What makes a happy holiday for you?
Your answer should come from within, from your own beliefs, experiences and preferences. Not from the media, not from your peers or colleagues, not even from your parents if their traditions don’t ring true for you. Pay special attention to how you fill up your time, space and consciousness this holiday. You are entitled to protect your unique needs and desires. Don’t compare yourself or imitate what you see other people doing. Define your happy holiday for yourself.
I love Christmas. I love holidays, birthdays, and milestones–any event that brings my family and loved ones together. I don’t love the consumerism and expectations that come along with some of these things, but I try to keep it all in perspective.
Just like everything else in my life, I’ve had to reevaluate holidays and how I choose to celebrate them. I used to do a lot of things I’d been programmed to do, even though many of those rituals weren’t meaningful to me. No one should feel overwhelmed or unhappy because of things they think they have to do, gifts they have to buy, expectations they have to meet.
Am I the only one that has ever dreaded the inevitable post-Christmas questions? “What did you get?” “What did your significant other get for you?” These questions have always made me uncomfortable. You just never know a person’s situation. I’ve had Christmases where I was barely able to pay the rent. I’ve had Christmases where my relationship was hanging on by a thread. Gifts? They’re nice, but they’re not what my holidays are about.
Self-reflect. Do you feel at peace with yourself? Are you feeling stress and pressure to have a picture perfect holiday? If your situation doesn’t feel right in your gut, only you can change that.
What I love most about Christmas is remembering all the ones that came before. Thinking of where I’ve been, how life has evolved, and what I have to be thankful for–it has a way of putting things in perspective.
As we close this year, I hope you will take a close look at your life and find ways to alleviate any anxiety you may feel from trying to live up to expectations. Don’t get caught up in other people’s reasons. Don’t delay your happiness or make it dependent on anything outside of yourself. Happy Holidays!
Editor’s Note: The holidays can be a trying time. This is really great, practical advice for those who are just not feeling the holidays for whatever reason as well as those who may be on a celebration pause or hiatus because of grief. Coupled with a few other tips we gave earlier this month, we hope you can make it through the holiday season in the way that you feel most comfortable with. We hope that you can find your own happy in happy holidays.
Speaking personally, the holidays are often the toughest part of the year for me. Like G.G., I dread the after Christmas questions. It can often seem like people rank the quality of your holiday based on what someone spent or didn’t spend on you. The holidays are so much more than receiving for me. Personally, I prefer experiences over material things. I prefer to give and receive my time, love and fellowship. That’s how I find my happy in the holidays. However your choose to spend the holidays, do it in love and as authentically and stress free as possible.