Dear Bellena: Help With the Holidays

bellena holidays


Belle and Elena are best friends (you already know this) and yet are vastly different (maybe you didn’t know that). Belle is all about “do no harm but take no shit”, save yourself first, and no third chances. Elena sees the best in people, loves everyone, and manages to stay in contact with almost everyone she’s ever met from everywhere. Belle makes decisions with her brain, Elena with her heart.

They compliment each other and keep each other in check. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have to battle it out when their opinions differ.

It also means they’re great for giving advice, because you can get two sides! Or, in the rare event that the two agree entirely on a plan of action, it’s likely because it’s the best. So send in your “Dear Bellena” letters and get personal advice from the lovely ladies!

Related Reading: 16 Personality Types

Disclaimer: Belle and Elena are not trained phycologists or should be considered professionals in regards to life-changing decisions. They are simply two women who want to help and offer their unsolicited advice. 

Help With the Holidays

Dear Bellena,

Christmas and the holidays has always been rough with my family, but I feel like this year is especially hard. My sister and I have never been close, but in recent years the space between us has grown, not shrunk. She dropped out of college, moved in with our parents, works part time at the mall, drinks and smokes, and constantly complains about things being hard for her. I work hard to support myself and be grateful for what I have.

This holiday season, I’m finding myself thinking about how good kids receive toys and bad kids are supposed to receive coal. I’m fed up with my sister and her bad behavior, but I don’t want to start a feud at Christmas by not getting her a gift, or by getting her a noticeable small and petty one. How can I make this holiday a good one for everyone, including myself?


Fed Up Sis



Dear Fed Up Sis,

Sister relationships and family relationships are rough. Whoever came up with the idea that family means unconditional love was full of bull, but that idea can’t just be done away with without some consequences.

As someone who could have been a much better older sister than she was, I’m working hard to mend the relationship I have with my sister. It’s hard and awkward and, unfortunately, requires work from both ends. The two biggest things I want to share with you are: one, be the bigger person, and, two, communicate.

Before Christmas (not just the day before), pull your sis aside and talk to her about how you’re feeling. Awkward, I know. But do it. And don’t get angry! Try try try to phrase it as “this is what I see and this is why it upsets me” instead of “you’re a mess and I’m annoyed, so fix it”. There might be more going on that you’re not aware of. Then, on Christmas, give her as thoughtful as a gift as you can.

Playing the retribution game just sends the two of you into a spiral of hurt feelings and finger pointing. As much as you want to give her a crummy gift to match her crummy attitude, being the bigger person and giving her love will do more good in the long run. And I mean the long run, because it might take a year or two for her to catch on and return the favor. But from someone who is seeing it pay out and is much happier of her relationship with her sister today than four years ago, it’s really worth it.


Fed Up Sis,

Having three older sisters myself, I find this easier to relate to. I can also relate to the part with you living on your own and feeling successful without your family seeming to notice. As frustrating as these circumstances with your sister may be, you are still family, and family is there for the ups and downs. If I were in your shoes, I would still get my sister a moderately thoughtful gift. Just because you think she may not get one for you, doesn’t mean that you should do the same.

There are so many things you could give her that wouldn’t seem cheap, but useful. If she’s having issues with drugs and alcohol, try getting her something that she can do without those substances: a journal, a book, a yoga mat, an adult coloring book. All these things are ways to occupy the brain without the aid of drugs, which could help her out in that instance, and in turn, change her attitude.

If you’re heading home for the holidays, consider things that could be fun for your entire family to enjoy together. This may even require you to think back on traditions you had as a kid and build from there. Even watching a Christmas movie together or baking cookies could be a good way to build your relationship back with your sister.

To avoid a feud, still get your sister something, however little it may be, even if it’s a coal ornament for the tree (this will really depend on your sister’s sense of humor….). I fear that if you get her nothing, you’ll be regretting it more than bitter about the few dollars you’ll lose for actually getting something.



Best of luck,

Belle and Elena

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