Approaching the Holiday Season

Approaching the Holiday Season

12/15/21 Laura Gibbons

The holidays can be a wonderful time to connect with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company and fellowship. It is a time to enjoy favorite holiday recipes, holiday decorating, and festivity. The holidays can also be a time of stress, confusion, and pain. Often times we may find ourselves in one of the following categories:

Whirlwind Holiday Season
For some of us, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can often leave us feeling warn out and exhausted. We over schedule ourselves with holiday parties, functions, shopping, volunteering, and the like. We may find our calendars over-booked with little time to enjoy all the holiday season has to offer us. A family meeting may help determine what activities are actually still important to everyone. Chances are that some activities you thought everyone still wanted to do are no longer of interest. Maybe this year you will say no to a few of the holiday events and focus on those closely-held traditions so that you can really enjoy this time of year.

Isolation throughout the Holiday Season
Maybe you are feeling lonely during this holiday season or have recently experienced a time of loss and grief. You may find yourself staying inside your home and not going anywhere. You may find yourself wanting to be sad and alone. The holidays may be a reminder of past happy times we no longer have or past painful times we do not want to experience. The holidays are not always a joyous time of year for everyone. If you find yourself in this place be mindful of the desire to stay inside your home and isolate. Make a goal to attend holiday events throughout the holiday season and to be with people who care about you. The holiday event could be going to a friend’s holiday party, driving around and looking at the Christmas lights, or volunteering with your church group. Often times you will find once you are out of the house and spending time with people who care about you, you are glad you went.

Estranged or Far from Family
Some of you may be experiencing tough times with your family and may not see your family this holiday season, or maybe your family lives far away and you will not be able to see them. Take this time as an opportunity to branch out and meet new people or attend holiday functions with your friends. Just because your family does not live close by, or you are in the midst of a tough time with your family, it does not mean that you have to be alone during the holidays. You can choose to be with people who care about you right now and enjoy the holidays with them.

Dreaming of a Hallmark Movie
It’s hard not to dream of the perfect holiday when you see images from commercials, advertisements, and holiday movies – cue the idyllic snow falling, holiday music playing, singing carols around the piano, people enjoying a warm mug of cocoa in front of a roaring fire, and rejoicing in the smiles and joy on everyone’s face. Now cue real life – oftentimes our experiences are more like rushing against time, feeling chaotic with trying to get everyone to where they need to be, family disputes of how to celebrate the holidays, and missing the whole meaning of the holiday season because it feels more like a chore than a celebration. Holiday stress can be the result of unrealistic expectations. Forget about what a perfect holiday is “supposed” to be like as life is more messy, disorganized, and full of unexpected surprises. To make sure you are focusing on the spirit of the season, try to find one thing each day you are grateful for and give yourself some grace – do what you can and remember to find something to smile about through the rest.

Full of Holiday Cheer
You may be one of those others who are feeling very good about the holidays. You have done well filling your holiday season with functions and parties and shopping and volunteering; however, you have created a good balance and you are still able to enjoy the holidays and find meaning in the holiday time. Possibly this holiday season you will connect with someone who may be struggling during this time of year. Maybe invite that person for holiday dinner if you know he or she is recently divorced, widowed, having difficulty with family, or has no place to go. Spread your holiday cheer to others. If you have a friend who is feeling over burdened by the holidays, reach out to your friend and help lessen the load.

And so decide how you want to approach the holiday season so that you can focus on the spirit, not the stress of the holidays.

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