There are a number of emotions people feel during this time of year. Some experience great joy, while others experience great sadness, stress and anxiety. What I know for sure is we ultimately choose the holiday season we experience.
I know what you’re thinking, we can’t control what happens to us and some circumstances create the final experience. But do they or is it our reaction to the circumstances which create the experience.
When I worked in an office I would listen to all the women around me complain about all the things they needed to get accomplished before the big Christmas holiday. The complaining went like this; I have to send out my cards and shop for the meal, prepare the meal and clean the house. Then there is the shopping for the presents, including the secret Santa gift for our holiday party. I listened to this every year for years and finally one day I told a co-worker, she created her own experience and if she did not want to do something it was always her choice to delegate it or not do it. At the time I did not send out Christmas cards. I found it tedious and I would reserve phone calls to those special people I wanted to connect with over the holidays. As for all the rest I did it because it made me happy to see my family happy and enjoyed seeing them enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Once my husband died my holidays needed to change as well. That first year I decided to send out cards as a way of saying thank you to all those people there for me through my initial grief. I bought an artificial tree as I could not bear picking out a real tree without my husband. I did not go to the movies Christmas day as that was our tradition and I felt and still feel that tradition died with him. I did a small breakfast for my daughter and I instead of the big brunch my husband so enjoyed. The following year I went away for the holiday. Each year it has been a bit different. Some things stayed and other traditions have left. I choose to surround myself with people who love me and I love. Not all are blood relatives, but I consider them family just the same. Some family I choose not to see as I choose not to be drained by their negative energy year after year. Everyone has these people they feel they must see out of obligation. I choose not to live my life by obligations, but by choices.
I have moved forward over the years and my house is again full of love, laughter and gratitude. My love, George, appreciates all I do and it is nice to be able to prepare my big brunch again Christmas morning. I have continued the new tradition of sending cards because I find I enjoy designing the card every year and sharing new photos with family and friends.
I don’t know what my future holds but what I do know is every year I have a choice of how I want my holiday season to unfold. Who knows one year I may decide a vacation during that time seems right.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed this season just sit back and reflect why you do what you do and how could you change it to be more enjoyable for you? Remember in the end it all comes down to choices and they are always yours to make. Christmas is about love, sharing, family and friends. Surround yourself with those people that bring you joy and do the things that bring you joy and you will never regret your choices.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays