Are you ready for the holidays?
What kind of experience would you like to create this holiday season?
Tradition? Connection? Fun and laughter? Support?
It all starts with our minds and it starts now with intentionally deciding what you want to think, what you want to feel and what you want to do.
I’d like to share a little about my experience of the holidays to illustrate my point.
Christmas was a magical time when I was a kid.
The cookies, the decorations, the music, the gifts, the anticipation.
My mom did a wonderful job of creating the illusion and the experience for our family. I wanted to do the same for my family and I think I did a pretty good job too, until I didn’t.
What used to be a time of fun, joy and anticipation for me became exhausting, guilt ridden and full of dread.
Fourteen years ago I went through a very difficult and painful divorce.
My two boys were 7 and 10 at the time. Christmas for me became about not enough.
Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough me.
Divorce creates loss. I knew that. What I didn’t know was that one of the losses would be tradition. All the Christmas magic that I had so lovingly created in the past was now impossible to maintain. In fact, most years after the divorce I didn’t even have my children on Christmas morning. It was devastating to me.
It was devastating because of what I made it mean.
I remarried four years later and suddenly I had five children. I couldn’t wait to create new traditions and be that magical mom again.
But to my astonishment, the other people in our new family were experiencing their own ideas of what Christmas should be like and did not joyfully go along with my plans.
Christmas became one of the most painful times of the year for me - glaringly pointing to all the loss in my life. Every year I tried, I stressed, I guilted myself into people pleasing everyone around me as if it was my full time job.
And I was working overtime.
Not surprisingly, I always fell short. I could not create the magic that was in my mind for everyone else.
All that changed for me a few years ago.
It was Christmas night - actually, two AM the next morning and everyone had gone to bed except my youngest son, who was 19 at the time, and me. We were having an intimate conversation in a cozy room lit only by the soft glow of the Christmas tree when I confessed to him that I always feel so guilty on Christmas. That I fall so short as a mother who believes it’s my job to make everyone happy on Christmas.
His response changed everything for me.
He said, “Mom, Christmas isn’t even a real thing.
It’s not like Jesus was really born on December 25th. It’s just a made up thing. Sure the presents and food are great, but what’s most important is that we’re all together, that we have a home, that we have love.”
Love. I forgot about that part.
In my effort to make everything magical and perfect and please everyone else I wasn’t loving myself. In fact, I was being very unkind to myself - driving and striving for an illusion, instead of loving what is.
What is, is that I have a beautiful, blended, imperfect family.
I changed my thoughts and therefore my experience of Christmas in an instant.
Our new tradition is that Christmas is different every year.
Some people are here and some aren’t. We celebrate at different times and sometimes on different days - depending on what works for most.
Some years we have homemade cookies and some years we don’t.
Some years we have lots of decorations and gifts and some years we don’t.
What we always have now is flexibility, acceptance and peace.
Our new Christmas tradition is love - no matter what the circumstances.
I thank God for His gift of love and that he shares it with us every day of the year. Don’t wait for Christmas to experience the love and peace that is available right now in this very moment.
Wishing you Passion, Purpose and Peace during this Holiday season.
And please let me know if you need help navigating through the holidays. You can contact me here!