Unwrapping Harm: 10 Toxic Phrases We Must Avoid During the Holidays

Mitch
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According to the American Psychological Association, over 50% of adults feel increased levels of stress, depression, and anxiety and resort to coping mechanisms like substance abuse during the holiday season. 

And sure, we all love a good laugh around the dinner table, but some off-the-cuff remarks can unknowingly dampen the holiday spirit. So, grab your hot cocoa, snuggle up, and let’s do a holiday cleanup – starting with our vocab!

“I Hate the Holidays”

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I mean, sure, the holidays can be stressful, what with all the shopping, cooking, and the inescapable Mariah Carey tunes. But it’s also a time to reflect, connect, and share love with those around us.

Not everyone has to adore the holidays, and that’s okay, but it’s important to respect the spirit of the season for others who do find joy in it.

“When Will You Get Married/Have Kids?”

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It’s not just intrusive, but it assumes that everyone has the same life goals or is in a position to achieve them. Maybe your cousin is perfectly happy traveling the world solo, or your niece and her partner are struggling with fertility issues.

The marriage rate in the U.S. has dropped by nearly 60% over the last 50 years, with almost 75% of women delaying marriage.

“Ew, How Can You Eat That?”

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When we say this, we inadvertently pass judgment on someone’s food choices, which can make them feel self-conscious or even embarrassed.

The holiday table should be a cornucopia of diversity; what might be our ‘new’ could be someone else’s ‘yum.’ Rather than expressing disgust, let’s replace that phrase with, “That’s interesting! What does it taste like?”

“I’m on a Diet”

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Now, there’s nothing wrong with personal wellness goals, but during the holiday season, this statement can unintentionally pressure others to monitor their food intake or feel guilty about enjoying holiday treats.

Moreover, it might open up individuals struggling with body image or eating disorders to unnecessary stress.

“Are You Going To Eat All That?”

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Whether it’s Aunt Betty eyeballing your heaping plate or Uncle Joe snickering at the mountain of mashed potatoes you just can’t resist, it can feel like an unwelcome commentary on your eating habits.

It subtly implies a judgment on your portion sizes or food choices, which, frankly, is nobody’s business but your own.

“Did You Get Chubbier?”

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“Tsk, tsk, have you gained weight?” It’s a loaded question, wrapped in a pretty bow of body shaming and unrealistic beauty standards. Let’s stick to complimenting Aunt Martha’s scrumptious apple pie instead, shall we?

“You Really Should Do More of X”

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While it may seem like good, heartfelt advice, it can unintentionally come off as dismissive or patronizing. It assumes a one-size-fits-all solution to complex feelings or situations.

What if that ‘X’ doesn’t make them feel better? Or what if they’ve been trying their best to do ‘X,’ but it’s not working out? Remember, each individual’s path to feeling better is unique and should be respected.

“You Always/Never Do This”

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Absolute phrases like these can unwittingly categorize behavior, boxing the listener into a constant or never-ending pattern. It may feel like you’re pointing out a frustrating habit, but the other person hears an unchangeable character flaw.

Instead, address the specific action bothering you and express how it makes you feel. This way, you’re opening the door for a constructive conversation.

“Did You Hear About…?”

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This seemingly innocent question often leads to gossip and speculation, especially during the holidays, when it’s tempting to dive into the juicy details of others’ lives.

It can create an environment of mistrust, discomfort, and stress. Besides, the information you’re spreading might not even be true!

“…if We’re Even Here Then!”

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Seasoned with a dash of doom and a sprinkle of negativity, it’s a phrase that can make the future seem incredibly bleak and uncertain. The holidays are a time for hope, love, and cheer! Instead, we could say, “Looking forward to seeing what the new year brings!”

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As we all know, when the tinsel comes out, the tree goes up, and the melodies start playing on every radio station, it can only mean one thing: it’s Christmas! But before we can begin basking in the holiday cheer, we must prepare for a unique species of individuals — our family members.

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12 Silliest Snow Day Superstitions You Innocently Fell for as a Kid

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As a kid, who didn’t relish the thrill of waking up to a blanket of snow outside and the prospect of a day off school? We all had our quirky rituals and superstitions, crossing our fingers and toes, hoping against hope that the snowflakes would continue to fall just a bit longer.

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Author

  • Mitch

    A computer science enthusiast with a keen interest in technology and games, Mitchelle (Mitch) contributes a cutting-edge perspective to the Frenz Hub writing team, integrating her academic knowledge with her personal passions

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