I notice this year, more than others that traditions no longer work for some families.
Children are far away. In-laws have rights, too. Divorce means sharing. Grandparents and parents have died. Military families are separated. Illness causes limitations. Economic challenges affect travel, menus, and gift giving.
How do you still have a celebration?
1. Lower your expectations…food burns, weather makes you late, sadness can’t is unplanned; perfection is only a romance in movies.
2. Name your fears….you will feel overwhelmed, you will get stuck in the losses of who isn’t at the table, fights will emerge.
3. Make time for you…get outside and walk, read a magazine, short story, poem, listen to relaxing music and have a warm bath with candles.
4. Say what you are grateful for out loud…I know you say you always do that or will do that, but this time drop in deeper and share with the people you are celebrating the holidays. Maybe name specifically what you appreciate about someone who is right in front of you.
5. Have a box of games that everyone can play together, Pic-up Sticks, Jacks, cards, Slinkies, Apples to Apples (game of funny comparisons for all ages)
6. Get people involved and connected in the kitchen; chopping, washing, pouring.
7. Make something together for dessert or treats like pretzels rolled in chocolate or smoothies to sip.
8. Talk about those who have passed or aren’t at the table who you wish could be there. Stories are healing.
9. Share family videos and rent videos for sit and be time, as well as, a good laugh.
10. Get everyone up and out for a neighborhood walk. Some may want a bag to pick up nature pieces on the way to bring back and make art or to remember the gathering time.
A little pre-time with self in meditation or silent walking, or writing in your journal will center you; get you in touch with what matters and what doesn’t. You can do this the day before and then have a post it to remind you to breathe.
It may work better for you this year to celebrate on a day that isn’t on the calendar, therefore, making a time to still have your rituals but not at the time you use to have them. Thanksgiving on Saturday, not Thursday. You can even make your own Christmas Eve and day celebration that is not the tradition on the calendar.
Find out what your community offers that you might join this year by goggling events in your area, reading the throw away papers, asking the churches and temples, food banks, shelters, orphanages, tree planting, singing etc.
Donate what you know someone would appreciate in a hospital, nursing home, shelter.
I know when I am in a funk, sad, and uncertain it helps if I name what is…example…These are just feelings; these are just behaviors punching my buttons, this is just a disappointing day because you aren’t here.
There is no one like you and that is miraculous. Appreciate your life. Value what you have given and received.
I deeply appreciate all of you being part of my community. The way you share your vulnerabilities and joys is inspiring.