|Written by Nick Metcalf,
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How to Enjoy the Holiday Season
We are in the midst of the Holiday
Season and it will reach a fever pitch soon. Here are some
suggestions to help you enjoy the holiday season.
Find meaning in the Holidays
We learn what a holiday means to us
from our childhood. We observe what the holiday means for other
people then interpret meaning to it. We gain notions about what a
holiday is from the media. It is important to spend some time
figuring out what is important for you and your family. Is it the
time you spend together? Is it cooking? Is it being in fellowship
together? Is it the rituals you built with them over time together?
Figure out the meaning of the holiday for yourself and your family.
Building Family Traditions
The holiday season can be an
incredible time of the year, but they can also be difficult for some
of us. For myself, I am in the midst of building traditions with my
family. Every year we clarify what is important to us, as individuals
and as a family. Every activity is reviewed for whether or not it
will continue on to the next year, or not. We are building family
traditions together. Itís an exciting process.
What Iíve learned is that I have
this particular idea of how my life is or how it should be in my
mind. When it doesnít meet my expectation then I become frustrated,
disengaged or overwhelmed. I grew up watching TV so it was those
images of family that I wanted. TV Images that didnít look like my
family. What I internalized was shame, resentment and frustration. My
mother reminded me to honestly look honestly at my family. I did. I
learned to understand the historical trauma that my family endured. I
understood the various coping mechanisms each of us has. I learned to
accept people for who they are. It was an invaluable lesson.
Distinguish between Needs and Wants
Itís important to teach our children
the difference between needs and wants. My teenage kids get caught up
in the consumerist fever this time of the year. They want this, they
want that. They look at me with this expectation that I am able to
answer all these whims. As a single parent amongst the working poor,
I try to get what I can. I learned to help my kids understand our
finances, so I sit with them each month to review bills. It helps
them to learn how to manage finances. It distinguishes for them the
difference between a need and a want. It is a skill that is needed by
everyone. Also, it helps them manage their expectations. Theyíve
learned to save money for stuff that is important to them and they
work to get what they want. Invaluable life skills
Donít Compare, You May Despair
Itís difficult to not compare your
current circumstances with other people. Donít do it. Celebrate
what you've got. Appreciate what you have. Itís important to
understand that when you compare your circumstance with someone else
that you donít know many factors that contribute to their life.
When you find happiness, contentment and joy in what you got then
your overall satisfaction in the holidays will increase. Make the
best of what life has given you.
Be Gentle with Yourself
I am harder on myself than anyone else
could be during this time of year. I judge myself harsher. I am my
own worst critic. I learned to be gentle with myself during this time
of year. I may eat too much, but I find my way to the gym to
exercise. I find myself feeling sad because of the loss of a family
member, but I do something in remembrance of them and share that joy
in prayer with them. I seek out people who love to laugh and have a
joy about living during this time of year, cause they are reminders
of how vibrant life is.
Reconnect with People
Holidays can be
a time to reach out to people you havenít talked to throughout the
year. Our lives become busy with the tasks of living that we tend to
lose contact with important people in our life. Call them, write to
them, make a homemade gift for them. Demonstrate their importance in
your life. Reconnect with people.
Itís hard not to get caught up the
anxiety of the holiday season. We live in a capitalistic society so
we are encouraged to buy stuff to prove our love for family. The
commercials entice us to buy more, spend more on stuff that we donít
need or canít afford. I hope this list can help you find joy and
happiness during this time of year, however you celebrate it.