The holiday season is upon us! Feelings of warmth, love and hope fill the air as we wrap gifts, decorate our homes and prepare delicious recipes all in an attempt to replicate the nostalgia of our childhood. The holidays can be a wonderful time for many–connecting with friends or family, listening to carols, and watching classic holiday movies–but for others, it can be a time of loneliness, family dysfunction, and financial difficulty. Especially this year. Whatever our situation, this year gives us an opportunity to make it memorable and start new traditions. If there is one good thing that has come from coviding [(verb): abiding in the time of the Covid] is that we’ve all been forced to slow down and take stock and determine our priorities. This applies to the holiday season as well. Let’s consider the following:
What are our priorities? What matters most to us? Is it giving to those we love? Giving to those in need? Connecting with family? Connecting with friends? Making memories? Following traditions? Only through thoughtful consideration can we determine what our priorities are and make intentional decisions about how we spend our time this year.
Why do we do what we do? Why do we feel the need to buy all 100 cubby mates a gift? Why do we attend that annual Christmas party where our boss gets a little too close for comfort (even if he’s masked…and why is he still our boss anyway?) Why do we go to Aunt Penny’s house when we’d rather be at Uncle Jim’s? Regardless, of the decisions we make, we need to know our why and own our choices. And if our why no longer makes sense, this can be the year we choose something different……………….. something quieter (or more raucous) ……………..something more enjoyable………..
Must we spend so much to feel good? Giving is a wonderful privilege but we want to have boundaries when giving. If we are giving beyond our capacity then we should ask ourselves why. Are we trying to impress? Are we hoping someone will like us more? Will we be even slightly annoyed or disappointed if we receive a pair of socks from the person we give $100 gift to? Will we struggle to pay our bills next month? Will we wake up with dread on December 26th? If we answer yes to any of the above (or similar questions) then we may want to take stock and make different choices.
Are there relationships we would like to repair? Perhaps we haven’t spoken to our brother (or insert your favorite estranged relative here) in years. Perhaps we recognize that fighting over that sweater really was not worth losing a friendship over. Or maybe we need to sit down and have a real heart to heart with someone we are worried about or by whom we feel taken advantage of? Whatever the issue, if we have relationships that need repair (and we feel confident in our ability to navigate them in a healthy fashion) then we might want to reach out and make attempts at fixing them.
Are there ways we can engage in better self-care this holiday season? Can we make a concerted effort to let go of the things we can’t control? Can we decide that we will not do more than we can handle? Can we free ourselves from the “shoulds” and “coulds” and commit only to what we can reasonably manage? Can we be sure to take care of our selves (light candles, take a hot bath, read a good book, watch a good movie) even if our time is limited? Self-care requires us to live with intention. We must intend to be good to ourselves.
Can we be grateful? This year has been difficult for many. But if we are honest with ourselves, it has been good in some ways as well. Can we find gratitude for our health and wellness? Can we find gratitude for the simple pleasures in life? Can we find gratitude for the simplified lifestyle that covid has required of us? Can we find gratitude for time with those we love? Can we find gratitude for the fact that 2021 is right around the corner? Lets find things to be grateful for as we contemplate this holiday season.
May we find the joy, love and peace we all desire this holiday season!