Not everyone loves the holiday season, and that’s okay! We’re all in favor of finding joy however you can during these months—and for some people, that joy comes from their pets.
Hi, I’m Max, and I’m a dog! My owner is a true holiday humbug, and keeping him happy during these festive months feels like a full 9-5 job sometimes. I’ve heard some of the neighbors down the mountain saying that his heart is “two sizes too small,” but that seems a little reductive to me. I mean, do you get how stressful the holidays can be?!
Sometimes it’s all the little things that stack up, from gift-giving expectations to RSVPing to the 18th-holiday party invite of the month. It could be memories of bad holidays past that majorly dampen the mood. Relationships are complicated and sometimes you’re dreading the holidays with your family. (If you have to spend “the happiest time of the year” trying to figure out how to deal with family members that disrespect you…that’s no good, friend.) There are a million reasons why you might not love to celebrate the season, and they’re all valid!
I say skip the stuff that makes you miserable and choose to spend this emotionally-shaky time with the friend you always get along with: your furry +1. Forget about trying to find bearable things to do on a family vacation—send ‘em a nice card and stay home for the holidays with your pet companion instead. Trust me, surviving family holidays is a lot easier when you’re with your chosen family instead of the toxic family members life dealt you!
Once you’ve got the very best company, it’s time to keep yourself busy—there’s no time to get down in the dumps when you’re doing your favorite things, after all! (I learned this one after my owner started feeding me peanut butter during nail trims.) I’ve developed a whole lot of tricks over the years to help turn my grinch’s frown upside down this time of year. If they work for us, they might just work for you too.
Here’s all the stuff that should be on your 100% fun, 0% festive holiday to-do list:
- Take a winter hike out in the woods—no Christmas lights in sight! (...Or at least they’ll be very far away.)
- Make a DIY puzzle toy for your pet to tackle while you tackle your puzzle of choice. (This one works whether you prefer jigsaws or Wordle).
- Snuggle up for a movie marathon of summer beach classics! (In my experience, Jaws always does the trick.)
- Continue the summer vacation vibes by making popsicles for the people and pupsicles for the pets.
- Stage a stay-at-home scavenger hunt by hiding your pet’s favorite treats all around the house.
- Get crafty by creating a cardboard box castle (or pirate ship or UFO) for your pet!
- Devote your combined brain power to some training sessions—I’m happy to report you can definitely teach old dogs new tricks.
- Play a game of hide and seek with treats waiting for the seeker! (I’m going to be honest, a pocket full of treats makes it way easier to find them.)
I’m here to tell you that you can agree to disagree with St. Nicholas on the right way to celebrate the season and substitute your own traditions instead. This time of year should really be about finding joy however suits you best, humbugs! On behalf of all pets, we will be happy to celebrate (or entirely ignore) the holidays with you however you like.
Wishing you a (surprisingly) happy holiday season!