Your glass is (at least) half full. During the holidays, well-meaning family and friends are likely to ask about your progress on your dissertation, book, or article. Prepare your soundbite in advance.
Focus on what you have accomplished, and what you’re looking forward to: It’s going well. I’m making good progress. I’m looking forward to having more time to work on it. It’s a good challenge. I’m working through the theories/the introduction/the second chapter.
It’s not that your loved ones think you’ll never finish. Asking about your work means they recognize that it’s important to you. Appreciate that, without ever feeling bad about what you haven’t accomplished, yet.