Holiday Blues Survival
In our second week of December, it seems as though every house on my street is ready with a wonderland of lights, white and multi-color, surrounding doors, windows, and heavy laced bushes. Though we all celebrate holidays in different ways and reasons, decorations are for many, seems like it wouldn’t be the same without them to look forward to, and even begin before Thanksgiving to make sure everything will look ‘just right’.
This is the first year since 2008, that my family sons and daughter, along with their spouses and my grandchildren won't be celebrating Christmas Eve or Day with us...some have missed most of them, due to military service, other family commitments or living out of state, or work and travel schedule conflicts. When I realized that Michael and I would be alone this year, at first, the disappointment took 'the wind out of sails' knowing it would not feel the same without excited young grandchildren, gleefully singing duets, dancing around the living room, but comforted by the thought, that we would see each other before the holiday and well after.
At the same time, I realized we could simply 'non-traditionally' and creatively follow my own advice. We invited my daughter, her husband and grandchildren to meet us at our new Warrior Way Wellness Center, to decorate it, especially for our Open House and Dedication Ceremony today. We took all of my Christmas village houses, 'little people', trees, fake snow and lights, and they decorated the tops of all the file cabinets. Adding other decorations from our house, wreaths, garlands, Christmas tree, and much more, the Center is now like going over to a friend or family home, which has been our intention as we've furnished it.
A place of comfort, hope and new beginnings. Sometimes it's a really good idea to follow your own advice.
We had so much fun, and dinner at the Emerald Thai Restaurant was as good as any turkey feast this year. We are blessed.
For people who are lonely or unwell, these holiday traditions can be challenging for the soul and spirit. So a few ways to feel better, five more tips are on my on my Blog today:
1. Instead of an artificial tree, consider going out to a tree farm or a friend’s woods, and choose a live tree, that you can have cut or buy a live one that you can plant in the yard after the holidays. Not only is it fresh, fragrant and green, it’s something different. Or, if you pick the worst, scrawniest, crooked looking one, unlikely to be chosen by anyone else, decorate in the cheapest tacky way you can – is fun actually works to make you laugh or smile, moving forward.
2. Money can’t buy love, so if economy limits or no gifts can be purchased, especially for children, it is reasonable to exchange or trade with friends or neighbors. Announce a social gathering, at a convenient location in your community, church, library, your house or a neighbors. Have some Post on your community bulletin board, or something you have that they want, for something you like. We call them ‘white elephant’ gifts, and if you add some cookies and drinks -- it’s a holiday party.
3. Baby-sit for someone with small children, so they can shop, clean, wrap gifts, or just take a well-needed break for some time to regroup.
4. Have a grown-up sleepover, with some friends, sit around eating ‘soul comfort food’, popcorn night, or other snacks, watch movies (holiday or otherwise), play music or board games, talk well into the night.
5. Sing. Yes, sing, it doesn’t matter if you sing well or in tune, the sound of your voice, breathing more oxygen, is invigorating. It’s even better if you get an impromptu group together impromptu and sing carols around the neighborhood.
Sometimes, at first, we have to push ourselves at first, the first step is the hardest, but before you know it.. the day has gone by faster and better than you believed it would “This too shall pass”…