Insights: How to Have a Grateful Holiday

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Photo by by Sara Hall ©

It is that time of year again—the holidays are upon us. Who knew this time last year that we would have gone through all we have this year, and that we would be wondering if we should be spending time with our friends and family this holiday season. Do they have Covid? Do we have Covid?

So many questions that we never thought we would be asking ourselves. Do I see my parents over the holidays, what happens if I get them sick, should I keep my child at home instead of going to school? The answers are not really clear.

I have never seen such division in people and pain around what is happening. So many unknowns.

I wish we could be brought back together. We need each other in so many ways. This had been my wish prior to this pandemic and political upheavals—so now what?

My philosophy is to find a way through the hard stuff and find ways to be grateful.

With that in mind, this lent me to venture into what we can do with these challenges. I believe we need to grieve what we miss, what we have lost. If we do not allow time to grieve, it will be hard to create something good.

So, get angry, feel the frustration of what we have lost. Just don’t get lost in it.  Sometimes I like to act like a two-year old, and stomp my feet and say out loud “it’s not fair.” Then I move through it and then move on. As we all know, life is not fair, and it is okay sometimes to have a temper tantrum.

Now that we have got past the temper tantrum stage, we can find other ways to deal with the holidays when we are not meant to be around people as much.

Here are my tips:

  1. Let people have their choices of how they want to manage the holidays. Do not judge them. The same way, we get to decide what we want to do and everyone is not going to agree with us. Remember, that ultimately you have to decide what works for you. People can have very varied ideas of what is okay with how to manage this time and getting together with family and friends. Respect their decisions and your own.
  2. Keep some form of routine going. Exercise is key at this time. It keeps stress managed and allows some form of normalcy.
  3. Be open to trying something different this year. Perhaps an outside gift giving on the beach with social distancing. Maybe it is having a zoom party, where you all watch the same Holiday movie. Be creative. It’s not the same as getting together, but this is where we have to lean into what is. I decided to go hiking up a mountain for Thanksgiving day. Not my usual experience for that day, however it is still something I enjoy. I had a great time and I was not the only person with that idea. I met three other small families, so we enjoyed each others company for a while. Social distanced of course.
  4. Make sure you let people know you care. An idea: make little care packages for your friends and drop them off at their doorsteps. I am making little pots with a number of plants in them for my neighbors and cards that I designed myself.
  5. This can be a great time to work on those projects that we tend to put off. I certainly have a few in mind for the holidays. This feels so good when we get these done. My garden needs some work. I am also going to create a photo album from my daughter’s wedding.
  6. The people you are comfortable with being around, even if it is just yourself, do something fun and maybe different this year. Make a dish that you have never made. For me it will be making an amazing dessert. I might even just have that for my dinner!!
  7. Bottom line, from an unknown author: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

So allow yourself a temper tantrum. Pick up the pieces, and find joy in the holidays in a way we may never have the opportunity to do again.


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