As we approach the holidays, I wanted to write this blog as a reminder that it can be a hard time for many. As we age, the holidays can lead to stress, exhaustion, sadness and more.
We tend to put unreasonable demands on ourselves and have unrealistic expectations for others. I have never understood why when you reach a certain age you are told that the holidays are not for you anymore, but for the littles. All of a sudden, the traditions you once had or the gifts you once gave/received are ripped away from you. Okay, that may have been a bit melodramatic, but you get my point.
So, if you are childless, single, no longer in contact with your family or something needs to give; these tips for having a happy holiday are for you.
Make your own traditions
We all remember certain traditions when we were growing up and those tend to be bittersweet around the holidays. Every year when we put the tree up, my parents would give my sister, brother and I a present to open. It was always a Hallmark ornament that was relevant to us and to this day, I still have those ornaments and they hang on my tree.
Some of my ‘new’ traditions are influenced by my childhood, while others are my brainchild. Whenever I can, I host family dinners and invite any and all. I make a roast, casserole, potatoes and I set the table and we all sit down and just be. I have an open door policy and I want any person who comes into my home, to feel loved and welcomed.
Maybe your tradition is going downtown with friends to watch the tree lighting or hosting a white elephant party. It could be as small as making ornaments or cookies every year that you give to whomever.
Having a tradition, that you created, to look forward to every year helps stave off the sadness of the season.
Choose your family
When it was made abundantly obvious to me that I could no longer enjoy the holidays because I was an adult and didn’t have any children, I decided that I would choose my own misfit family to enjoy the season with.
This year, I will be hosting friendsmas (I need to wordsmith that) the Friday before Christmas with a few friends, we will exchange gifts, eat a delicious meal (made by me) and watch Christmas movies while surrounded by dogs. This makes my heart happy.
I also exchange presents with close friends and it gives me so much joy shopping for them.
The holidays are not about giving until you literally drop, they are about joy and wherever you find that – embrace it and screw everyone else.
This will be our first Christmas with our cabin and we are going to sit in the middle of the woods, open stockings and warm ourselves by the fire. Will we miss out on a family party? Yes, but we also know that party is for the children and as much as we love them, we don’t need to sit around for 2 hours watching them open gifts.
Since we have ‘aged’ out of Christmas, make your own traditions where you put yourself first.
Know your limits
The limit could be a variety of things, a budget, number of parties you attend, family you do or don’t see…it depends. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your mental and physical health and that means cutting the crap out and finding your happy.
I don’t care what age you are, the holidays can be a magical time if you surround yourself with the right people and know you always have a seat at my table.