From writing letters to Old Saint Nick to watching the ball drop at midnight to having an entire week of school vacation, there's nothing like being a kid at the holidays. Well, except for being an adult that is, because even though you (probably) don't believe in Santa anymore, there are still some holiday traditions that are better as an adult. Getting older sucks in a lot of ways, but at least now when your family comes to visit, you don't have to bunk with your bedwetting cousin Fuller.
It's true that the holidays as an adult come with more pressure and more responsibility, but it doesn't have to be all bad. Yes, your bank account will get drained faster than Olivia Pope's wine glass after a long day, and no, there is no avoiding a conversation with your relatives about settling down, but at least as an adult, you have bourbon in your eggnog to help get you through December's festivities. You might never have that "OH MY GOD, IT'S A BARBIE DREAM HOUSE" Christmas morning moment again, but there are plenty of things that make the holidays as an adult even more epic than that time Santa got you the exact Furby you asked for, I promise.
Because getting older isn't all coals and bah-humbug, here are seven holiday traditions that are better as an adult. Make some room at the big-people table.
1. The Christmas Countdown
It may have seemed glorious to open your advent calendar as a child and find little candies and toys inside, but as an adult, the Christmas countdown is even more epic. With adult advent calendars that include things like whiskey, cosmetics, and craft beer, every day in December is like Christmas morning.
2. Seasonal Beverages
Hot chocolate used to warm you up after a day full of sledding, but now you're an adult, the only marshmallows in your cocoa is in the form of flavored vodka. Even eggnog, the most decadent of holiday drinks, gets better with a splash of bourbon in it, and you don't have to hide your attempts to spike the Christmas punch. You're an adult, you do what you want.
3. Hanging the Decorations
If you're at all like me and Pinterest-obsessed, then decorating for the holidays as an adult trumps decorating as a kid any day. Not only do you not have to fight your siblings for the honor of putting the star on top of the tree, or plugging the lights in for the first time, but you don't have to adhere to your mother's decorating standards either. You can decorate your own way and create new traditions, whether that means hanging up hand-made ornaments you found online, or putting together your fake tree, and that freedom is fantastic.
4. Holiday Parties
As a kid, I dreaded having to go to my parents' boring holiday parties. I had to wear itchy tights, sit on a stranger's lap, and pretend to like everyone calling me "sweetie." As an adult, holiday parties are the best! They give you an excuse to dress up (or dress completely down in an ugly sweater), drink on a weeknight, and hang out with your friends who you hardly get to see anymore.
5. Staying Up Until Midnight on New Year's Eve
Face it, life is hard as an adult, and you rarely make it out past 9 p.m. nowadays, but that's what makes New Year's Eve even better as an adult. It was cool to be able to stay up past your enforced bedtime as a kid, but as a grownup, the holiday forces you to stay up and party the night away and almost guarantees you the next day off from work. Take that, sparkling apple juice of your childhood!
6. Visiting with Family
Whether that's just you and your parents sipping hot cocoa on Christmas Eve, or all 30 of your extended relatives staying under one roof, the holidays are all about spending quality time with your family and friends. When you were young, family time was cool and all, but you were really more excited to show your new gifts off to your BFFs after your aunts, uncles, and cousins went home. Spending the day hanging with your brothers or sisters didn't really appeal to you either, because you saw them daily anyway. Now as an adult, you actually like your family, even your siblings, and you realize how important it is to spend time together (and how little you actually get to do it), so those holiday dinners and get-togethers are something you look forward to and appreciate instead of dreading.
7. Exchanging Gifts
As a kid, the best present you could give your mom was either something your dad picked out for her, or a lame clay figurine you made in art class. As an adult, the tradition of giving gifts around the holidays gets so much better. Yes, issues of knowing what to get and how much to spend can be difficult to navigate, but watching your parents open a weekend getaway you knew they'd love or seeing your little niece or nephew tear through wrapping paper to reveal their favorite action figure is so much better than anything you experienced as a kid, even getting the perfect gift from Santa.
Looking for more holiday cheer? Check out Bustle on YouTube.
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