Christmas is a very special time of year. People donate more money to charity in December than any other time of year, we spend time with relatives we seldom see, and many of us try to spread cheer to those around us.

For those reasons, it should come as no surprise that forgiveness is a pretty big topic around the holidays. Even in film and television people often decide to bury the hatchet and celebrate Christmas as a family.

What we often forget however is forgiveness generally isn’t that simple in real life. Sometimes people set aside differences this time of year not due to forgiveness or repentance but at the urging of well-meaning relatives. There is also a very common misconception that once you’ve forgiven someone the relationship is good as new.

What forgiveness means is that you are choosing to no longer hold onto your anger towards that person. You are letting go of dead weight and starting to heal. This does not mean you condone or excuse their behavior, this does not mean you have to be friendly towards them, you don’t even have to have a relationship with them.

Do not mistake true forgiveness to heal yourself with putting on a happy façade for the benefit of others. While I would encourage anyone to consider forgiving those who have hurt them in the past recognize that you are not obligated to be close to that person. You are allowed to forgive someone and maintain the boundaries you need to feel happy and safe. Those who argue otherwise are usually thinking more about their convenience than your wellbeing.

Do what you need to do to keep your holidays happy!


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