Here is something many of us are dealing with right now – stress for the holidays. What does this consist of? Is it trying to find the perfect gift? Maybe working extra hours to make sure we can afford the perfect gift? How about shopping in a crowded store filled with crazy people to find that gift? Maybe even stressing about ordering online to make sure our gifts arrive on time? Then there are the get togethers. Will everyone get along? What day can everyone make it? What are we going to eat? Who is going to make it? These are many of the usual stresses. Add to that the extreme weather that is around this time of year and holidays can turn from something we look forward to, into something we dread. It does not have to be that way.
If we are going to stress or spend our time thinking about something for the holidays, I suggest doing so for just one thing. Don’t worry about the perfect meal or what the place settings look like. Don’t even spend too much time worrying about the perfect gift or how hard it will be to find. Instead, let us focus on one thing – creating memories that will leave our hearts full of joy for the entire holiday season. This year, Margie and I already started looking forward to spending the holidays together. I am not thinking about gifts, or even the super delicious food that both her and her daughter create. Those are indeed wonderful blessings to be grateful for. What is in the front of my mind is sharing a cup of hot chocolate with my lady. Holding her hand as we look at holiday decorations. Seeing her sweet smile peaking out from underneath the furry hood of her winter coat. What kind of fun and silly holiday pictures we can take. Christmas cards we can receive and send to friends and family. Watching holiday movies together with a bowl of popcorn or some other fun snack.
From baking cookies together, to religious and family traditions, there are so many ways to make joyous holiday memories. Holidays can be tough for those of us who have lost someone near and dear to us. Nothing will change the feelings of loss and missing them we have, but why not try recreating some of the fond memories you had with them? How about doing something to honor those we miss during the holidays? A special ornament we put out? Maybe making a dish they enjoyed eating? Including others in our holiday celebration can be a good way of making us feel good. In fact, brightening anyone’s holiday is a sure fire way to make us feel better about our own. Why not see how many people you can bring holiday joy to?
One last suggestion. This year, the accent seems to be on how different we are and the things that divide us. Why not learn about some of the holidays our friends celebrate that our different than ours? Here is a bit of a news flash for some of you – celebrating holidays with those who are different than us does nothing to diminish the celebration of our own beliefs.