagreements distract you from the true joy of this time of year. You're never going to agree with your family about everything. My best advice is to let go of grudges. However, at the same time, don't let these people walk all over you-- stand up for your decisions and opinions.
That being said, keep an open heart going into this holiday season and I hope that you can reconcile the good parts with the bad. In our culture today, we have an idealized version of what celebrating the holidays is supposed to be like. It's not going to be perfect, but I promise it can be full of joy and love if you let it.