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How to Be a Decent Person This Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing, which for many is a positive experience. Spending time with family and eating food that your mom only cooks this time of year is exciting, but there are things that can be extremely uncomfortable for others that you may not think about.

1. I won’t tell you to avoid political conversations because they’re important conversations to have, but if you feel the need to say something gross or racist, try not to. This is a very low bar, but for a lot of people, it’s hard to avoid hate speech at the dinner table.
2. Remember the story of Thanksgiving – the real story – and the battle indigenous peoples are still fighting. The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of a massacre. Last Thanksgiving protesters at Standing Rock were being brutally attacked for fighting for access to water.
3. DO NOT comment on how much or how little people around you are eating. First of all, it’s just plain rude and annoying, but that person could be dealing with/recovering from an eating disorder.
4. Don’t force your religious beliefs on others. Saying “happy holidays” really isn’t that difficult. Remind yourself that you’re not the center of the universe.
5. Don’t ask your teen/young adult relatives why they haven’t found a boyfriend or girlfriend yet. It’s a little creepy and can be really uncomfortable. It’s just none of your business, and they could be closeted and not ready to tell you who they’re really dating.
6. This conversation is actually happening a lot right now, but it’s still important to mention: do not make children hug/kiss their relatives! It teaches them that they are not allowed to make decisions for their bodies.

I love the holidays. I love being around family I don’t get to see very often and catching up with them. I’ve experienced some of these things, and it’s just a little hard to handle. When the people you love say or do things that make you nervous, you don’t really know what to do. If they do something that bothers you, calmly let them know that what they’ve done makes you uncomfortable. They won’t always respond well to that, but some of them will be willing to learn. Do what you can to feel safe, comfortable, and loved this holiday season. And if you’re on the other side, do what you can to make others feel safe, comfortable, and loved this holiday season.

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Mesa Weidenbach
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I'm Mesa, an 18 year old queer kid from Kansas. My passions are social justice, writing, and makeup. I have two betta fish named Finn and Rey, and my favorite lipstick is Colourpop's "Marshmallow." I am currently a freshman political science major at ESU.


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